I decided to make my debut in this world a year or so after my parents met, nine months after they married, and precisely on my due date.
Labor began while my parents and my dad's best friend were in the middle of watching Charlie's Angels, which is extremely rude behavior before the age of DVR's or even VCR's. How much more polite to come earlier, when my mother ran around the house several times vainly hoping to entice me? Obviously, my vague distaste for exercise existed even in the womb.
Despite her earlier attempts to jump-start labor, after only one major contraction my mother changed her mind entirely about that whole "delivering a child" thing. It obviously was not for her and she simply was not going to do it. My father, despite knowledge of my mother's fierce determination in most things, still realized the flaw in her argument and persuaded her to go to the hospital anyway; his persuasion taking the form of enlisting his friend's help in carrying her to the car.
I was born in rural, rural Arkansas in 1976 which meant a few things. First of all, I would never like to wear shoes (true story) and would feel compelled to shop at WalMart (who shares its beginning in rural Arkansas). Also, they didn't go into all those new-fangled things like epidurals or allowing the father's presence in the birth room. No, they still used laughing gas and made the father pace outside. As they wheeled my mother away, she grabbed my father's hand and left him with immortal words of wisdom: "Honey, I forgot to iron your shirts." I think they still used laughing gas just to give the husband teasing ammunition for the rest of eternity.
The rest of my birth is sort of unreliable as my mother was a little bit high and my father was not there. I can assume that it actually happened. Pretty sure I wasn't dropped, even if that would explain a lot. It couldn't have been too horrid, either, as my mother did it 5 more times without any medication or epidural. My siblings can thank me for their existence later.
Now anyone who has ever said, "What's in a name?" has never been through child naming negotiations. Sorry Shakespeare, but apparently there is a lot in a name. My parents were no different. My father, the driving force behind "Charlotte", made solemn vows to never abbreviate my name to "Char", a nickname my mother did not appreciate. I can't be certain what threats were made, but they must have been severe as the nickname was never used. On rare occasions when people insist my name needs shortening, I have gone by Charlie. I'm sure this is some cosmic commentary on interrupting Charlie's Angels with my birth.
I would like to preemptively apologize to my mother for the preceding story. Obviously I can only go on what I've been told about my birth and, re-reading it, it must be my father who told me. Why else the knowledge of what was on TV and the good-humored teasing of my mother? Any inaccuracies can be blamed on waiting until late to write this so I couldn't call and double check facts and/or my own faulty memory . I was born under the influence of laughing gas, after all.