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"Birthdays are cool"


This one, decidedly low-key, was just about perfect.


A Medical Economics Web Exclusive

"Birthdays are cool"

This one, decidedly low-key, was just about perfect.

By Louis H. McCormick, MD
Family Physician/Franklin, LA

A few days before my birthday, I saw Calvin.

"Calvin, did you know we have the same birthday?" I asked. At the word "birthday," Calvin looked up. "How old are you going to be?" I asked.

"Six!" he exclaimed. He deserved to be proud.

"Calvin, I’m older than you. How old do you think I’ll be?"

"Eight!" he answered.

"You’re a smart boy, Calvin." By not answering "seven," he proved he understood the generation gap.

When my birthday arrived, Calvin gave me a bottle of bubble-blowing stuff.

"He picked it out himself," Calvin’s grandmother said. Attached to the bottle was a card where Calvin had printed his name.

"Calvin, you sure are a nice guy!" We exchanged high fives. "Since it’s your birthday, I have a present for you, too." I rummaged around my office and found a stuffed leopard from a pharmaceutical company. Like Calvin, I printed my name on a card. He hadn’t learned to write in script yet. My name looked like it had been written with my toes.

As Calvin left, I heard him say to his grandmother, "That was cool."

At lunch, I went to get my driver’s license renewed. "Has anything changed?" the clerk asked. She peered at me through half-glasses. She looked impervious. I had to confess: "My weight is wrong."

She leaned closer, her fingers poised over the computer keys, anticipating my response. "By how much?" She sensed the adiposity in me. The computer recorded my answer.

"That will be $18."

"Is that per pound?"

"Pay the cashier."

After work, the office staff toasted my health and sang "Happy Birthday." It’s amazing how an off-key, a cappella rendition can sound so nice.

At home, my wife had fixed the nutritionally decadent dinner I’d requested: fried cube steaks, french fries, corn, and salad. My daughters gave me a Hawaiian shirt. "Wear it, Daddy, it’s in style," they told me. I know they’re trying to help me advance sartorially, since they’ve given up on getting me to change the hairstyle I’ve sported since 1965.

I don’t eat much cake, so when the neighbors came over we had strawberry sundaes. I’m proud to say that my pulmonary prowess kept candle wax out of the dessert. Small parties with family and friends are fun.

Some people say that after a certain age birthdays don’t matter much. But even in middle age, I’m still a kid when my birthday rolls around. Calvin was right: Birthdays are cool.


Louis McCormick. "Birthdays are cool".

Medical Economics


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