Wednesday, January 28, 2009

larkspur, we have a problem...

Twenty three years ago TODAY, I was sitting in my 3rd Grade class at St. Patrick's in Larkspur, no doubt having jazzed my plaid uniform up with some kind of forbidden flair in glorious celebration of turning 8. My mother, having learned her lesson from the horrible 1st grade tragedy when she made organic apple cupcakes from some sort of Silver Palate or New York Times food section recipe much to the horror of thirty 6 year olds, had arranged for the highly regarded Safeway cupcakes to be passed out after recess.
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?

13 comments:

Karyn said...

okay - what is even SADDER is that on your 8th birthday I was in my 2nd semester of COLLEGE!!!! I remember getting up to go to my all important TAP class - only to find out the challenger had exploded - so I blew off classes and sat in front of the TV>.. I pretty much did that ANY time something happened... Jim Hensen died, etc.

Anonymous said...

How could you forget?? It wasn't Safeway cupcakes, year after year after year, it was glazed donuts from Donut Alley.
XOMOM

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

Brock said...

I got a skateboard that day. A+!

Be_Devine said...

Happy Beth Day
Happy Happy Beth Day
Happy Beth Day

Don't let your day be eclipsed by something as pesky as the explosion of a giant manned firework.

Can't wait to see you in your sexy new dress.

Brittney said...

Happiest birthday, Beth.

Anonymous said...

You are officially the most popular person in San Francisco. That Evite?!?! Wow. And your Facebook is insane.
Had you been popular in high school, none of this would be happening now.
Happy Birthday, Elizabeth! Can't wait to see you!!!

Big Jer said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELIZABETH!!!!!!!

Stephanie said...

Goodness, I thought that only happened to me on MY birthday. I was 9, though.

Clair said...

Happy birthday! My grandma died on my birthday when I was 7. And my other grandma, on the day of my 31st birthday bash last year. But we held the parties as planned. May NOTHING dampen your celebration.

rpnorton said...

Happy birthday! LOVE the shoes. I had some just like them when I was eight (which was way too many years before you were born). My mom used to call them "school shoes," because you were supposed to wear the NICE saddle shoes with the little flaps on them to school and then change into your sneakers when you got home.

Rachel

sfmike said...

I always used to wonder why the world didn't stop to worship me on my birthday too. Thank the lord you weren't born on September 11th like a few friends of mine. Their birthdays are f---ed forever.

Generic said...

That picture ...

Why were your parents grooming you to become a lesbian?