My worst birthday was my 21st. It was the end of my junior year of college. The day before my birthday, I completely bombed my Conceptual Physics final. Feeling defeated, I emptied my dorm room and loaded up my car. I spent the night at a friend’s house; he had to work the next day, and was not up for doing anything fun.
The day of my birthday I drove home to London. I could now legally buy alcohol, but I was in a dry county, so it didn’t really matter. After I got home, my girlfriend broke up with me over the phone. Over the phone, on my birthday. I really wished she could have waited, at least a day.
That night my mother made me a birthday dinner, and there was cake, but I was not in a good mood. And then, when my mother found out about my grade in Physics, she was not in a good mood, either.
When I went back to school in the fall, I saw Alice Van Brunt in the cafeteria, and she inquired after my girlfriend, and I said that she had broken up with me. And Alice said she was so sorry, but she did not really seem very sorry, and she gave me a hug.
In retrospect, that break-up is one of the best things that happened to me, so maybe my 21st birthday wasn’t a total waste.