Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday was on Friday, and since then two reporters have asked me how old I am, which leads me to inquire, why do reporters always ask that?

They don't (necessarily) ask where you grew up, or what your ethnic background is, or where you went to school, or what book most influenced you, or what your favorite flavor of ice cream is. None of those facts is necessarily relevant. But always with the age!

I'm insecure about age since I spent so many years in grad school, tending to make me a chronological underachiever. Also, people meeting me for the first time often think that I'm significantly younger than I am, which makes it painful to disillusion them.

Young at Heart


At 6:13 AM, October 19, 2005, Blogger Ashbloem said...

I think you've gotten off lucky. Reporters are not always asking me about AGE, but who I've been DATING recently! And what's with all the photos on the beach? Always the beach, when I have on my skimpiest bikini!

Late happy birthday!

At 10:09 AM, October 19, 2005, Blogger Neil said...

Happy, b-day. I won't ask your age.

At 10:11 AM, October 19, 2005, Blogger Maribeth said...

Hey, Julia Child learned to cook when she was 40. Grandma Moses started painting at 70. I wouldn't fret about your age unless you are planning to die of tuberculosis in the next six months. Then you had better start working on your proof of the insolubility of the quintic.

Or, you could just lie. They're just reporters.

At 10:55 AM, October 19, 2005, Blogger Richard Mason said...

I hate to stoop to dishonesty. And if there's one thing worse than a lie, it's a lie that will be easily detected by everyone you know.

On the other hand, reporters never get anything else right, so why should that be the one number they report accurately?

One time I did tell a reporter I was two years younger than I was, but it wasn't a lie... I believed it when I was saying it. Young at heart, or bad at math?

At 11:08 AM, October 19, 2005, Blogger Maribeth said...

But the people you know will think "Stupid reporter. He/she can't even get Richard's age right," while the people you don't know will think "Wow, he built two robot trucks by the age of 24 5/8. That's awesome."

At 2:02 PM, October 19, 2005, Blogger Jordan said...

There's a guy in our department who, after he turned 32 and was still in grad school, just started giving his age in hex. He lost twelve years just like that. It doesn't help, of course, if you are 1E years old.

At 8:33 AM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Richard Mason said...

A: Just had my birthday. I'm x23.

B: You're ex-23?

Hmm, could work...

At 9:42 AM, November 04, 2005, Blogger Julie said...

I'm sometimes really sensitive about being a late bloomer (Ph.D. at 46, started postdoc at 48). Whenever that happens, I try to remind myself that Theo Colborn finished grad school in her late fifties.


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