King of the Vangaurd

I suck at birthdays.

Even back in the day, before the ubiquity of cell phones and elimination of the need to keep numbers in one’s head, I still could barely remember birthdays.  Nephew, Sister, Mom, Dad – those are the only birthdays I have committed to memory.  One old friend who shares a birthday with my old man doesn’t count.

Among the Birthday’s I should remember but don’t:

  • My dear friend, the Only Slightly Sleazy Lobbyist
  • Every ex-girlfriend
  • My ex-wife whose birthday I should remember only by virtue of the fact that we were married, but nope
  • A good friend with whom I had dinner on her birthday… a couple of months ago… I think
  • The most significant ex-girlfriend for whom I threw and hosted three birthday parties
  • Everyone on my speed dial
  • The woman whose birthday I used as a voicemail code
  • My closest friend since the ninth grade
  • All of the people who sent me good wishes last week on mine

Yet for some reason, I never forget the 23rd of September.  I will spend this day listening to Giant Steps, Blue Train, A Love Supreme among others of My Favorite Things.

Happy Birthday, John William Coltrane.


By the by, are there any musicians, writers, or artists who made such a significant impact in your life that you celebrate their birthday’s every year?


P.S. There is a new dish over at my Recipe Blog – Avocado & Tomato Salad with Crispy Pancetta


19 Responses to King of the Vangaurd

  1. Gilahi says:

    Well, I can’t say that he made such an impact on my life, but Arlo Guthrie’s birthday is the same day as mine (although he arrived a few years earlier).

    Not sure if people sharing your birthday count in that way…

    After typing that, I checked a list of other famous people with whom I share a birthday. There were some rather famous names on there, one person I even met and had a conversation about such… and I still didn’t remember. So, yuppers, that counts.

  2. k8 says:

    No. But I’ll remember when Frankie Manning died.

    One day over coffee, I will have to tell you my Frankie Manning story. A truly great man who is dearly missed by so many.

  3. justjp says:

    This is why I apprecaite Facebook, it sends me reminders.

    That might be the most compelling reason I’ve ever seen for me to join “da Book”

  4. Cyndy says:

    I’m pretty bad about birthdays in general, but I’m happy to know that today is John Coltrane’s. I’ve got “Blue Trane” playing now in his honor. “Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane” is next. Several years ago I played a gig in Hamlet, NC where he was born, about three days after his birthday. But it didn’t have anything to do with him unfortunately.

    Some checking just revealed that you also need to play some Ray Charles and Bruce Springsteen today. Can you imagine three musical legends sharing the same birthday?

  5. LiLu says:

    OH MY LORD… thank you for writing this today. It’s my mother’s birthday… and I totally forgot until I saw 23 OF SEPTEMBER!!!

    Man. I owe you one.

    Don’t thank me, thank Trane…. a quick listen to Sentimental Mood ought to do it.

  6. shine says:

    I have to set little reminders in my phone for the important ones. Everyone else generally makes a big deal about in some public fashion before it happens. So I try to pay attention, but often fail miserably. I don’t get upset when people who aren’t family don’t remember mine, though. And I haven’t gotten a birthday present in two years.

    I don’t know any celebrity birthdays. And I can’t even think of anyone whose birthday I would want to know…that’s just sad.

    I try to set reminders for people as I learn them… but it really doesn’t help me much. I just suck at it.

  7. f.B says:

    There are some birthdays I always remember and some I probably could never learn to remember without some sort of reward system put in place to train me. Honestly? On very, very rare occassions, I’m not even sure about my own.

    I’ve never forgotten my own, but I am at a point in my life where I have to pause before giving my age.

  8. kitty says:

    you asked, so, yes, I usually remember, and often celebrate (by eating artery-clogging weird food combinations, watching movies and listening to music) Elvis’s birthday.

    No shame in having a a deep fried Twinkie in celebration of the King.

  9. I have the opposite problem. I remember EVERYONE’s birthday. Even if I’ve known you for all of an hour and you tell me your special day? Yep, it’ll be etched into that cinderblock of a brain of mine.

    I’ll bet I’ve spend thousands on cards and stamps, thanks to that damned memory of mine.

    I’ll trade ya.

    It’s actually kind of embarrassing – being a man who places too much value on his own intellect yet cannot recall birthdays or names for that matter very well. Yes, I know that memory & recall have nothing to do with intellectual capacity, but it still bugs me.

  10. Lazygal says:

    Musicians? No. But I do know when Ted Williams’ birthday was. Not because I’m a huge Williams fan (although I was, up until that popsicle thing) but because my mother was such a huge fan that 50 years ago, she planned her wedding day to coincide with his birthday. To this day, my Bronx-born father knows when Ted was born!

    That is a very sweet story.

  11. Susan says:

    As k8 referenced, no birthday, however I will never forget the day Nina Simone died.

    I’ll never forget where I was when I learned the Phylis Hyman died, but I cannot remember the date. Why Ms. Simone… besides her obvious greatness of course?

  12. Christina says:

    I used to remember everybody’s birthday not it is a few close friends and my fam.

    If I hadn’t spent all of these years remembering immediate family birthday’s, I’m sure I wouldn’t. My nephew’s is a little different since I was there.

  13. brookem says:

    oh how i love music.
    i just sent you an email.

  14. Gilahi says:

    Oh, one more thing. My sister’s husband and I share a birthday. Several years ago, I forgot his birthday. How’s that?

    Oh yeah, that count’s and you are officially included in the Sucks as Bad as Me Birthday Category.

  15. Jaime says:

    This aspiring musician is pretty awesome, and I will never forget his birthday.

    Unbelievably adorable. I’m sure you won’t forget that day.

  16. laloca says:

    no, but i’ve always been amused and slightly creeped out that i share a birthday with strom thurmond.

    four men in my life, ranging in importance from husband to long-term squeeze to highschool buddy to good friend-of-a-friend share the same birthday. and i’m still as likely to forget it as not.

    i blow at birthdays. but i’m killer at anniversaries.

    I suck at birthday’s and anniversaries in equal measure… but that really is odd that there are four people in your life with the same birthday.

  17. Susan says:

    Need there be a reason beyond Nina Simone’s greatness?

    Nope, not at all… I was just checking.

  18. Seeing as I NEVER remember birthdays I celebrate Coltrane’s almost every Friday night after work. Before stepping into my weekend I like to sit back by myself with my feet up and with a glass of wine and listen to Favorite Things

    That sounds like a lovely way to start a weekend.

  19. […] This, yesterday was the birthday of my severe blog crush, Rachel Maddow.  As I have admitted my horrid ability to remember even the most significant of birthdays, that memory omission doesn’t shock me or anyone who’s know me for more than a calendar […]

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