Hay’s Daze: Many happy returns

(Singing): “Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You… You look like a monkey, and you smell like one too …” I used to sing this rather juvenile little ditty to whoever happened to be having a birthday celebration. Ok, so I still do sing it every chance I get, and you know what they say. They say “every single day is somebody’s birthday” and it’s true. Especially, apparently, in the month of March.

For example, just in our little family and friend solar system alone I’ve counted more than 10 (OK, so it’s actually 11) birthdays in the middle two weeks of March alone. These include my rotten kid the son one, my elderly sister Hedy and my better half’s brother (on the same day!) my anonymous friend (Fudd), and a bunch of (ok, so seven) other folks who are either celebrating or lamenting the fact they are yet another year older. That’s a lot of singing.

What this means of course, to quote Fudd’s B.H. is that “July must be a hot month.” And she isn’t referring to the weather.

There are many interesting things about March and birthdays in general, some of which I’ve not even made up. Did you know that more people have birthdays in August than any other month? July and September come in second and third. This is understandable given how cold (weather-wise) October and November can get. And while we’re counting backwards to arrive at hot and cold conception months, here’s another interesting factoid that I’m sure you can’t live without: In the U.S. of T. the single most common day to be born is October 5th. This pegs New Year’s Eve as the most popular day (night?) of baby making. Coincidence?

Chances are you know someone who has a birthday in March, or perhaps your own self is in that category. It’s all right though; you don’t have to feel like a commoner. Guess who else was born on this third page of the Gregorian calendar? Here’s a short list: Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, J.S. Bach, Fred Chopin, Dr. Seuss and Harry Houdini. How about: Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Eric Clapton and Elton John. Oh, and also non-fossils Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. And, of course, our very own most beloved citizen of forever, city historian Michael Dawe probably has at least one birthday around this time of year.

But just when you Marchers might be feeling a bit smug-ish, remember that serial killers John Wayne Gacy and Osama Bin Laden are also March babies. Who turned out to be bat-crap crazy.

And speaking (a few paragraphs ago) of singing birthday songs, according to Guinness World Records the most recognized song in the English language is, of course, You Say It’s Your Birthday by The Beatles. Just kidding, the earworm Happy Birthday to You that we all warble was written in 1893 by American sisters Mildred Hill and Patty Hill for kindergarten students. And how many times have we all sung it, and sung it badly. And the badlier, the better, I say.

Or you can always opt for my other go-to B-Day celebration ballad I like to belt out (usually right after singing the “You smell like a monkey” one). (Singing, to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’): “May you live a million years, may you drink a million beers, get plastered you b-aaaad boy (or girl). Happy Birthday to you!”

No? Ok, how about, as my Dad used to say: Many happy returns!” And you don’t even have to sing that one.

Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate.


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