Friday, June 24, 2005


Today is my birthday— 49 years old. Yes, at 4:49 AM on June 24, 1956 I was born at the old Madison General Hospital, in Madison, Wisconsin. It was back in the days of tailfins and Elvis: whoever would've guessed that 49 years later I would be sitting here in my own home at the keyboard of a computer, publishing the news into cyberspace? ("What, no flying car?")

One of the benefits of working a job like mine, where I don't have to punch any timeclock, is that I've contrived to arrange my schedule this week so that I get today off. May just sit around, may head out somewhere, we'll have to see.

A few notable birthdays from years past:

9th birthday (1965):  My cousins came to visit for a few days. I got a wooden chess set for my birthday. Then I came down with the mumps, dammit!

18th birthday (1974):  I was working on a homemade mah-jongg set. I found that being 18, and an adult, felt very different— well, for about six hours, anyway.

19th birthday (1975):  I was working on a set of tiles for the Quintuple Arcana (in my own Hermetic language, called Mna Jondir-Pantho Zinisa), a board game I was inventing which was like no game you've ever heard of before.

23rd birthday (1979):  Living in an apartment on Langdon Street in Madison, and coasting through the summer on what I'd earned the year before as a teaching assistant in the math department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Went down to the Parthenon on State Street for a gyros sandwich, then went out to the theater to see a movie.

28th birthday (1984):  Living out in Washington State, up in the Cascade Mountains. Took a few days of vacation to go up to Seattle. The Pike Place Market. Dinner in a Bolivian restaurant, good food but very slow service.

32nd birthday (1988):  Living in Durham, North Carolina, a student at Duke University. Living that summer off proceeds from the sale of my nigh-complete collection of Fantastic Four comics. I took the day off and drove up to Richmond, Virginia.

33rd birthday (1989):  Spending the summer studying for my prelims in the fall. My birthday was the only day all summer, besides the Fourth of July, that I didn't spend 12 to 14 hours a day studying: went down to Chapel Hill and wandered Franklin Street for the day.

38th birthday (1994):  Living in Mendota, Illinois. Some of my parishioners threw a birthday party for me.

40th birthday (1996):  A horrible summer. By unforeseen circumstances that would be considered too implausible if they occurred in a work of fiction, I found myself trapped, working in a warehouse, saving and scheming for my infamous midlife-crisis 2000-mile cross-continent Escape to Seattle later that summer.

41st birthday (1997):  Back in the same warehouse, and in the midst of my "latter turning." Utterly crushed down by life, I could now in a strange new way "see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower."

43rd birthday (1999):  Packing to move to Iowa. This was also the summer I finally got home Internet access.

49th birthday (2005):  And here I am, blesséd to be here. Still have a few loose ends to pull together for this Sunday, and for the upcoming Eitzen Lions Fourth of July event. But not today...



Blogger Caltechgirl said...

Happy Birthday!

Friday, June 24, 2005 8:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Lucy said...

Happy Birthday to You! I'd volunteer to send you an audio clip of me and the kids singing, but there's the problem of the "odd" song.

On my Father-in-law's birthday we called so that the kids could sing the song. The phone is rining, and the boys announce "I'm not singing that song. Its odd. Instead I'm going to sing a song I'll make up about a duck." Try explaining THAT to a father-in-law!

Friday, June 24, 2005 2:29:00 PM  
Anonymous urthshu said...

Happy Birthday, Paul. And many more.

Friday, June 24, 2005 4:51:00 PM  
Blogger David Riewe said...

Happy Birthday

Saturday, June 25, 2005 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Daniel Morris said...

Many happy returns

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 11:27:00 PM  

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