I suppose I would be remiss where I not to mention that recently I celebrated a birthday. Something of a milestone, at that. Yes, last Thursday, I crossed the threshold and stepped forever beyond the comfortable boundaries of late adolescence known as the highly coveted 18 – 24 male demographic and turned 25. And as it is something of a benchmark in my personal history, I decided to see what else had happened in history on November 19. I found, courtesy of a cursory Wikipedia search (I’m not in college and no longer have to validate my sources, thank you very much), that there is a certain serendipity among the major events and other births I share the day with.
On November 19, 1847, the second major railway in Canada opened. I was a train nut as a kid, and it’s still my preferred method of travel for regional adventures.
Perhaps most notably, November 19, 1863 is when President Abraham Lincoln gave his legendary Gettysburg Address. This reflects my interest in politics, my adoration for powerful public speaking, and my shared affinity for stovepipe hats.
On that day in 1916, Samuel Goldwyn and Edgar Selwyn formed Goldwyn Pictures, the motion picture production company that would eventually grow and morph into the paragon of Old Hollywood’s studio era, MGM. Given that I hold more reverence for movie theaters than I do for actual houses of worship, this just seemed like the perfect coincidence.
November 19, 1969 saw soccer star Pele score his 1,000th career goal. I know some soccer players.
I share my birthday with a former King of Great Britain (Charles I), one former U.S President and the son of another (James A. Garfield and Quentin Roosevelt, respectively), the first and only female Prime Minister of India (Indira Ghandi), and a media mogul and one of his most respected employees (Ted Turner and Larry King, respectively). I also share it with three of Hollywood’s most accomplished leading ladies: Jodie Foster, Meg Ryan, and Allison Janney. The only baseball player of note who I can celebrate my birthday with is Ryan Howard of the Phillies. Given this post-season, I don’t think he’d want to share cake with me.
I even share interests with some of the people I share my birthday with. Savion Glover and I love to dance. Calvin Klein and I love underwear. And Ahmad Rashad and I love Phylicia Rashad. Well, apparently I love her more…
But perhaps my most interesting discovery is that for the better part of this decade, November 19 has been designated, by a group of well-intentioned scholars, activists, and advocates, as International Men’s Day.
Sometimes this shit just writes itself.