March 19, 2020

Family Parties and Pandemics

Today is my birthday.

Bobo and a random guy at breakfast who was also celebrating his birthday (2019)
Bobo and a random guy at breakfast who was also celebrating his birthday (August 2019)

So, this is 29. Or as my dad so delicately put it, “The last year before you start lying about your age.”

Even without the quarantine, birthdays are getting harder to swallow every year. They used to be fun.

When I was little I thought you inherited birthdays. You may think this is stupid, but it was around the time my answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up” was “a butterfly.” And it actually makes sense given my family’s history. There is a long Morgan tradition of ruining each other‘s birthdays and one-upping each other.

This is how I imagine it.

Grammy and a cardboard cutout of Tom Hanks…two of life’s sweetest gifts
Rewinding Morgan history: March 19th 1845(ish) Grammy was born. How she was as a child I cannot say, but who she is now is like if Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, and the entire cast of Monty Python had a 90 year old child together. She’s had ~3000 cats and they have all been named Tigger. On her best behavior she is a more inappropriate version of Betty White.

And on August 13th 1955 in a little town called Somerville Massachusetts, Grammy gave birth to my dad, known to his friends and enemies as Bobo. With this, Grammy was celebrated as a new mother. 15 years later, frustrated that her day of labor had turned into a celebration of Bobo, Grammy turned the attention away from Bobo by giving birth to a daughter, Jenny, also on August 13th.

This birthday betrayal was not taken lightly by Bobo. So years later, he found his revenge on Grammy’s birthday, when his first daughter was born (that’s me—the hero of the story). Grammy would forever have to share her birthday now, as well.

Imagine Bobo is himself, and Tyler is somebody else’s birthday

Meanwhile, Bobo’s sister Jenny had made a scheme of her own. She hoped to further steal the limelight by giving birth to a daughter on the same day that she and Bobo were born. However, by the fate of the gods, her daughter was born three days before, on August 10th, 2000. Instead of taking away more from Bobo, she decided instead to take all that Bobo’s daughter had. But all Amy Elizabeth Morgan had was that; a name. So on August 10th Morgan Elizabeth was born.

The Morgan family had a peaceful era following this birth, but the instinct to ruin birthdays still lived on in Bobo. So much so that on Amy’s 25th birthday the drive to be the center of attention literally gave Bobo a heart attack, and Amy’s birthday was quickly forgotten as friends and balloons gathered instead at the side of Bobo’s hospital bed. This is an actually true story of my 25th birthday.

The birthday madness does not stop with the Morgan side. My mom’s sister, Kathy, already had to share her October 6th birthday with her cousin Jim as well as her sister—in—law. This presented a once in a lifetime opportunity for Bobo to one-up three people with just one birth. And so it was no surprise that my brother, Derek, was born October 6, 1989. 10:06pm also happens to be the time I was born. But this isn’t about me. Just kidding it absolutely is.

Here’s a collage of me on my birthday so you don’t forget this is about me and my birthday

This upcoming weekend was supposed to be Grammy’s 90th birthday party. If you’ve been following along, you probably already guessed this party would in no way be celebrating my birthday. But because of COVID-19, the party was cancelled. I know what you’re thinking…and I’m on board with the accusations. Was the virus created by my dad as a way to sabotage another birthday? Or could it be that this is a sign that the Morgan family must come together (not literally) in these troubled times? Could the great birthday equalizer finally help my family cease this petty birthday feud? Probably not.

Obviously no one actually planned any of these birthday coincidences as far as I know. But it really makes sense why I would think birthdays were inherited. Honestly it’s not the most erroneous conclusion I’ve ever come to. This was just something I wrote in my notes seven months ago and never planned to show anyone. But I sent it to my dad last week and he implored me to write it on Grammy’s birthday card, which he apparently imagined to be 18 times bigger than the average birthday card. But since I won’t be seeing Gram or the rest of the family for our birthdays, this is my tribute.