I recently signed up to a series of emails from Mike at Fevered Mutterings called “You’re So Not Bored” where he gives you ideas for things to do when you are bored. One of them is to find out everything you can about the day you were born …
Up until yesterday, about the only thing I knew about October 23rd was that being born today puts me on the cusp of Libra and Scorpio. I’m not really into horoscopes, but it does mean I get to choose which one I fancy being – a balanced Libra, or a passionate Scorpio. [The Libra usually wins].
It turns out I share a birthday with – among others – Pele, Anita Roddick, Weird Al Yankovic [4-time Grammy winner and 121m hits for “White and Nerdy” – who knew?!], Sam Raimi and Cat Deeley. The only person I could find exactly the same age as me is Aravind Adiga, the Booker Prize-winning author of “White Tiger” [which I have since ordered].
In the week I was born, “Sweet Home Alabama” was in the US Top 10 – a song I have subsequently played more times than I care to remember. Turns out I haven’t played a single song from the UK Top 10 the week I was born – which gives me some new music to listen to. One of my favourite books, John le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” was in numerous best seller lists around the world, which gives me a peculiar sense of satisfaction – for no good reason that I can think of.
Other important things that happened on my birthday? Brutus committed suicide in 42 BC … the parliament of Great Britain met for the first time  … Disney released “Dumbo” in 1941 [so I now need to watch that, obviously] … and in 2001, the first ever iPod was released.
‘The Atlantic’ has a really interesting timeline that tells me my life can be divided into two halves – before and after “Toy Story” – and that when I was a teenager, “Some Kind of Wonderful” is what Hollywood thought I was like. Having seen that film many times [it was actually one of my favourites growing up, along with “Top Gun” and “Commando” – make of that what you will], I can categorically state that my teenage years were not full of moody, angst-ridden drumming alone in my bedroom. Neither did I ever have blonde highlights. Ahem.
For a while, I got really, really excited that my birthday is also ‘Mole Day’ … until I realised this wasn’t about small, furry, burrowing mammals, but actually “commemorates Avogadro’s Number, which is a basic measuring unit in Chemistry”, according to moleday.org [I’ve spent some time on this website – to some people Mole Day is clearly a big deal, but I humbly suggest that it’s a pretty small proportion of the population. Follow the link if you want, but don’t say I didn’t warn you].
None of this has changed my life particularly, and the main thing it has left me with is actually a sense of how little has happened on October 23rd. Clearly the things I have mentioned here are only a few highlights, but when you think of all the things that all the people in all of history have done, this list seems pretty small to me – turns out October 23rd is a pretty ordinary kind of day … it’s also left me wondering if there are any ‘opposite’ days? Is there a day out there that is absolutely jam-packed with massively significant births, deaths and happenings? I wonder …