PZ (or, as they call him in England, Pee-Zed) Myers was born on this day1 in the mid 20th century. Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s talk about why it is important.
This is not a conversation I could have had when I first started blogging, because in those days, I had blogger’s angst. I didn’t think I’d get blogger’s angst but I got it anyway, about the time I was recruited by Science Blogs2. I remember very clearly when PZ’s first birthday (that I knew about) came around and everybody made a big deal of it. They always have.
In the old days Bora often organized it. One time Bora asked me for suggestions and I recommended an LOL PZ link fest, and put a bunch of photos of PZ and Squid (sometimes in the same photo) in a sekrit location for other bloggers to use. This was my result. One blogger got really mad at us because she felt it was her job to organize the PZ birthday link fest, and hasn’t spoken to us since. Jeesh. Bloggers.
Anyway, once you are a blogger it is important that people remember your birthday (mine is on June 24th as you know) or you’ll be all sad and shit when they don’t. So you start dropping hints as the date approaches that your birthday is coming up. So, just to take me as an example, I’d start dropping hints that my birthday is on June 24th on or about June 5th. Look for it.
You’ll remember my birthday (June 24th) because it is the day before the Global Water Dance that I hope you attend.
Anyway, partly because birthdays are birthdays, and partly because Chief Blogger PZ’s birthday is a big deal, all bloggers eventually develop an angst about whether or not people notice their birthdays. Lesser bloggers worry that they might not be noticed noticing the famous and powerful blogger’s birthday.
(Feel free to send a link to this blog post to PZ if you want.)
Actually, my personal blogger’s angst has largely gone away. That happens after you blog for a while. I couldn’t care less if June 24th roles around and people don’t remember that it’s my birthday. Its not like June 24th is a special day or anything.
At least six of my favorite people have birthdays that are on special days so it is hard to forget them. My wife, Amanda, was born on February 14th, Valentine’s day. What’s funny about that is that she is the first or second most disdainful-of-Hallmark-Holidays person that I know (me being the other one). Even birthdays do not impress her. So while the rest of the planet is running around trying to go out for a nice dinner on their birthday, or trying to go out for a nice dinner on Valentine’s day, or both, we are at home relaxing and grading papers. We have gone out for Valentine’s day/birthday exactly once since we’ve known each other.
Julia was born in July (thus her name3), and in particular on Bastille Day. That’s easy to remember. Or, alternatively, if I remember when Julia’s birthday is, then I know when Bastille Day is.
Huxley was born on Thanksgiving. Now, I know that Thanksgiving is not celebrated on the same calendar day every year, but who cares? This whole birthday thing is an arbitrary cultural convention anyway. My Mother’s birthday is on Mother’s day, which confused the hell out of me when I was little. Well, OK, Mother’s day also moves around on the calendar, but given the tendency to move birthday celebrations to convenient nearby dates, it’s functionally the same thing. (Which reminds me, my parent’s anniversary was, effectively, on Christmas/New Years. Who gets married that time of year?)
Finally, my bff Ana has her birthday on July 4th, so she was like that movie: “Born on the Fourth of July.” This fits her perfectly because she is the most patriotic person that I know. She spends considerable effort, for instance, keeping track of the important news stories about important and patriotic topics, and thus has the best facebook feed ever. A friend of mine asked me a while back what news sources I relied on and trusted most. I said “Ana’s feed. But you have to be her facebook friend to get that.”
Oh, and I guess now I can add this: My brother’s birthday is also on an important holiday. “What holiday?” you ask? Well, my brother was born on …. PZ Myers’ Birthday!
Which brings us back to PZ Myers’ Birthday. About which I really have very little to say except that he’s older than me.
Happy Birthday, PZ.
Always Read the Footnotes!
1March 9th. In case you are currently experiencing March 8th, do note that I’m working on Kiribati time, where at this writing it is just before 3AM on March 9th.
2Saying you are “recruited” is a dogwhistle for “I’m hot shit. They recruited me.” I was also recruited by Harvard.
3Only kidding. She is named for Julia Child, whom she’s met, and Julian the Apostate, the Roman Emperor who attempted to destroy the church.