Tuesday, November 20, 2007

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF BIRTHDAYS by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

The Book: Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers, THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF BIRTHDAYS: Personology Profiles for Each Day of the Year. Viking Penguin, 1994. Jacket and book both in very good condition.
First read: 1995
Owned since: 1995

My family is walking proof, if you needed any, of the silliness of astrology. I have a twin sister who is very unlike me in personality, and three siblings born on the same day next week (Peggy and Susan are twins; Ed was born on their first birthday). Our Chris was born on their birthday in 1983, and that date is also the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends.

But I own this book, and pull it out frequently for friends' birthdays, to see how accurate it is. I can't explain it and I can't justify it; it's just fun to listen to (or read) someone making pronouncements about the personality attributes of people they've never met.

In the summer of 1995 I sat on the front stoop of the house on 15th Street in Washington, reading parts of it aloud to my housemates. If nothing else, this book is an infallible conversation-starter, because everyone likes to hear about themselves.

According to this book, November 20 -- my birthday, and that of my twin sister Kathy -- is The Day of the Scrambler. Here's what it says about us:

November 20 people are born fighters ... often controversial ... extremely loyal ... can be bitingly sarcastic, but also extremely funny.

Me? Sarcastic?

There is a childlike side to November 20 people that keeps them young in both looks and spirit -- a kind of timeless quality that defies age.

That's nice, anyway. The book also gives our strengths as "Active, Scrappy, Idealistic," while our weaknesses are that we are "Volatile, Overzealous, Obsessive."


Okay, so maybe there's something to this. But if I recognize myself in these words, I'm not sure I recognize Kathy here. She probably reads these pages and identifies with other parts of the description, the paragraph that starts, "November 20 people are on the whole highly practical..." which certainly does not describe me.

We share a birthday with -- among others -- Robert Kennedy, Bo Derek, and Senator Robert C. Byrd, who is 90 today.

So happy birthday, Senator Byrd, and happy birthday, Kathy. Here's to another year of scrambling.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Clair!

Moira said...

Happy Birthday, cousin. It's Darby's birthday too. He's certainly obsessive, funny and young at heart. Hope you have a great day. Stay warm and enjoy yourself : )

Anonymous said...


(This is the year that I won't forget your birthday and then try in vain to convince you that it really wasn't today....)

Madley said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, and cheers to a fantastic year!!!

I LOVE this book as well as the The Secret Life of Destiny! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday--you forgot Otto in your birthday greetings. Hope he isn't reading this.