Jennifer's Birthday, by Lee Norman

NOTE:  I got so sick of having my birthday on January 14 that I decided to change it.  At first, I decided it should be April 14, then settled on May 14, which is the date I now celebrate my birthday. One of my oldest friends, Lee Norman, was inspired to write a piece about the dangers of tinkering with birthdays.  He is a talented writer and I liked his piece so much that with his permission I have put it on my website.   Here it is...

by Lee Norman

In her wildest imagination Jennifer had not the slightest idea what elemental forces she unleashed by tampering with her birthday. She eschewed the almost compulsory deduction of two years from her age, a foible largely ignored by the cosmos, and decided to change the date itself. Whereas her birthday had fallen on January 14 since, well since she was born, living in the northern hemisphere meant it was usually a cold, bleak, dreary day, one when she found it hard to celebrate as she wished to do. She therefore announced that henceforth her only birthday would be May 14. Monarchs at least retained their true birthdays as well as their official ones but Jennifer completely abandoned January 14 without for a moment considering the injury she was inflicting upon a companion who had served her faithfully all her life.

Thus, as soon as he was informed of this presumptuous calumny, the Dark Lord of the Kalendar summoned a convocation of Dates to discuss the situation and determine which of the many available forms of retaliation were appropriate.

“We cannot tolerate mere humans playing fast and loose with their birthdays. Don’t they realise they are tampering with the fabric of Time? Where will it all end?”

“It’s bad enough that they have so many different calendars,” said the Ides of March.”

“Yes, but that does help keep them in a state of useful confusion, like all the differing languages.”

“And the variations in time zones.”

“And dialects.”

“It wouldn’t do for all the little beings to agree on anything, would it?”

“There’s no chance of that ever happening.”

“So how do we re-impose the natural order upon this lady? Any ideas?”

“Could one of us appeal to her better nature?”

“And just how do you propose we do that? We survive on a different plane of existence to these poor mortals. They have enough superstitions about what they call ghosts, or the spirit world, the undead – both zombies and vampyres, not forgetting the British House of Lords – without one of us trying to materialise and then hoping for a rational discussion.”

“There are ways to pass messages.”

“But what inducement can we offer the lady?”


“Perhaps we can try what they call reverse psychology....”

And this is what they settled upon.

Now, as an interim measure, Jennifer is expected to celebrate the following events each and every year:

14 January: Ex-birthday
16 February: Giving birth day
14 March: Post-birthday
8 April: Giving birth day
14 April: Birthday - 1
14 May: Official birthday
2 June: Julian birthday
14 June: Birthday + 1
26 June: Chinese birthday
3 July: Lunar birthday
15 August: Ultra-birthday
20 Fructidor: French Revolutionary birthday
14 September: Pseudo-birthday
27 September: Unbirthday
16 October: Semi-birthday
14 November: Par-birthday
30 November: Semi-demi-birthday
14 December: Pre-birthday
37 Fnurg: Slabodian birthday

“Now,” said the Dark Lord of the Kalendar, “just suppose how that will keep the lady occupied once all her family have to adopt the same regime.”

“Are you sure that will succeed, Your Highness?”

“I suspect it will, especially when we mention the next stage in the process.”
“You mean.....?”

“Naturally. We still have to allocate the dates for the lady’s birthdays in the Armenian, Assyrian, Bengali, Berber, Buddhist, Baha’i, Chinese, Coptic, Discordian, Ethiopian, Germanic, Hinu, Ibibio, Igbo, Iranian, Irish, Islamic, Jain, Japanese, Javanese, Juche era, Kurdish, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Maya, Nanakshahi, Nepali, Nepal Sambat, Minguo, Romanian, Runic, Tamil, Thai Lunar, Thai Solar, Tibetan, Zoroastrian, Xhosa and Yoruba calendars.”

“Especially if we decree that they must all be celebrated on different days and times.”
“And when we add the Attic, Aztec, Babylonian, Bulgar, Byzantine, Coligny, Egyptian, Enoch, Florentine, Hellenic, Old Icelandic, New Icelandic, Jalali, Mesoamerican, Ancient Macedonian, Modern Macedonian, Pentecostal, Positivist, Rapa Nui, Roman, Runic, Soviet, Swedish, Pancrometer, Holocene, International Fixed, Invariable, Tranquility, Leap Week, Pax, Symmetry 454, Darian, Discworld, Middle Earth, Stardates, Golden Hat and Urnfield calendars, as well as other revised, unrevised and miscellaneous versions.”

“That must be too much for anyone.”

“But, My Lord, you have yet to mention the most awkward of all.”

“I have left that as the final straw: the Hebrew calendar.”


“We should invest in special diaries and computer programmes to cash in on the mayhem.”

And so they did.

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