Sunday, January 08, 2017

Happy Birthday!

by Dick Mac


It's an impressive age: 70 years old.

I do not know many people who lived so long. Neither of my parents lived to seventy.  My father died at 51 and my mother was 65.  None of my grandparents made it to seventy: my maternal grandmother was 42, my maternal grandfather 47, my paternal grandmother 57, and my paternal grandfather was 62.  Some aunts made it to 70, but not many of my uncles did.

Throughout my life, young people I knew died of drug overdoses or violence. As a young man, the vast majority of my friends and acquaintances died of AIDS.  It's really only be recently that I've known people who died of age-related illness.

Me?  I will be 59 soon, so I have over a decade to go before I enjoy the beginning of my 8th decade.

At my 35th birthday party, a sibling (or two) remarked that they never thought I'd live so long.

At my 40th birthday party, I was a couple of years sober and dating the woman who would become my ex-wife.

At my 45th birthday, I received a snow globe collection from friends and acquaintances all over the world.

At my 50th birthday party, I was the father of a toddler and my home was filled with people.

I haven't really had a party since then.  Fifty-five just didn't seems like an anniversary to celebrate.  I have no plans to have a party for my 59th birthday.

Maybe I'll celebrate my 60th birthday in 2018.  Maybe not.  I guess my birthday parties have really been celebrations made by other people.  So, I probably won't be the person who decides if I do or that and that is OK with me.

Today, however, I will celebrate the 70th anniversary of David Bowie's birth.

I have two distinct memories of celebrating David Bowie's birthday in the past: In 1997, I attended the 50th Birthday Bash at Madison Square Garden. Last year, in 2016, I joined Tony Visconti and the Holy Holy audience at Highline Ballroom to sing Happy Birthday to him over Visconti's iPhone.  None of us knew that 69th birthday would be our last opportunity to sing to him:

Happy birthday, sailor!

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