Today is my birthday. A couple of days ago, I got a birthday card in the mail. An actual, physical, handwritten birthday card. It’s probably been twenty years since that’s happened. It was nice. It feels really good to get a card from someone who cares. It definitely made me smile. Then, I noticed something. The card was signed, “Jennifer.” That’s it. Just Jennifer. The absurdity of that really made me laugh.
You see, 95% of all women between the ages of 40 and 55 are named Jennifer. It’s true. You can look it up. 4.5% are Sarah, Jessica, or Stephanie. All other names only make up 0.5% of women between 40 and 55. (Strangely, every single one of their middle names are either Lynn or Marie.) So, as you can guess, I know a lot of Jennifers. At least dozens. Perhaps hundreds. That means I have no idea who sent me the very nice birthday card.
A bunch of the Jennifers I haven’t spoken to or interacted with in years. Back in school, I knew Jenn B., another Jenn B., Jenn C., Jenn D. (I think her birthday is this week, too. I seem to remember both of us bringing cupcakes into school the same week.), Jenn K., Jenn L., Jenn M., Jenn P., Jenn R., Jenn S., and Jenn V. I’ve worked with, and subsequently lost contact with, Jenn K., Jenn T. (who became Jenn L.), Jenn N., Jenn L., and another Jenn L., Jenn W., Jenn R., Jenn V., and Jenn O. Then there are at least five or six Jenns whom I can’t remember their last names. I do remember one of them played the bassoon. And another played soccer. I’m pretty sure none of these Jennifers sent me the card.
As for the Jennifers I’m still in contact with, I’m really having trouble narrowing it down. I first thought of Jenn Z. since she sends a holiday card every year. But the holiday card is always signed by the whole family, so I don’t think it’s her. Jenn H. (who is now Jenn B.) is a sweetheart who I could see sending a card, but it doesn’t really have her energy. I was good friends with Jenn F. (who is now Jenn S.), but we only talk very occasionally now. I recently reconnected with Jenn M. (who is now Jenn C.) at a new job. She would surprise me, but I should probably figure out when her birthday is, just in case. There are two Jenn C.s, but they don’t seem likely either.
There are two that I’m kind of leaning towards. Jenn D. is one of those. We only talk occasionally now but sending a random card to an old friend is absolutely something she would do. I actually had a big ol’ crush on her once upon a time. I even asked her out, but she had a boyfriend at the time that I didn’t know about. Then there’s Jenn F. (who is now Jenn K., but she’ll always be Jenn F. to me) whom I count among my bestest friends. I even wrote a book for her. We haven’t talked in a while; life has been crazy these past couple of years, but she could easily do something to make me smile.
There are, of course, other Jennifers that I’ve met along the way, but these are all the ones that I’ve counted as friends at some point. It’s probably one of the people I mentioned. I don’t think I have any secret admirers (although if I did, odds are her name would be Jennifer). Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you. The card was thoughtful and has made my birthday better.