Silly Mind Games Part V


(Sunday Paper, Volume II, Issue 45)

You're not going to believe this:

It's been almost a year since we explored the depths of my poor, weird, overworked mind.

That edition of Silly Mind Games was very winter-specific.

This one can apply to the whole year round.

It has to do with birthdays.


If we've talked for, oh, I don't know, maybe more than an hour or so, chances are we'll hit on the subject of birthdays. It's a favorite topic of mine.

I want to know your birthday.

I may not remember it. (I'll add "anymore" to that sentence, because I used to pride myself on how well I remembered birthdays. That part of me is slowly slipping away and I have a harder and harder time getting dates to stick these days. This is also why talking to someone in person and having them tell me their birthday is important - I think I have a much better chance of remembering it that way.)

But I will try. Not so much to recognize your birthday when it rolls around (though I'll try!; see above parenthetical note), but to add it to my mental calendar.

Because I have a goal: to know 365 people with birthdays that cover each day of the calendar year.

The problem with this goal is that 365 people is a lot of people, and I don't know that I even know 365 people yet. (My Facebook friend count is more than 365 but that has grown falsely since I entered the comedy scene. I know a lot of those people, but I don't know them. Let alone when their birthdays are. And don't get me started on Facebook's birthday recognitions. I'll save that piece of writing for another day, but suffice it to say if you didn't tell me your birthday in person I don't count it towards my mental calendar.)

And even if I did know 365 people, chances are a bunch of those people share a birthday. (I can think of at least 6 people who share my birthday. Also, see 'What I've Been Enjoying' below for more on this topic.) So you see the problem.

I've never sat down with a physical calendar and written down all of the birthdays I know from January 1 through December 31. Someday I'll do that - but it has to be a time when I'm confident that the boxes I'll be writing in will outnumber the blank boxes.

It's always exciting when a new birthday is established. And, with my sister expecting a baby pretty much any day now, I'm looking forward to seeing which November date gets added to the upper-tier of immediate family member birthdays. (And, I realize as I write this, even more fitting that the only birthday cake picture I could find was one from a birthday party I [kind of, not completely] shared with a nephew who has a birthday three days before mine. I'm going to be Uncle John to someone else soon.)

Anyway, I don't know if I'm pulling for any date in particular. But I know what date would be terrible: November 15.

That date's already taken. (By my brother.)

Fun Birthday Facts:

(I thought of some birthday quirks as I was writing this so...bonus section this week!)

*May 22: This is a fun one because I have two very good friends who are married that share this birthday. They met in college because, I think I have this right, they lived on the same floor of a dorm that had a birthday bulletin board. They named their dog after that dorm.

*August 11: Kathy's birthday. This is also the birthday of my former co-teacher, which was a huge bummer to learn. The two people I shared the most time with for about a decade couldn't even give me a separate day to cross off the calendar.

*July 7: My birthday. I couldn't believe writing above that I now know 7 people (myself included, making it 7 on 7/7!) who share my birthday. That might be the most popular day on my whole calendar, which obviously isn't great. I also say "I now know" because last year a new baby was born to close friends on July 7, increasing the number.

*April 8: This, for my whole life, was a special day because it was Gary Carter's birthday. (He's my all-time favorite baseball player.) I met two people in college who share this birthday. Coincidentally, they're both named Dave. (I suppose it would have been even more of a coincidence if they were both named Gary.)

*October 2, September 19, June 21: My kids' birthdays. Obviously super-important days in my life. But also so relieved that none of them was born on someone else's date. #blessed


*At the risk of sounding like a broken record: I'm sitting on a creative idea that I need to get started, and otherwise it was a steady week of work. 


*Wasn't feeling so hot on Monday so instead of going out I used that time to plot out a strategy for Tuesday, then spent Tuesday getting a lot of comedy work done...planning out the rest of the year open mic-wise, looking into bookings for the new year, and doing some scouting of shows I haven't been to yet, which I haven't done in a while. It was really productive.

*Late night after a long drive back from Maine last night...but cool to get home at almost one in the morning and then have it not even be midnight yet.

*I'm at Improv Boston tonight at 9:30pm, if you're in the area. It's a pretty good lineup, and you pay what you want to get in. Here's the link if you're interested. Monday and Tuesday I'll get out to some open mics, including the one that's fast becoming one of my favorite places to perform. I'll be writing about that more soon.

What I've Been Enjoying

*I started thinking about the topic of birthdays this week because I was thrilled to hear about a favorite fact of mine on this week's 'This American Life'. In a story about voter fraud the topic of shared birthdays came up, and the reporter and guest host David Kestenbaum brought up a favorite birthday fact: If you have a room filled with 23 people chances are 2 of them would share a birthday. (The former co-teacher born on August 11 mentioned above is the first person who introduced me to this phenomenon, incidentally.) I won't get into all of the mathematical facts and figures here (partly because I don't understand them and I just accept the fact, which is kind of what the whole episode was about but not in regard to this particular fact), but basically it's not as random as it seems because, as it's explained well in the piece, person 1 has a chance to have the same birthday as person 2, 3, 4...etc., and then the same deal with person 2 and everyone else, person 3, etc. So that definitely increases the chances. If you want to hear it put in much more clear terms, the conversation happens about 16 minutes into the episode linked here.


*I won't bore you with sports details here, but what a great World Series. But between the late games and the fact that there was a Jets game Thursday night, I've been staying up way too late. The good news is that now there's no more baseball to watch so I have nothing to keep me awake during the week other than the odd football game.

*(Full disclosure: I fell asleep before the final out of Game 7. I think I dozed in the 8th inning, and then I woke up at about 12:15am and saw the post-game interviews. Oh well.)

*With the Jets win on Thursday they are back to within a game of .500 and a winnable game against Tampa Bay next week. Could be 5-5 going into the bye week - I'm back on board, baby!

*I am so disgusted by the local politics game. Remember when I told you we were becoming a city? Tuesday is our first mayoral vote. And we are getting the WORST attack ads in the mail. And by worst I mean not only distasteful, but not at all any good. As I wrote on Facebook, they're like a bad political campaign high school project. It's making me so angry.

*I've tried to do some exercising this week to keep the extra pounds at bay, so I won a couple of battles this week. The leftover Halloween candy is winning the war, though, I'm afraid.