In my 49-year history (as of yesterday) of birthdays, yesterday’s ranked up there with the most memorable. Not because of any type of celebration or gift (I’m not really into either of those, anyway) — or disaster for that matter, such as my 34th when I went out for lunch from where I was working at the time to go to the nearest ATM and while in route got into a traffic collision that totaled my Honda Civic in front of the mayor’s mansion in Hancock Park, no less. Yes, that’s a birthday to remember, for sure.
No. Yesterday’s birthday was just another day in the almost year-long string of days involving my ongoing public safety training, but this one, coincidentally, involved the entire class singing “Happy Birthday” to me not once, but twice — a feat never before have I experienced.
But first and more importantly and stressfully, the evening also featured another unique aspect: our final written exam, called the “End of Module Proficiency” test, or EOMP. Incorporating some 23 learning domains studied, and tested throughout the past year, there’s a level of anxiety the 90-question, two-hour exam induces — especially for someone of my advanced age whose memory banks can find occasion to be decidedly less sticky than in my younger days.
Thankfully, I managed to recall enough right answers and did not end up having my first exam fail happen on such a personal milestone. Afterwards in the testing room and in an uncharacteristic display of congratulations, our tactical officer and exam proctor announced before the class that it was my birthday and ordered them to sing “Happy Birthday” to me.
The second round came a short while later back in our classroom adjacent the testing room for another session of radar certification class, and involved a batch of chocolate cookies for the occassion, baked by our instructor.
Backstory: the only reason my birthday was known to her, is that when we began radar instruction a couple weeks ago, she invited us all to stand up and introduce ourselves and include our age. When it came my turn, I said that I would be turning 49 at the end of this month. “What day?” she asked and I told her, wherein she mentioned that she loves to bake and asked if I’d like cookies or cake. Somewhat surprised and embarrassed I asked for the latter.
So there we are at the beginning of class last night and she’s standing there with a plate of chocolate chip cookie goodness ready to distribute.
“I heard you guys sing Happy Birthday next door,” she said, “don’t think you’re not singing it again,” to which some of my classmates rolled their eyes and sighed, giving me just enough time to reach into my bag, turn my camera on and hit record before they obliged (click the link below to hear):
My Classmates Sing Me “Happy Birthday” A Second Time
The cookies were delicious.