In my second week of work, in front of nearly 30 co-workers, I had say that it wasn’t my birthday.
The enormous cream cake had my name, “Jenny,” spelled out on the top in red icing.
The boss had pulled me to the head of the conference table with all the other “August” birthdays, for a photo.
I was confused; all I had heard was an announcement on the loudspeaker about everyone meeting in the room for cake.
“I didn’t know it was your birthday!” a co-worker said to me from way down the table.
“Oh..it’s…not,” I said. “My birthday is in April.”
The room turned to silence.
“What?? Well, who is ‘Jenny’ then?” asked an actual August birthday person, pointing to the red icing.
“Hey, everyone, who is ‘Jenny?’ Does anyone know a ‘Jenny?’”
“I’m…Jenny,” I spoke up. “But my birthday is in April, not August. Maybe it means Jennifer?” I asked, referring to another co-worker who wasn’t at work that day.
“No, her birthday is in May,” someone pointed out.
Everybody was staring at me.
“Well, maybe there was an “A” letter mix-up,” I said. “A for April, A for August.”
Everyone was still staring at me and I didn’t understand why. It was obviously a mistake, and I was embarrassed and didn’t want to be standing at the head of the table anymore.
I smiled sheepishly.
“I mean, it could be my birthday,” I joked.
“Oh, well, it will be your ‘welcome’ to the job cake then!” the human resources lady said, nervously glancing at the receptionist who keeps track of all the birthdays.
“Now come stand over here so you won’t be in the picture.”
The cake was actually quite delicious and people were very nice to me about the whole thing telling me that “my name tasted delicious” and all that.
But, still, not my ideal first impression at the office.
“Oh, that girl? That’s Jenny! The one who had her name on the cake when it WASN’T her birthday!”
I finished the exceptionally large piece of cake (dammit New Orleans, how can someone possibly keep a diet here??) and made as much small talk as I could, and then went back to my desk and saw an email from the receptionist.
“Sorry I had the wrong month,” she wrote. “The good news is that April was the month in which we previously had no birthdays and no cake.”
I shook my head. This would only happen to me, seriously.
Perhaps this was karma for pretending like it was my birthday once, when my fake ID alias turned 21. (I’m sure she was off celebrating somewhere, too, legally.)
But, really, I’m not surprised. My birthday is anything but nondescript.
It’s on April 19. Does that date mean anything to you?
Hippies and bartenders like to point out that it’s “one day off, man” from 4/20.
Others note that it’s the same day at the Okalahoma City bombing. Oh, and the date of some disaster in Waco, Texas!
A long line of Unabombers are born on April 19, someone said once, ominously.
April 19 is also the date of my twin sister, Joy’s, birthday and we’d prefer separate gifts, thank you, unless it’s something really expensive ;)
I went to college in South Carolina and Joy went to college at LSU and I remember calling her at midnight (Eastern time) saying, “I’m 21 now and you’re not hahahaha!”
When we lived together in South Carolina, we’d celebrate by treating ourselves to a ridiculously fancy meal together in lieu of buying each other gifts.
But what am I supposed to do to celebrate a fake birthday?
Eh, I’ll just go to a ridiculously fancy meal anyway.