The story of my birth is always a funny tale to tell. Long story short, my mom went into labor the night of Nov. 7, 2000 while my parents were watching the 2000 President Election coverage. The entire night, the little box TV in the corner of my mom’s hospital room did not turn off once with my dad sitting in the chair with his eyes glued to it. I was born the next day on Nov. 8, 2000 at 9:50 a.m. The doctor who had delivered my parents’ first and only child was British, which is an ironic fact to point out.
As this man was holding a fresh, gross, slimy and plump newborn baby in his hand, the news had announced that Florida went into a recount to determine whether Bush or Gore won the state. His first words weren’t, “congratulations on your new baby!” but instead, “oh dear! Florida went into recount?” (with his strong British accent that I find absolutely hilarious as part of the story). To this day, my dad likes to joke and say I f*cked up the world the moment I came into it.
Donald Trump was elected on my 16th birthday… I feel like there is nothing else left to say after that. My actual birthday that year was actually very nice. I spent it at home with my whole family and my mom cooked my favorite Desi dishes. Obviously, the topic of the election came up with my aunts and uncles later in the night but at that point, I was just a teenager happy to be 16. I was able to vote in my first presidential election in 2020 and I am sure everyone remembers the high anxiety that occurred across the whole nation over the next few days which I felt put a damper on my birthday that year. Luckily, all of the high tension was able to fizzle out in time for my 20th birthday which was five days later.
Obviously, voting in elections and being aware during the election season is very important. I am not a selfish person who wants to downplay the seriousness of it. But, how many “life or death” elections am I going to have to go through so I can properly enjoy my birthday every other year? When I was younger and did not understand elections, all I cared about was the fact that I got the day off school on or around my birthday and was thinking about what my parents had planned. It is quite mentally exhausting having to share the joys of celebrating my being in this world with an event that is either going to make or break our federal government every two years.
This year, the midterm election date is on my actual birthday so VCU gave us the day off classes. I decided to poke a little fun and have been saying “you’re welcome for the day off on the eighth. It’s National Arba Day so it was the only way to properly celebrate.” My dad said that he doesn’t care about my birthday and is going to go vote… he is Canadian and only has a green card, so the real joke is on him.
So, enjoy your day off VCU students—and go vote.