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Birthday Song Gone Wrong


As a child, I planned my birthday party for months in advance. I’d make my own invitations, pick a theme, and come up with games to match the theme. I suppose I got some of this from my parents who were pretty creative with gift giving.

The only problem was that my sister’s birthday is only two days after mine. Every other year we got to have our party on the weekend nearest our special day. When it was my off year, I’d either have to hold my party a week before or a week after. We made it work. I stayed out of her way. As the little sister, she really didn’t want me around and had no interest in being a part of my parties. As we became adults, my brother and sister and I made less of a fuss over our special day and would just make a phone call, usually accompanied with the ‘Happy Birthday’ song, in or out of tune. Several years back, two days after my birthday, I called to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to my sister. She had recently married and moved out of the area. A man answered. I just assumed it was her husband. I asked for Debby. Once I heard her, “Hello,” I launched into a very enthusiastic rendition of Happy Birthday. It was silly because I don’t have a great singing voice. I waited for her response, “Ah, thank you. That’s very nice of you. My birthday is still a few more days away but thank you. Who is this?” “This is Debby, right?” “Yes.” Something was off. It didn’t sound like my sister. Embarrassed, I explain I must have dialed the wrong number. By chance, I did call Debby, just not my sister, Debby, and someone whose birthday was near this time frame. What are the chances of that? We laughed as I awkwardly finished our conversation. I checked the number and called the right number this time. I didn’t sing. I didn’t have it in me to chance it again but I had to laugh even though I felt extremely embarrassed.

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