Today, even though I’m trying not to wake up and look at email, I woke up to this lovely email.
So sweet, but unnecessary.
And, if my mom had been cc’d, she would have sent an immediate retraction.
Because guess what? IT’S NOT MY BIRTHDAY.
My dad’s 82. Normally, my first thought would be to call my parents and make sure he hasn’t just had a stroke. But I know what happened. It’s happened before, and I’ve been waiting for it to happen again.
A few years ago on this very day, I met my dad for dinner.
He was alone, because my mom was in the hospital having knee replacement or shoulder repair surgery. (Who can keep track?) When he got to the table and sat down, he started digging in his pocket. Along with some lint, he pulled out a silver Kennedy half dollar coin and held it out to me.
This was always my parent’s go-to emergency present, especially on Passover: “Do we have anything to give the kids for finding the afikomen? Quick, rustle up some Kennedy half dollars.” Everybody got to win one, because it was an “everybody wins” kind of household. The true winner, the person who actually found the piece of matzoh, which was always one of my cousins and the matzoh was always in the bookcase or under a couch cushion where I somehow didn’t think to look, would get a whole Susan B. Anthony dollar.
So when I saw the half dollar in Dad’s hand, I knew I was getting an emergency present for something. But what?
“Laura, dear,” he said, and took a patented pause.
I’m serious, my dad has a patent on pauses. His are a special kind, longer than any that modern science has managed to come up with to date. During just an average pause of his, whole ice caps melt. World maps are redrawn. Children are born, grow up, enter the work force, get married, and have a mid-life crisis wondering when my dad’s pause will end.
He continued. “On this day in 1969, you entered my life and mom’s life, and made us the happiest parents in the world.”
How so, I wondered during the next pause. In the form of an 8-month sonogram? Do we now celebrate those? Did I poke my head out early or something? Because, yes, my dad’s getting up there, no spring chicken, blah blah blah, but no way he thinks this is my —
“Happy Birthday, my dear girl. May you have many, many more.”
As I took the half dollar – because hey, money’s money – I told my dad that it was actually not my birthday.
He slapped his forehead.
Geni is a really annoying internet app/ membership site that’s like Facebook for genealogy. Or, I guess, a less accurate ancestry.com. Once you join, it starts emailing you names of people who may be your inbred 3rd cousin once removed, and, I guess, notifications of your daughter’s birthday when it’s NOT your daughter’s birthday.
By the way, my dad hardly needs help finding relatives.
He can find them with just the power of his nose, which doesn’t smell bad smells but is phenomenal at sniffing out Jews and even non-Jews whose lineage goes back to the same blood line and Eastern European shtetl.
He was shaking his head. “I can’t believe it! I got an email from Geni saying it was your birthday today. They fuck everything up.”
Which is exactly what he says about AOL and Chase bank. And he will never, ever leave either of those, so I know he won’t leave Geni either.
My dad doesn’t believe everything he reads, as long as it’s on paper.
He snorts at articles in the Times. “What garbage!” He triple-checks every restaurant bill. “Did someone here order a second glass of wine? And what is open food? Did someone have open food?”
But he does believe everything he reads on the internet, especially if it came through his email.
And, though I haven’t asked yet, I’m pretty sure that’s why he thinks today is my birthday. If asked the date of my birthday, I guarantee you he’d say October 30th – the correct date. But Geni clearly got to him again.
He’s just fine.
Still, I better call to make sure.
And, to tell him I’m having a great birthday.
Anyone ever wish you happy birthday when it’s not your birthday?
Ever forget to wish someone a happy birthday and then realize, with the horrible adrenaline feeling as when you trip, what day it is?
Any fun birthday stories?
IS today your birthday?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.