Birthdays in grammar school are a really big deal and I always felt pity for the poor souls born in the summer, unable to reap the glorious attention of a fall, winter or spring birthday. Better, I didn't have to share my birthday with anyone else in my goddamn class, except for some douchebag in 8th Grade who didn't know who the hell any of us were anyway. As far as I was concerned, the world stopped on January 28th in celebration of me and even an unrelated phone call to my parents the days prior and following seemed blatantly rude. I was amazed people went to work and banks were open.
After recess, where I'd reassured my peers that indeed we'd be having the socially acceptable and profoundly disgusting Safeway monstrosities, we all marched back to class as I emotionally prepared myself to be celebrated for 6-8 minutes.
Suddenly, the PA system came on.
"Oh, Ms. O'Rourke." I thought to myself. "A school-wide announcement? You're too much. And yet, just right."
Straightening my jumper and crossing my ankles in my most ladylike fashion, I tried to hide my grin, confident that Nicole, my rival for dominant female leadership and bearer of tomorrow's birthday attention would not receive anything as fabulous as an announcement over the PA system. Nicole was one of those girls who applied wrinkle cream when she was 7 and dressed exclusively from the racks of Brass Plum. She would have trumped me completely had she not lived in Novato, which as I often reminder her, is where people go to die.
Ms. O'Rourke finally spoke.
"Hello, this is your principal. I have some horrible news."
Her words didn't even register.
"The Challenger space shuttle, which we've all been studying has just exploded. Everyone on board has gone to heaven. This is a horrible tragedy."
Um, what's this got to do with my birthday?