On Super Bowl Sunday, some are born losers


January 28, 2001|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,SUN STAFF

Memo to Super Bowl: I was here first. The Super Bowl is 35 years old. I am ... older. OK, seven years older to be exact, but I look fabulous. That's not my problem.

My problem is that, after being born into a world where I had to share my birth date with, primarily, Carol Channing, Norman Mailer, Ernie Banks and Baltimore's own Garry ("To Tell the Truth") Moore, I now have to share it with the country's largest secular holiday.

Subsequently, I feel a certain solidarity with Christmas babies. Unlike Christmas, the date of the Super Bowl changes annually. But year in and year out, it inevitably subsumes the last weekend in January, the natural time for us early Aquarians to expect just a teensy bit of attention. Which, even in pre-Super Bowl days, was mingy at best, given a) the unpredictable weather b) the fact that everyone was still burned out from Christmas and c) the fact that everyone was already thinking about Valentine's Day. To be born in January is to receive re-gifted Christmas sweaters in heart-covered paper with red ribbons.

A New York friend who is somewhat sports-averse -- "Who's Ray Lewis?" she asked me this week -- gave birth to a daughter in late January five years ago. On her daughter's first birthday, she planned a big party, which happened to fall on a Sunday. Everyone said it was a really bad day, and she just couldn't figure out why. Now she holds her daughter's birthday party on Saturday, but people still get peevish. After all, that's the day they have to buy all that onion dip.

A Super Bowl birthday can have its advantages. It's easy to get a reservation at nice restaurants -- but not so easy to get anyone to go with you. It's a great day to shop for groceries and do errands. Which, of course, is the way most people fantasize about celebrating their birthdays.

I'm sure my family and closest friends are reading this now, puzzled. Haven't they always treated me well? Haven't they showered me with gifts? Wasn't it only recently that my parents started skipping my birthday altogether, because it coincides with the take-possession date on their winter home in Georgia? Yes, you've all been great, if only because most of you truly loathe football.

So I'm writing not for myself, but the other Aquarians out there, those whose birthdays actually fall on Jan. 28 this year, the younger folks who may have spent their entire lives wondering why they don't get a two-week buildup to their big event. Please, bake them a cake -- in the shape of a cake, not a football. (Putting onion dip in a cake pan does not count.) Stick candles in it. Sing "Happy Birthday." Allow them to use the remote control during commercial breaks.

And give them the Ravens with the points. Now that's a real gift.

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