Hello there! Maybe you missed me last week. Or maybe you were reveling in the silence and are devastated now … upon my return.
Anyway, I took a brief hiatus mostly because last week was my birthday. Just like it was for all the other seemingly rampant Scorpios! Has someone done the numbers on which birth month is the most popular? Maybe it’s just my inability to share the limelight, but I feel like there are scads of other November babies around my Princess Day, the 12th.
When I bring this up in conversation, often people try to be cute (read: derivative and psuedo-scientific) and note that “November is 9 months after Valentine’s Day!” But that doesn’t explain it all, I don’t think — because I arrived post-term on the 12th, and also this quaint theory doesn’t take into account the olio of frivolous and/or biological trends that could affect pregnancy and delivery timelines (e.g. — elective C-sections scheduled strategically around holidays or days of week; also, are we to believe that a disproportionately large number of couples are actively TTC — as the parlance goes — on V-Day, AND ovulating, AND not completely put off by the manufactured holiday schmaltz?).
I suppose it irks me because I remember reading about the issue from a Marilyn vos Savant column. My dad RAILED against her hilarious superciliousness and pretensions of being an expert on basically every possible subject each week as we read her PARADE magazine column. He was so well-suited to the ranting and it was so endearing that I imagined every other dad in the world (or at least in the mappable PARADE delivery area 15 years ago) was engaging in the same pastime. In one column, she told a reader who asked what day of the year the most babies were born: “Statistically, the number of babies born each day will be the same.” Fudge cudgel … what? There wasn’t even any supporting evidence or quick explanation given or anything! That always struck me as hilariously stupid and disrespectful of the audience’s skepticism.
Then again, PARADE continues to foist a hilariously watered-down pabulum slop of PR crap on its defenseless audience every week, so I don’t know what I expected. My family and I got a big kick — and enduring gag — out of a puff piece on Hilary Duff at the height of her fame in which the reporter slavered over her “incredible maturity and huge vocabulary.” The piece was downright hagiography, like Hilary was SO much better than not only her showbiz peers but also us lowly PARADE readers (ed. note: They may have had a point, as we were the ones reading and taking seriously that awful magazine).
Forget Lizzie McGuire; someone call John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur! I really lost it at one line in the article: “She uses words like ‘increment’ effortlessly in conversation!”
IN-CRE-MENT! This is the mark of the precocious?
I mean, I’m glad she’s not a card-carrying cretin, but call me when she’s quoting Catullus and solving the Hodge conjecture. Until then, let’s just confine this profile to blandly praising her bubbly demeanor and ability to rope Miranda and Gordo into her harebrained schemes while also cutting a pretty cute cartoon figure.
After that divagation, time to get back to the main point: last week was my birthday! But it was less remarked-upon than it has been in the past, because I removed the date from social media. In college, my friend Joe coined the apt term “Facebukkake,” for the once-a-year outpouring of friendly well-wishes on your feed (previously “wall”) as the site announces your birthday to all the pals, associates and stalking targets you’ve chosen to link yourself to.
Note: Did you object to the vulgarity of the term Facebukkake in the last paragraph? You should not! Ever since my mom casually used the phrase “blow your load” in conversation — prompting a startled reaction from me — I’ve been thinking about the indelicate origins of everyday words. My college roommate Shawna — a great scholar of Greek and Latin (she was a Classics major) and fellow word nerd — used to laugh with me over the fact that “dork” means whale penis. (Given our proud identities as word nerds, the term “dork” was lobbed at us not infrequently.) Other examples: vanilla means “vagina”; pencil means “little penis”; orchid means “testicle” — as does “avocado”! And my personal favorite, especially as Deepak and I peruse Japanese toilets and durable floor tiles (don’t ask; subject for another blog): porcelain comes from a series of Middle French, Italian and Latin roots that mean “baby pig’s vulva.”
From vanity to vos Savant to vulgarity, this blog really went everywhere. And now I will unceremoniously conclude. Allow me this indulgence, since it was my birthday just recently! And don’t you feel guilty for not saying anything because it wasn’t on Facebook?