Yeah, yeah, it’s my birthday and it is the big Six O.
Over the decades, I’ve heard this line a countless number of times, ‘Ha, ha you’re an April Fool.’ I’ve heard it so many times that for me it’s like the punch line of a bad joke.
I haven’t heard a good joke on my birthday in a long time, so if you’ve got one please tell it in the comments. I haven’t had a good practical joke played on me on my birthday in nearly a half century.
I’m one of those serious first born, so being born on April Fools Day kind of flummoxed me as a kid. How unfair! Probably in another 10 or 20 or 30 years I’ll be glad just to make it another April Fools Day. Everyone had a 1/365.25 chance of being born on that day, and my number was up on 4/1/51. But thanks to 4/1 I ended up with a high draft number, so the day had at least one benefit.
My Mother said I was named after Douglas MacArthur. He was in the news back then as HST was getting ready to can his ass about 10 days after I was born. I suspect I wasn’t the only boy born around that time to be named Douglas because of MacArthur.
And.I.Am.60! It use to be when I was young that 60 was demarcation line for old age. Recently, I read that the majority of boomers think old age doesn’t begin until 72 so I’m once again young. At least I’m not as old as I would have designated myself not so long ago.
I feel pretty good. For the most part I don’t feel like I’m 60. Well, my left knee does feel like 60. I woke up one morning last September and it was aching, and it’s pretty much been aching since that day. Arthritis – it’s the malady of the ‘new 40’ year olds. My shoulders feel like 60, but they’ve been feeling like 60 since I was 30. The shoulder pain I have is caused by me being a scrawny 145lbs football guard slamming into 200lbs football players in high school. Other than those couple of groinks I feel pretty good.
Most importantly, in mind and spirit I’m still crazy after all these years.
Some of my more memorable bdays over three score of years:
8ish (could have been 9) – It was the birthday I got my left handed first baseman mitt. This was the only bday where I can remember the gift I received. Baseball was a big deal to many boomer boys back then. After opening the gift, I immediately went outside and played catch in a snow storm.
20 – The best joke I played on a lot of people. I was the news editor of my college daily newspaper. It was a 16 page daily with AP wire service and other wire service syndicated products. That year on April Fools Day I persuaded the editorial staff to do a complete April Fools joke paper. I wrote the lead story with a banner headlined:
Red China Invades S. Vietnam
Hundreds of thousands of Red Chinese Troop plunged across the S. Vietnamese DMZ yesterday dramatically expanding the Vietnam War. Early reports say Chinese forces have surrounded the U.S. 101st Airborne Division near the S. Vietnamese hamlet of Bas Ton.
I sat across from one of the newspaper distribution points, and watched for students’ reactions. There were some jaw dropping facial expressions when students picked up the paper. One tall guy groaned, slumped against the wall and said to the girl he was with, ‘They’re going to draft me for sure.’
21 – In Milwaukee. Sure the perfect town to turn 21, but I was there for a cause. The 1972 Wisconsin Primary was on April 4th, and I was working for the McGovern Campaign organizing Milwaukee’s northern suburbs. I went to Milwaukee in early January when Senator McGovern was at 1% in the polls and I was the second full time person working for the Senator in the Milwaukee area. By the time of my birthday we had the momentum and we knew we were going to win. I had a good time celebrating my 21st with campaign friends. That was probably the last night I got some sleep until the night the Senator won the primary.
24 – I was in love and spent the day with the beautiful, smart, sassy woman I was wooing. We spent the day in the Cities. Had a wonderful lunch at Dudley Riggs and kicked around the West Bank. By the end of the day the vibe she was giving me convinced me she loved me. This is my fondest birthday. We are still together.
I’ve had a lot of other great ones. The best have always center around the love I’ve received from my wife and children.
At 60 I still can say, ‘hope I die before I get old’.
Here’s a link about the history behind April Fools:
One other thing, if it’s your birthday fess up that, ‘Ha, ha you’re an April Fool.’