Born on the 8th of January
Every childhood has its own mythology, I suppose, and the key point in my own is that I was born on the day of Super Bowl I. As the story goes—and goes and goes and goes—I was born first in my family, not only ahead of my brothers but also ahead of all my cousins, and as such there were nerves galore. Relatives on multiple continents paced and worried and waited anxiously for the news.
All, that is, except my father, who, as family legend has it, sat unbothered in the waiting room watching that first Super Bowl—before it was officially even called the Super Bowl—between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.
“How can you sit there and watch football?” my grandmother somewhat famously yelled at him—famous in our family legend, anyway—at which point he said something to the effect of it being the Super Bowl and there wasn’t anything he could do anyway. This was long before fathers were both allowed and expected to be in the delivery room.
This story was used often to explain why I grew up such a sports fanatic. I mean: What could you expect? His father was watching the Super Bowl when I was born. My grandfather, a Holocaust survivor who used to pull out the sports section every morning so that he could happily jam it in the kitchen trash bin before beginning his reading, could never understand why his oldest grandchild would waste his time and energy on such nonsense, such mishegoss.
I don’t think he ever fully forgave my father for watching the Super Bowl when he should have been properly pacing back and forth, nervously awaiting my birth.
But here’s the thing, the M. Night Shyamalan twist.