Today is the birthday of The Beast, which means that it’s eight weeks until Christmas. I know this because he was eight weeks old when we got him, that date of arrival being the day after Christmas. It’s not complex math, but it is math nonetheless.
Birthdays are markers of time. What is it that makes an anniversary important? That one-year mark? Why do we track them? And celebrate them? Or, in the case of sad anniversaries, sometimes we simply note them. But we’re just acknowledging another rotation of the earth around the sun. And something that happened on that exact day in a prior rotation. Put that way, I’m like, “Why do I care?”
I’m not so good with time. I can only remember the year my father passed away based on the fact that I broke my foot at the end of that year. And I only know the year I broke my foot because I walked for two and a half miles to go see then Senator Obama’s speech at American University. It was the day that Ted Kennedy endorsed him. That was for 2008 election. I remember because my physical therapist said that I was cured after he found out I walked that far. It was slow, but I did it.
So time for me is related to events, and how those events relate to something else I can pin a date to. I need to do some kind of backwards, inside out calculations. With an abacus. I only know how old I am only because I know how old the Big Guy is, and then I add thirty. As soon as I lose track of his age, I won’t know how old I am.
It took me about fourteen years before I could remember the year we were married. It was amusing at first, but then became embarrassing. So I had to work really hard to remember the actual numbers–without backing into it. Sometimes I still forget.
I am amazed and impressed that ancient peoples created calendars to mark the comings and goings of time. They figured it out and made events and myths about the named epochs–which we call years. Maybe they were driven by preparations for different seasons. But that story only makes sense if you live in a part of the world with seasons. I bet I could study this.
Anyway, they say that a dog year is equivalent to seven human years. And that is DEFINITELY a ridiculous concept of time. I still got The Beast a special treat. And I sang him happy birthday and told him he was a good dog. He didn’t really care about the date. But he ate the treat. Woof!