Father’s Day and birthday double the blues

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Today, June 18, is my birthday, and June 21 is Father’s Day. And what will I receive from my loving family for both momentous occasions which will be occurring in my fabled life? One greeting card. Oh, the agony of it all!

Readers, I was born in a log cabin one June morn on a bleak and dreary Father’s Day Sunday. I knew I was in trouble when my father gave cigars to everyone, including the mohel, and me. Even at that tender age, I knew I was born on the wrong day. I recall the obstetrician looking down at me and wishing me a happy Father’s Day, instead of a happy birthday, on the first day of my life. Thus began the story that haunts me to this day.

If you have not already guessed, it is that time of year when my birthday and Father’s Day coincide, correspond and co-mingle with one another. And can you also guess which of the two celebrations goes on the back burner and is totally forgotten? It ain’t “Dear Old Dad’s Day.”

When my birthday rolls around each year, my family will remember to forget it. I will receive one customary Father’s Day card bulging with the bills from Mother’s Day. Weeks before, I cleverly began telling my family not to buy me anything for my birthday in hopes they will. They took me at my word. When it comes to giving on my birthday, my family stops at nothing.

Their problem is they want to give until it hurts, but they are sensitive to pain. Nonetheless, I am grateful I do not receive birthday gifts other people my age get: arthritis, bursitis, cataracts and the burps. But I hold no grudge, especially when my next door neighbor with a twin sister forgets her birthday also.

My birthday: I do not want a pipe and I do not want a watch. I do not want cigars or a bottle of Scotch. I do not want a thing your money can buy, and I do not want a shirt or a four-in-hand tie. If you really would make this old heart of mine glad, I just want to know you are still fond of your dad.

Father’s Day is another story. I remember last Father’s Day, when this magnificent day was simply priceless. I did not receive one gift, but was awakened early in the morning by a call from my son, Vance, from Maryland. He wished me a happy Father’s Day and then stayed on the phone for an hour, reminiscing about his childhood and the great times we had together. Then, when we were ready to hang up, he said eight words I will carry in my heart for as long as I live: “By the way, with whom am I speaking?”

At least my darling wife, Gloria, gave me a present: a list of presents she wants for next year’s Mother’s Day. But I should not be too discouraged. After all, didn’t Adam have trouble buying his father a Father’s Day present? What could he buy for somebody who has everything?

Father’s Day: You women folk say, and believe it I can, “It is terribly hard to buy things for a man!” And from all I have heard, I am sure it must be. Well, I do not want you spending your money on me. The joy I crave in a store cannot be had. I just want to know you are still fond of your dad.

I expect this year not to be any different from last year and the year before that, and the years before that: a Father’s Day/father’s birthday greeting card. But this year, I intend to send myself a mushy birthday card to read: “Herzlichen Gluckwunsch Zum Geburtstag,” “I Nostri Piu Sentiti Auguri Di Buon Compleanno,” “Feliz Cumpleanos,” “Joyeux Aniversaire” and “Many Happy Returns.” The sentiments expressed brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, me, for remembering me.

Both occasions: Get on with your shopping, give others the stuff! For me, just a hug and a kiss are enough. Just come in on my days with love in your eye, and tell me you think I am a cool guy. With that for my gift, I can never be sad. I just want to know you are still fond of your dad.

In honor of fathers on Father’s Day, Gloria and I ask all dads to rise and take a bow. Guys, be proud and enjoy your day. And to the few fathers out there who, like me, have a birthday in June, a sincere wish for a separate Father’s Day party, a separate birthday celebration and two separate sets of gifts.

Only, fellas, please wish the same for me.

Contact Alex Berger at

Posted 6:34 pm, October 10, 2011
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