Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sir Mick

Happy birthday, Mick Jagger! The boy can still rock. Happy birthday, Rick Bragg! Happy birthday to everyone who shares this day with me. Yes, it's my birthday too.

I have a theory, yet unproven, about birthdays and the afterlife. It's in the unpublished manuscript that I call my book. I'm feeling lazy today so I'm just going to cut and paste. Here it is.

Birthday Theory

I’ve got a cockamamie theory about birthdays and the afterlife. As with all other theories about the afterlife, it can’t be either proved or disproved, but I see no reason why it can’t turn out like I imagine it. Besides, I have another corollary theory about the afterlife—that you get the heaven you want/deserve. So if your idea of heaven is sitting around for all eternity with Jesus and all of your former pets, while eating jelly donuts, playing backgammon, and listening to klezmer music, then that’s what you’ll get. So there’s no reason to believe that my cockamamie birthday theory won’t materialize.

Here’s my theory: When you die, you get categorized and sent to a section of heaven based on your date of birth. It doesn’t matter what year you were born, just the day and the month. So, if you were born on January 1st, you get put into the first section with everyone throughout all time who was born on January 1st. (Don’t ask me to explain what happens to people born before the Gregorian calendar, or those born BC—it just confuses me. I’m sure God has it figured out.) The sections will roughly end up having equal numbers of people, except of course for the smaller section for February 29th. Those snobs in the February 29th section are going to be intolerable. But I’m not sure how much we’ll interact with other sections anyway.

I would not have developed this theory and steadfastly held onto it if I weren’t planning to be in good company in my little heavenly birthday pod. I was born on July 26th. Here’s a partial list of those who share my birthday:

§ Mick Jagger—Sir Mick is the one who got me started on the theory, the emperor of rock

§ Carl Jung—how cool is that, all that collective unconscious theory and dream interpretation

§ Aldous Huxley—author of Brave New World, should be an interesting conversationalist

§ Rick Bragg—one of my favorite writers, among other things wrote All Over But the Shouting

§ Kevin Spacey, Helen Mirren, and Vivian Vance (Ethel from I Love Lucy)—actors so we can do skits!

§ George Bernard Shaw—he’ll write the skits

§ Jean Shepherd—he wrote A Christmas Story so he can write more skits

§ Hannah Kirkman—a sweet child in my extended family

§ Colleen Reed—an old friend of mine

Those co-birthday celebrants I knew about, but I went online and did a search for other famous people who share my birthday, and thus will spend eternity with me. I thought it was a good idea to be prepared. Sort of like going to a cocktail party and asking for the guest list ahead of time to be able to (1) know how to make small talk, (2) know which guests could be boring, and (3) know to avoid sensitive topics. Some of the others:

§ Gracie Allen—wife of George Burns, “Say goodnight, Gracie”

§ Salvadore Allende—former Chilean dictator

§ George Catlin—painter best known for his work with American Indians

§ Joseph I—one of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (I’m anxious to see how he gets along with Mick)

§ Mary Jo Kopechne—the young woman who died in Ted Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick (maybe she’ll tell us what really happened)

I’m hoping there are some other fascinating but less famous people who share our birthday. For example, we’re going to need a fabulous pastry chef to make our birthday cake. I’d like some great musicians. I wish Yo-Yo Ma had been born on my birthday, but alas, he was born on October 7th. Trust me—I looked it up and I would lie about it if I could. I also wish Mary Cassatt had been born on July 26th, but no such luck. Still, I’ll be in great company and rumor has it that heaven is a place of perfect bliss, so I won’t miss them.

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