It started innocently enough.
Several weeks into December, and after an unsatisfying encounter of the political Facebook kind, one in which a man in his early 20s proffered the “known fact” that Minneapolis was the home of “people who hate America”, I became concerned that I was too readily find-able.
“I’m going off the grid,” I told Mary.
“Hmmm,” Mary offered. “You do realize you have the kind of last name that people believe you’ve created just for its Scrabble possibilities, yes?”
It’s true. My last name, a hyphenated concoction thought in some circles to be a Klingon declaration of love, is unique. Richly, densely, even drunkenly unique.
But I was on a roll.
“I blocked him,” I said, “And I think I should change my birthday, too. I mean, even if he can remember half the name, I want to make sure he doesn’t…”
I trail off.
“Doesn’t what,” Mary prods. “Send you a birthday card? See if you’re compatible on one of those Chinese animal zodiac things?” Mary chuckles softly to herself.
“Hey, now,” I say.
“Wait, wait,” she says. I hear her move the phone from one ear to the other. “Maybe he’s thinking of adding you to his Friends and Family bundle, get ya a good deal on an extra phone line.”
There is a thudding sound, and I know without asking that she’s just fallen off her chair and is laying on her back, tears of laughter in her bright blue eyes.
There is no end to my suffering.
I let her work her way through her enjoyment, and in no time at all she is coherent again.
“Changing your birthdate is a dumb idea,” she says.”Just remove it.”
Oddly enough, however, I could not figure out how to remove my birthdate.
In the end, I simply changed it to January 1, 1905.
I received over 130 posts, texts, and offers of gin and tonics on New Years Day, all filled with warm messages of love and dismay that they’d never noticed before that I had been born on New Year’s Day, which I had not.
Most disturbingly of all, however, was that no one mentioned how good I looked for having just turned 110.
Welcome to the new year, everyone. I’ve missed you.