On Reclaiming The Birthday
Speechwriters LLC keeps a PO box out in Claremont. It’s small but effective. Every week or so, one of us treks out there to see if we got anything exciting, and there’s usually something fun, like a postcard or a magazine or an eviction notice, waiting for us inside. Sometimes it’s a package, and we have to bring our little slip up to the counter and have Meg bring it up from the back room.
This past week I went out to our box, and poor Meg had almost been physically crushed by fifty cubic feet of our mail. For those of you who haven’t been following the ever-evolving saga of our household and website, Misha had an epiphany a few weeks ago that birthdays stop being automatic after 21, and that unless you get extremely proactive about making them the highlight of your calendar year, it’s all too easy for them to slip quietly into the abyss, leaving you with nothing but a Just My Style card from your mom, a dead flower in a styrofoam cup from HR, and, if you’re in a relationship, something new and exciting in the bedroom that will ultimately leave you freaked out at what your partner considers a “gift” and terrified that you’re way too vanilla for 21st century America.
Misha, never content with mediocrity, decided to take this bull by the horns and put out an APB in the days leading up to his 23rd birthday. Nitzan laughed at him, while Jack and I just shook our heads at how ridiculous it all seemed. “Misha,” we scolded him, “this is hubris. Outrageous arrogance. You’re angering the gods, and this can only end badly.”
But look at how wrong we were. It’s May 24th, and everything here is still standing. Misha’s asleep in his hyperbaric tube, surrounded by presents and memories of a truly epic birthday weekend for which there was no outwardly visible opportunity cost. How this happened remains a total mystery to the rest of us, but as the next man in line, I feel I owe it to both myself and my band to follow in his footsteps.
My birthday’s coming up on June 2nd, and it’s going to be a big one.
I’m turning 27, which is exciting on a number of levels.
Level One: Twenty-seven is the age at which an unusually high number of popular musicians have died. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones, just to name a few. This puts me in an exciting position, because I’m going to spend most of the next year wondering if I’m about to die, and then I’m going to be thoroughly depressed when I make it to 28 and realize that I’ve missed my window for canonization as a timeless rock legend.
Level Two: Misha and I are suddenly going to have a combined age of 50, which is cool as hell.
And those are really the only two levels I can think of. But the bottom line is, my birthday’s coming up in just over a week, and I will not go quietly into the night. I’m going to make as huge a deal out of it as I can, and I’m going to party like it’s 1978. And I’m even going to reprint the band mailing address here, just in case anybody feels like sending me anything:
112 Harvard Ave #112
Claremont, CA 91711
Hear me when I say: Take back your birthday, America. You have no idea how good it feels.