Monday, April 20, 2015

Birthday Carolers, Google, and Post it Notes.

In all of my fifty-four years on this earth, I have never been the recipient of a visit from Birthday Carolers.

Until today.

While standing on my front lawn with a potential landscaping dude, my friends from up the street wandered down -- all three generations of them -- and stood at the bottom of my driveway serenading me with a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday.  The landscaping dude seemed a bit perplexed, but indulged them in their celebratory gesture.

So why is it that traditions from one season, like caroling, don't transcend into other seasons?  And why don't we celebrate the ingenuity and creativity of those who choose to break the mold, think outside the box, and test the outer limits of normal?

Today, I did just that.

Happy Birthday, Adolph.

When I logged on to Google today, I was greeted with a montage of cartooned birthday cakes and cupcakes spelling out GOOGLE.  I hovered the mouse, and was greeted with a "Happy Birthday, Susan!" message.  While this greeting was unexpected, it left me wondering about its origins, and feeling a bit stalked by the proverbial big brother at Google.  (I clicked on the link and it took me to my own Google + page, so I traced the connection...)  

April 20th is one of those sort of infamous birthdays.  Columbine, the attacks in Waco, Oklahoma City bombings, National Pot Day, and the birthday of Adolph Hitler all share my day.  Working in a high school, there are more than a few passing references to the last two -- including a flurry of Post it notes that were stuck to my computer screen when I returned to my room after my morning water bottle filling in the faculty room wishing me, and, "to a lesser extent, Adolph" a Happy Birthday.  

My department cohort presented me with a very colorful unicorn, and a grammatically correct card signed by most.  (The grammatical corrections were provided by my English Department friends and not the fine folks at Hallmark.)

And social media once again stepped up to provide the prompt to literally hundreds of friends who commented in the hallways, on my wall, or through texts.

I'm fairly certain Adolph wasn't treated quite as grandly on this, his 126th birthday.
Which is more than appropriate, since he is both dead, and not worthy of birthday celebrations, what with his lack of friends with whom to celebrate, given his atrocious behavior.

So today I celebrate the big FIVE FOUR, and am glad that I am surrounded by students who don't compare me to Hitler, colleagues who understand the value of grammar, and family and friends from near and far who took a moment to reach out with wishes of goodness for another year.