It's hard to pinpoint the annoying thing about this New York Times story about people whose birthdays are on 9/11.
Is it that ginned-up, OMG-y cultural-phenomenon tone that the NYT's life/style writing always seems to be marinated in? The reporter writes of "the phenomenon" of people coincidentally born on September 11, wherein "Every time they fill out a form at a doctor’s office, show a driver’s license to rent a car, clear passport control at the airport or otherwise present identification, they get a quizzical response, somewhere between sympathy and shock." That's patently untrue. Is there an editor in the house? Every piece of ID I have indicates that my birthday is September 11, and I get a quizzical response maybe twice a year. It certainly doesn't happen "every time." (Bouncers don't generally care what day you were born, they care what year you were born.)
Or is it just that the first person described and quoted in the story is annoying, so I read it with this-story-is-so-annoying in the back of my mind the whole time?
“I preface showing my ID by saying, ‘It’s a strange birthday,’ ” said Ms. Foote, a gift-bag designer, who attends a memorial service every year on Sept. 11 before she feels entitled to celebrate. “I sort of apologize for that day. And I always get ‘The Look.’ ”
Dear Ms. Foote: Maybe you should stop calling attention to your birthday before you show your ID, because it kinda sounds like you want the attention.
Or maybe the annoying thing is just that none of the people in the story quoted feel the way I feel about my birthday. On the big day, which was my 21st birthday (you know, the birthday that's supposed to be SO SPECIAL), I felt nothing except exceptionally lucky to be alive. That is not a bad thing to be reminded of on your birthday, and every birthday after: Hey look, you're alive. Good on ya. You've never had to choose between burning to death or jumping to death. There but for the grace of God...
The best summation of how obnoxious it is when people bitch about 9/11 being their birthday—that would have made a better story—can be found in the reader comments on the article:
At Newark Airport in early December 2001, I chatted with another parent as we saw our children off on a college-sponsored trip. We spoke of our anxieties. I bemoaned the fact that my September 11th birthday was forever hijacked that day, describing in detail how I was glued to my TV in Connecticut all day. When I asked if she remembered where she was when it happened, she said she was in the first tower when it got hit. Properly humbled, I decided then and there to never indulge in self-pity like that again.