A Little Happier: “What Famous Person Was Born on My Birthday?” “You Were.”

Years ago, I clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor – which was one of those rare, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime work experiences. There are many reasons that I don’t regret law school and working as a lawyer before becoming a writer, and the chance to work for Justice O’Connor is one of them.

It was such an honor to serve as a clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She is a brilliant jurist—and also a thoughtful person, and a lot of fun. For one thing, in her chambers, we always celebrated birthdays.

Because of that tradition, the year before I got there, for her birthday, her clerks had given her a giant “Birthday Book,” one of those encyclopedic books that gives information around each particular birth day: birthstone, astrological sign, important events in history, celebrities born on that day, etc.

When her own birthday rolled around, during the party, we got out this new book. “What famous person was born on my birthday?” she asked. I opened up the book and turned to March 26. “You were, Justice,” I said. “It says, ‘the first female associate justice of the Supreme Court.’”

I held up the page, which showed a large picture of her dressed in her robes. A strange look crossed her face. It must be an odd feeling to be a historic figure. It gave me an odd feeling to realize that I was in the presence of one.




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