One traditional complaint by individuals born this late in the year is that they're screwed out of presents: since Christmas is only a month away, their benefactors presumably reason that one gift will suffice for both birthday and Christmas, while someone born in, say, May, will end up getting two gifts. I've never experienced this phenomenon myself, perhaps partially because it's not that close to Christmas it's a whole month, for Pete's sake but mostly because those few people who actually do give me stuff are aware that I'd just as soon no one made a fuss about my birthday anyway, especially since I've had so many of them and all.

By "so many," read "fifty-four." It's not an auspicious sort of number, the way eighteen (one-third of 54), twenty-one, thirty-five and forty are, but it's the number I get to carry around for the next twelve months. I admit to being something less than thrilled with the fact that the most famous person (by Wikipedia standards) born on the same day as I was is disgraced Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, so just for the hell of it, I punched "november 25 1953" into Wikipedia's search box, and the following terms came back, in order of presumed Relevance:

  • List of Finance Ministers of France
    Relevance: 100.0% - -
  • List of titles and honours of Queen Elizabeth II
    Relevance: 99.8% - -
  • List of Presidents of the Institution of Civil Engineers
    Relevance: 99.8% - -
  • List of Interior Ministers of France
    Relevance: 98.1% - -
  • List of Justice Ministers of France
    Relevance: 97.6% - -
  • List of vaudeville performers: A-K
    Relevance: 97.6% - -
  • List of titles and honours of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
    Relevance: 97.4% - -
  • Colorado Buffaloes football year-by-year results
    Relevance: 96.8% - -
  • Navy Midshipmen football
    Relevance: 96.8% - -
  • List of vaudeville performers: L-Z
    Relevance: 96.5% - -

As it happens, nothing happened to any of the French finance ministers on 25 November 1953, which was about a third of the way through Edgar Faure's term. (Faure served two terms as Prime Minister, one before this, one afterward.)

So I turned to other sources. A tsunami struck the Japanese island of Honshu; the Hungarian footballers were the first overseas team (not counting the Irish, and make of that what you will) to defeat an English team at home; the Geological Society of Washington held its 729th meeting; Henry Cabot Lodge wrote to President Eisenhower, suggesting it was time for a Presidential TV appearance condemning Communism, what with Senator McCarthy making all those charges and all. In an effort to find someone more notable (or at least less annoying) than Jeffrey Skilling born on this date, I combed through Google, and eventually came up with photographer Dawoud Bey, who has compiled a distinguished body of work consisting largely of portraits of adolescents. If you're wondering how this can possibly be so, Bey himself will explain:

"My interest in young people has to do with the fact that they are the arbiters of style in the community; their appearance speaks most strongly of how a community of people defines themselves at a particular historical moment."

Which may not have been true during most of history as we know it, but which certainly has seemed to be true during Bey's lifetime and mine.

The day I was born, Webb Pierce had the #1 country song with "There Stands the Glass"; Tony Bennett ruled the pop chart with "Rags to Riches." (Both according to Billboard.) I note with some amusement that both can be had through the iTunes Store.

And personally, I never worried about that insufficient-gifts thing. What bugs me about having a birthday on the 25th of November is that very often it's too damn cold to go around in my birthday suit.

The Vent

  25 November 2007

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 Copyright © 2007 by Charles G. Hill