Tag Archives: birthday

The Miserable Joy of Eeyore.

I’m a year older than I was last week. There’s something about having a birthday that always reminds me of Eeyore. After all, what’s a birthday? Here today, gone tomorrow, as he would say.

Eeyore has always been my favourite of the Winnie-the-Pooh characters. With such lines as, “Good morning Little Piglet. If it is a good morning. Which I doubt. Not that it much matters”, how could you not love him?

On his birthday Eeyore is sardonic, witty and urbane but most of all he is miserable. Eeyore makes us all feel better on our birthdays. He takes on all the pain of ever feeling forgotten or abandoned on what’s supposed to be our special day. He makes even the most monumental loser feel good. No matter how bad things get they’ll always be worse for Eeyore. And that’s a form of comfort.

When I was a kid I was always jealous of my sister’s toy Eeyore. It was a home made job way before merchandising came to be the market force it is these days. It had character and was well loved. From an early age my sister and I both knew that Eeyore was the only one who saw the world as it was but still found something worthwhile in it. Even better he expressed his pessimism in no uncertain terms to anyone who’d listen and they still loved him. But most of all he was funny.

I once met a man who used to size people up by finding out who their favourite Winnie-the-Pooh character was. To him it was a reflection of how people viewed the world. Pooh types were optimistic, undemanding and simplistic. Piglets were insecure, needy and eager to please. Owls were quirky, odd and kind of interesting. Tiggers were arrogant and immature. Kangas were often nurses, caring but tired. Roos were wishy-washy. And Rabbit? Who on earth would choose Rabbit as their favourite character? You’d have to be perverse.

Very occasionally you’ll find someone who cites Christopher Robin as their favourite. According to his theory, it shows someone with a marked lack of imagination or a male going through a mid-life crisis.

But when you find another Eeyore you know you’ve found a soul mate. It takes a special type of person to love and appreciate an old grey donkey who pretty much keeps to himself in a damp corner of the 100 Acre Wood.

“I might have known’, said Eeyore. “After all, I have my friends. Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And it was last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said ‘Bother!’ The Social Round. Always something going on.”

Thanks Eeyore.

Happy Epiphany Baby.

I was due on Christmas day. But even in the womb I had a few clues. I knew the likelihood of birthday presents would be inversely proportional to the proximity of my birthday to Christmas Day. So my poor mother had to put up with me refusing to budge for almost two weeks.

I finally agreed to emerge on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Epiphany. I looked epiphany up in the dictionary once. It read, “the manifestation of the superhuman.” I was most pleased. Jesus received gold, frankincense and myrrh on the Twelfth Day of Christmas so I assumed I’d do all right too.

Wrong.

What I didn’t realise was this: when I was young I’d hardly ever have a birthday party because it was always school holidays so all my friends were away, and when I was an adult most people would be elsewhere doing other things like camping, travelling and vacationing. So if your birthday is also around this time I sympathise fully.

Some years my birthday has drifted past with barely a wave of recognition as others enjoy their holidays and festive season. But other birthdays have been diamonds. A couple of years ago a new friend, having realised my plight, baked a cake, made a birthday banner and decorated her lounge room with streamers for a birthday party just for me. She and I were the only ones at that party but it didn’t matter. I felt so special.

Many years ago, when I was living in Sydney, the city put on an outdoor concert in the Domain on my birthday. I spent the day surrounded by music and music lovers with Paul Kelly (whose birthday was a week later) as the headliner. Bliss.

And this year I had a full day of glorious celebratory activities culminating in a beautiful birthday dinner hosted by a good and generous friend. I felt well and truly loved.

So although the gold, frankincense and myrrh might not be forthcoming every year (even  Jesus only received those presents once) some of my birthdays have been pure gold and life has been a sweet smelling balm.

Thank you.