Column: Birthday girl

 Helen Mirren

It was my birthday this week but I wouldn’t go as far as to say I celebrated it.

It was on Tuesday for a start (rubbish day for a birthday) plus I genuinely believe that if you ignore the creeping years you remain fixed in time as a youngster, like Peter Pan or say, Helen Mirren or Sigourney Weaver.

So I froze it out and went to work as usual.

It all started to go wrong when my phone started to bleep. I expected of course a few birthday messages. But when 33 people I vaguely know hadsent me the best wishes of the day by 9am – flattered as I was – I knew I was either 1. significantly more popular than I was last year, 2. a lottery winner, 3. a celebrity. Or something was up.

That something, it initially appeared, was Facebook, where my settings seems to have been magically altered and my birthday had started to appear. Quite how, I’m baffled, as I’m sure I banned any mention of the dreaded day and it didn’t seem to know last year. But that was not all.

Working away at my desk, with some of my staff pleasingly ignorant about the significance of 03/03, I ploughed through my thousands of emails, including those to some colleagues I’d never met in the far reaches of Johnston Press-land.

‘Oh and Happy Birthday’ they exclaimed in the their replies. I was baffled – how on earth did they know if they weren’t my Facebook friends?

The answer to this conundrum soon emerged to be the email itself where somewhere – and absolutely where or how I do not know – the omnipresent Google had soaked up my personal information and was now sharing my birthday with anyone it fancied. I strongly suspect they were holding a birthday party complete with cake and candles for me in Google HQ but they had just forgotten to send my invite.

At this point I gave up and embraced my significant date and new found popularity. Then my phone lit up again.Apparently the Secretary of State for Health had mentioned me by name in the House of Commons chamber. Wishing me Happy Birthday, probably…

@jabberingjourno March 4, 2015

This first appeared in Lancaster Guardian. Click HERE for link