Check-In: Milestone Birthdays

Dec 4, 2020
Originally published on December 4, 2020 1:20 pm

Jonathan Coulton talks about celebrating a milestone birthday during the pandemic.

heard on: Rosie Perez, Fortune Feimster & Big Mouth's Ayo Edebiri: Fight And Flight

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JONATHAN COULTON: Oh, hello, Ophira Eisenberg from NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER.


(Laughter) Hello, Jonathan Coulton. I wasn't sure if you were going to be up and around 'cause I was wondering how - you know, happy next-day birthday.

COULTON: Yeah, it's - my birthday was yesterday. And you're right, man, I'm moving a little slow because (whistling) what a party.


EISENBERG: Party at home.


EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah.

COULTON: No, it was lovely. Thank you.

EISENBERG: There's been a lot of birthdays (laughter), by the way, in the last year. I don't know if I told you this, but I was, like, looking on Facebook. And I was like, God, how many people were born in - and then I was like, the last eight months.


COULTON: Yeah, right, right. Probably about three-quarters of people in the world were born on some date in the last eight months.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) I was like, all I ever see is birthdays on Facebook. How many people were - and I was like, oh, no, it's just that I've been in a holding pattern for eight months.

COULTON: Yeah, exactly right.

EISENBERG: (Singing) And you had a birthday.

COULTON: I did. I had a birthday. It's a big one. It was a big one.

EISENBERG: Yeah, so it's for a milestone birthday - milestone birthday?

COULTON: It's a birthday with a zero at the end, and I am not 20.

EISENBERG: OK, so it's a milestone birthday. So did you have any visions before your birthday, let's say, like, at your last birthday, what you wanted for this birthday (laughter)?

COULTON: I am so old, and I have given up in so many ways. I cannot even remember.


COULTON: I was trying to describe this phenomenon. It's like, I have gotten to the age now where it's more - it's less about, like, oh, what are my hopes for the future? And it's more about sort of accepting like, oh, this is how it is now (laughter).

EISENBERG: What can I deal with? What can I deal with that I have?

COULTON: I guess I'm going to have to continue to work these truths into my life because here they are again a year later.

EISENBERG: OK. So no expectation - you had no expectations going into the birthday, obviously. And because it's a pandemic, you know, what could you expect anyways?

COULTON: Yeah. Well, so here's what happened, is I was at home. My daughter asked me a couple of days ago, what is your favorite kind of cake? And I knew why she was asking.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) You're like, huh, are we doing a bake-off?

COULTON: (Laughter) And we watched a movie. So it was pretty low-key. But it was lovely, you know, family time. And I will say, also, that my daughter wrote on the cake, happy birthday, you are old AF...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: ...Which I believe means you are old and friendly.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) As far as I can see - it's very, very truncated.

COULTON: As far as I can see.

EISENBERG: And how'd it taste, the cake?

COULTON: It was delicious. It was fantastic. It tasted - you know what? It tasted like love.

EISENBERG: That is - oh, my goodness. Well, I've got to say, birthday's over, so back to work. Let's do a show.

COULTON: Yeah, you're right. All right, theme song. Get ready for a song that is theme-y (ph) AF.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).


COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and half a century of excellence - ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


EISENBERG: Thank you, Jonathan.

We have a great show for you today. From "Do The Right Thing" and "White Men Can't Jump," Rosie Perez joins us. We talk about everything from her love of boxing to her new HBO Max show, "The Flight Attendant." And from flight to fight - comedian and star of the movie "Chick Fight" Fortune Feimster is here to play games with her friend comic and actor Jillian Bell. Also from the new season of "Big Mouth," Ayo Edebiri faces off against her podcast co-host Olivia Craighead. Let's do it.

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