Happy buy yourself crap day!
Birthdays are weird. I think it’s almost universal that no one wants to be sung to in public on his or her birthday. What does the birthday boy or girl do? The people are smiling and happy while singing a slow, oddly funereal celebration song and you’re just sitting there wishing the earth would open and swallow you up.
That’s not to say we don’t want our birthdays acknowledged. I think most people would have a “Sixteen Candles”-esque fit of pique if everyone forgot their birthday. We love a “Happy birthday!” even if it comes from the guy or gal bagging our groceries in the Wal-Mart checkout line. We want to hear the words and we’re good.
So here it is my 49th birthday. The day before my birthday one of my best friends, Pam, took me out for a birthday lunch at an upscale restaurant. Of course I skipped the calamari, mussels, salmon and opted for the half-pound burger. It’s a step up. Back in the day my birthday meals consisted of a crapload of junk food ordered in the Jack in the Crack drive-thru after a night of heavy indulgence.
Years ago, my girlfriend Cathi put together a surprise birthday dinner at Cattlemen’s in Rancho Cordova attended by my brother Orvis and my buddy Chumly. Unbeknownst to me they tipped off the wait staff that it was my birthday and out of nowhere a too-small cowboy hat was plopped on my colossal cranium and a small crowd of waiters and waitresses appeared clapping and singing a way-too-peppy song, and someone ended it with a loud, “Yeeeehawwww!”
Earth, why didn’t you open? (See paragraph 1)
Pam and I talked about our ages and how arbitrary birthday celebrations are. Look what I’m celebrating. I’m celebrating the fact that since I was born the earth has orbited the sun 49 times. That’s it. Woohoo! I’ve been a passenger on a gigantic space traveling rock for 49 revolutions around a middle-aged star. I could say I’m 588 months, or 17,896 days but that involves way too much math.
I could celebrate the fact that I’m a Libra. Of course, astrology isn’t a real science so I just have fun with it but don’t take it seriously. Except the part about Libra’s being excellent lovers. That’s true.
Birthdays are a big deal when you’re a kid because you get stuff. How many times did you want something when you’re a kid and your dad or mom told you to wait until your birthday? Birthdays were like your own personal Christmas. Cha-ching!
Thirteen is important because you’re finally a teenager. Sixteen is important because it’s the age most of us got our licenses. Eighteen is an important birthday because you’re legally an adult. Twenty-one rocks because you can buy booze…legally. And then each birthday ending in zero is a milestone. Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty and so on.
It’s an awkward number because it’s the year before the typically-anxiety-provoking fiftieth birthday. Plus I share the number with the name of an allegedly professional football team whose fans suck, and are violent, whining babies. I’m kidding. You don’t suck.
When you’re an adult birthdays are no longer Christmas. You no longer expect the gifts you received as a child. The cool thing is whatever you’ve been wanting to buy but had no way of explaining it to your significant other in a way that didn’t make it sound like some needless expense, you can just get for yourself. A birthday is National Buy Crap for Yourself Day. Who is going to risk ruining your birthday scolding you for buying a new gold 4th generation Apple iPad Mini with a faster processor, better camera and Touch ID? (Sweetie, remember it’s my special day!)
Another thing about birthdays when you get to be my age is instead of looking forward to the years passing we want them to slow the hell down. People my age are starting to deal with health problems as well as seeing the older generation dying off. You become acutely aware that you’re on a conveyer belt towards death.
So I’m going to pour myself a little snifter of Jim Beam Honey. Okay, I’m probably going to keep pouring that thing until the bottle ends up in the trash. I want to raise my glass to birthdays. Happy No Longer Personal Christmas Buy Crap for Yourself Because You’re on the Road to Death Day!
Let’s do this!