For a few years now, I’ve been taking pictures of myself on my birthday. It’s a sobering undertaking. I can scroll back and watch myself get younger (and in some cases thinner). I can see how good I was feeling about life by whether or not I’d had a good haircut recently. I don’t fix myself up — it’s not who I am — and I almost always take them myself. Here’s this year’s slightly blurry extended arm selfie.
Here I am at 53.
I have no birthday plans this year. It is a Wednesday and the holidays have just ended. I always feel a bit of holiday fatigue guilt around wanting people to eat cake and celebrate that I exist. I mean, millions of people just did that for Jesus, either directly because they’re deeply religious and want to celebrate their spiritual guide, or peripherally because in the Christian dominant West we participate some way or other — if its our tradition or not. It spills into our ears out of supermarket speakers and the neighborhood is populated with giant blowup figures wearing Santa outfits, and that’s not because of the solstice, pal, that’s Christmas.
I realize this is veering into sounding like an anti-Christmas screed, which it isn’t. I love Christmas trees and the glittery lights of the holidays and I hope your celebration of the tilting of the globe was grand. Also, my birthday comes right at the tail end of all that, plus, the New Year, and people are tired and just trying to figure out where to start with all that unanswered email. Me too.
If you wanted to do something for me — and it’s not just for me, it’s for those coal miners who didn’t understand and anyone with a pre-existing condition and the self-employed and the list is very long. You can help a lot of people by doing this.
Call your elected officials and insist they fight like hell to save the Affordable Care Act. Call Paul Ryan, too, and sit through that stupid message about the ACA and press the right number when the survey asks you if you support the ACA and then, leave a voice mail message, too. Start by saying, “I support the ACA…” because at least they have to listen to that part before deleting your message and pretending they didn’t hear it. Oh, hey, here’s Paul Ryan’s number: (202) 225-0600, go on, it will take you five minutes. All I want for my birthday is to hear that you’ve picked up the phone and called your reps.
I have babka cooling on the counter and a smallish dog that could use a walk and belly scritches. I’m political and asking for help. Thank you.
This is me at 53. Ask me anything.