I don't understand Birthday celebrations. Throughout history, billions upon billions of people have also had them. So what possesses us think our own is so distinctive?
It was too long ago for me to remember, but it's a safe bet my mother screamed, or at least uttered a stifled moan, as with one final push, she painfully ejected me from between her bloodied thighs into the early morning air of post-war Britain. The year was 1949 on the 27th day of March. For the rest of the country, rationing and re-building were the order of the day, but for me, as with every newborn child, I was unconcerned, I would guess, by anything other than my immediate problems.
The first priority of any newborn child is to protest loudly at such an undignified introduction. And who can blame it? Anyone familiar with the aftermath of a particularly violent and bloody brawl in a vat of jellied eels will understand this - to be smeared in this vile, slimy, gunk, and be naked to boot, is... well... I ask you! And then of course, there's the process of acclimatisation; getting to grips with this strange, new, and potentially dangerous environment you will come to know as The World.
Birth is a violent and rude introduction to this planet. What it isn't is a seismic shock reverberating around the Universe, foretold by angels, and feted by allegedly wise geezers bearing gifts. We come into it as we go out: insignificant and usually gasping for breath. If you're lucky enough to survive the first day, each and every day thereafter is special. These are the ones that concern me. As I write, today is the most important day of my life.