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Lenore Hirsch

Lenore Hirsch

As we approach old age, friends are a precious commodity. You never know when you may desperately need one, so it’s important to keep them on your radar. And forgetting their special day is not a good idea.

I can’t understand how some people claim to remember appointments, lunches and other social engagements using just their memories. Really? I wouldn’t know what day it is without looking at my appointment book, my smartphone or my computer.

Some people have a special place to store birthdays, like a birthday book. I have one of those, but the problem is I forget to look at it for months. Months of missing birthdays. Facebook very nicely tells you when your friends are celebrating birthdays, in enough time to send them greetings online. That’s the state of birthday wishes these days. But your Aunt Maggie may not be on Facebook.

I subscribe to an online greeting card service. It’s worth the small annual fee to have options for occasions when I don’t have time to shop or mail a card. Or I forgot and the birthday is today. I can choose from some very funny computerized greetings that have animation and music; you can even arrange for a voice of your choice to read your original message. Female and sexy, male and British, whatever you want. I prefer the greetings that have dancing cows or talking animals.

Anyway, when I have sent an electronic greeting card, the service stores the name and email address of the recipient and reminds me in advance of the next birthday. You can even schedule the cards in advance and avoid the possibility of forgetting. Pretty cool.

So with a little computer savvy, you can be reminded of your best friend’s birthday. Nevertheless, I recommend the old-fashioned appointment book to keep track of everything. Some people do this on their smartphones, but I like the paper version because it also provides me with a permanent record of what I did, with all the white-out and the crossed-out notes and addresses I can refer back to. I love looking at one of my appointment calendars from a few years back. July 22, lunch with Denise — who the hell is Denise?

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I get a weekly calendar for every new year and write everything in it. My appointments, column due dates, when the cleaning lady is expected, and birthdays. I even use it to keep track of my exercise program. I’ll plan the week, writing and circling “walk” or “gym” or “bike” on the days I want to do those things. That’s where the white-out comes in, as I often get up in the morning scheduled for the bike and find it raining or I just don’t feel up to it that day. So I revise as I go along, but I end up with a record of what I’ve actually done, which on occasion can be used to convince my doctor I’m really trying to get in shape.

At our age, the best way to remember your best friend’s birthday is to ask him or her to remind you. After all, to whom is this special day the most significant, unforgettable thing? The birthday boy himself. And if you have a spouse who isn’t good at remembering your special day, don’t fret about it. Don’t let your birthday come and go and then have a conniption fit because he forgot. Remind, remind, remind. “One month to the special day, sweetie.” “Two weeks until the special day, honey.” Get the idea?

You might even suggest you help him to plan the party and the gift purchase. He’ll surely appreciate your effort.

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Send me your stories at lenore@lenorehirsch.com.

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