Joe Lavin

April 18, 2006

My Birthday is Worse Than Yours

I suppose you think your birthday is bad. Well, it couldn't be any worse than mine. Is your birthday officially known as "That Sucks Day?" No? I didn't think so. There really is a That Sucks Day. I know. I saw it on the web (, and that means it must be true. Unfortunately, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, That Sucks Day is not actually a holiday for which anyone gets any time off work.

Of course, this is what happens when your birthday is April 15th, a glorious day of the year on which U.S. taxpayers routinely discover that they owe the federal government their left kidney. It's also the day that Abraham Lincoln died and the Titanic sunk, just in case we weren't miserable enough. Back in 1450, thousands of people died at the Battle of Formigny, one of the most influential battles ever whose name also sounds like it could be a cheese.

Luckily, this year, for once taxes were not due on my birthday. Because April 15th landed on a Saturday this year, taxes weren't due until yesterday. If, like me, you live in Massachusetts where Patriot's Day was celebrated yesterday, you actually have until midnight tonight, which means two things:

1. There's still hope for you to finish your taxes on time.
2. Not if you insist on surfing the net right now.

I was even less excited about my birthday this year, because it marked the end of my time in the valuable 18-34 advertising demographic. Never again will television networks cater to my every whim in the hopes of attracting me to watch their programs. Now that I'm 35, I am soon destined to be watching the network evening news, while clipping coupons for denture products.

Those aged 18-34 are apparently considered lucrative because they like to jump from brand to brand, trying to have as many different brands as many different times in as many different places as possible before settling down to that one very special brand. In short, advertisers pay more for 18 to 34-year-olds because they are commercially promiscuous. Once you hit 35, however, you turn instantly dull, committing yourself to the same old boring products day after day, year after year. Frankly, you're lucky that you can even go shopping in the first place.

Lest I sound too depressed, there are some good things about April 15th. In 1923, insulin first became widely available, and Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947. On April 15, 1755, Dr. Samuel Johnson published "A Dictionary of the English Language," which I know all about because there was once an episode of Blackadder about it.

While I do share a birthday with such luminaries as Leonardo da Vinci, Henry James, and Samantha Fox, April 15th is for the most part a gruesome day. After counting all the disasters listed on my birthday at Wikipedia, I came up with a death toll of 3,020 -- and that's not counting any cholesterol-related deaths from the fact that the first McDonald's was opened in Illinois on that day in 1955.

Finally, Jean-Paul Sartre also died on April 15th, which is unfortunate because I've already used up all my good Sartre jokes. Still, as wishy-washy as J.P. was, I suspect he would agree with the day he died being named That Sucks Day.

©2006 Joe Lavin

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