The official start of summer also means that my birthday is upon us. Those of you who are old enough probably remember the day thirty-six years ago when the earth shook with goodness. As is always the case, I like to take time to consider where others were in their lifepaths at age 36.
If I were Mary Richards at age thirty-six, I would have moved to Minneapolis six years ago. Love would be all around for another year.
If I were Elvis Presley, I would be given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award this year.
If I were Murphy Brown, I would enter rehab four years from now.
If I were Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, I would have left the White House three years ago. It would be another three years before I married Aristotle Onassis.
If I were Jesus at age thirty-six, I would have risen from the dead three years ago.
If I were Cher, this would be the year that I starred in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean on Broadway. My acting career would skyrocket after that.
If I were Marlo Thomas, this would be the year that I teamed up with Gloria Steinem to create the "Ms. Foundation for Women".
If I were Bob Marley, I would be dead.
If I were Oscar de la Hoya, this would be the year that I retired from boxing.
If I were Oscar Wilde, this would be the year that I published The Picture of Dorian Gray. Is it a coincidence that at age 36 Wilde was fantasizing about the possibility of never aging? I think not.
If I were James Dean, I would have been dead for twelve years.
If I were Pancho Villa at age thirty six, I would be at the height of my power in northern Mexico and still serving as provisional governor of Chihuahua in the midst of the Mexican Revolution. Things would start to fall apart for me next year.
If I were Elizabeth Montgomery, I would have been starring in Bewitched for five years. I wouldn’t give my last twitch for another three years.
If I were Harvey Milk, it would be another 11 years before I became the first openly gay elected official in a major U.S. city.
If I were a bottle of wine, somebody would pay a lot of money to drink me.
If I were Saint Anthony of Padua, I would be dead.
If I were James Baldwin, this is the year that I would publish Nobody Knows My Name.
If I were Frida Kahlo, this would be the year that I painted “Roots.”
If I were Diego Rivera, this would be the year that I painted my first mural “Creation” at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City at the expense of the Mexican federal government.
If I were Anthony Perkins, I would star in the forgettable Pretty Poison. It would have been eight years since I originated the character of Norman Bates.
If I were Franklin D. Roosevelt, I would be serving as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. This would also be the year that I would first meet Winston Churchill. It would be another 14 years before I would be elected President of the United States.
If I were Princess Diana, I would be dead.
If I were Kate Jackson, this would be the year that I started filming Scarecrow and Mrs. King.
If I were Farrah Fawcett, this is the year that I would win critical acclaim for my off-Broadway performance in the play Extremities.
If I were Jaclyn Smith, this is the year that I would star in Sidney Sheldon’s Rage of Angels, thus starting my reign as the Queen of the Made-for-T.V.- Movie.
If I were either of my parents, I would already have three children. The youngest would be eight years old.
If I were Dolly Parton, I would star in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas this year. It would include my performance of “I Will Always Love You.”
If I were Dorthea Lange, this would be the year that I accompanied my husband to Taos, New Mexico. It would be another four years before I broke out of the crushing boredom of domestic life to become one of the most famous photographers of the Depression era.
If I were Nina Otero-Warren, this would be the year that I became the superintendent of public schools in Santa Fe County.
If I were Barack Obama, I would be serving my first term in the Illinois Senate.
If I were Paul Lynde, I would be filming Bye Bye Birdie.
If I were Marilyn Monroe, I would be dead.
If I were Pearl Bailey, this would be the year that I starred in the Broadway musical House of Flowers.
If I were Manuel Armijo, I would serve as mayor of Albuquerque while enjoying my wealth from sheep trading.
If I were Walt Whitman, I would publish the first edition of Leaves of Grass this year.
If I were Cleopatra VII, this would be the year that Octavian launched a Roman invasion against my kingdom in Egypt.
If I were Betty White, I would be filming the sit-com Date with the Angels. It would be another 15 years before I appeared as Suann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Twenty seven years would pass before I would play Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. It would be 52 years before I would star in Hot in Cleveland.
If I were Miguel Otero, Junior, I would be serving as the Probate Clerk of San Miguel County, New Mexico. It would be another two years before I became the first Mexican American governor in the United States.
If I were Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, I would be remarkably unkind.
If I were Captain Kirk, this would be my last year commanding the U.S.S. Enterprise on its five year mission “to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations.” Unless I was the Captain Kirk from the poorly written recent film, in which case I would have skipped over all the hard work of earning that rank eleven years ago.
If I were William Shatner, I would have been playing Captain Kirk for one year.
If I were Captain Picard, I would be serving as first officer of the U.S.S. Stargazer. It would be another 23 years before I took command of the Enterprise.
If I were Patrick Stewart, I would have been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for ten years. It would be another eleven before I accepted the role of Captain Picard.
If I were Popé, it would be another nine years before Spain’s religious authorities would arrest me for practicing “sorcery.”
If I were Truman Capote, it would be another five years before I published In Cold Blood.
If I were Octaviano Larrazolo, this would be the year that I moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico. It would be another 33 years before I became the first Mexican American elected to the U.S. Senate for the state of New Mexico.
If I were GayProf, it would have been three years since I moved to Midwestern Funky Town. My blog, The Center of Gravitas, would be five years old.
If I were Reies López Tijerina, this would be the year that I devised the Alianza Federal de Mercedes while living in Albuquerque.
If I were Wonder Woman, I would age another 2,455 years before joining Patriarch’s world to fight crime.