Two weekends ago I got a phone call from a very good friend. She informed me that she and 2 other good friends were going to take me out to dinner for my birthday. Say what? It was not my birthday. I told K that my birthday was a few weeks away. She thought it was the next day. Oops. She talked with J and D and they all decided they still wanted to take me out. It felt awkward to me, but it was a very thoughtful, sweet, kind gesture regardless.
Off we went. This was my first dinner out with friends since Covid. It felt both odd and normal at the same time. A very Happy Unbirthday, indeed.
A few days later I was on the phone with a customer service person from my tech provider. As we finished up he said that since he likely would not be speaking to me again he wished me an early Happy Birthday. This has been most unusual. Here I am celebrating unbirthdays. I hope someone remembers when it is my actual birthday.
Thinking about unbirthdays brought me to Alice in Wonderland attending a very merry unbirthday party with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse a la Disney. I decided to search the actual unbirthday origin.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865. However, the unbirthday didn’t appear until 1871 in Through The Looking Glass. It was Humpty Dumpty that schooled Alice in unbirthdays. Here is that conversation:
Humpty Dumpty introduces Alice to the concept of unbirthdays, remarking when she compliments his cravat, “It’s a present from the White King and Queen. … They gave it to me—for an un-birthday present.”
Alice, confused, asks, “What is an un-birthday present?”, to which Humpty Dumpty replies, “A present given when it isn’t your birthday, of course.” However, Alice remains unconvinced, noting, “I like birthday presents best,” prompting the following exchange to occur:
“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” cried Humpty Dumpty. “How many days are there in a year?”
“Three hundred and sixty-five,” said Alice.
“And how many birthdays have you?”
“And if you take one from three hundred and sixty-five, what remains?”
“Three hundred and sixty-four, of course.”
Therefore, remarks Humpty, “There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents … and only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!”
To all of you who are not celebrating an actual birthday, I wish you all a very merry unbirthday. Have presents and cake even if you provide them yourself. You deserve it.
Comments are welcomed.