5 Signs that it is My Birthday, and I am Not 10


Growing up, I pretty much knew what my birthday was going to be like.  There would be presents involved, I would have to try and make conversation with my grandparents, a few friends would come over and I’d be suspicious that it was more for the cake than for me, and my father would snap more pictures than US Magazine at a movie premiere.  My sister’s birthday followed a similar template and so did, I believe, most other kids’ too.  There is a very clear picture of what a child’s birthday is supposed to look like.  Parties, balloons, funny hats, perhaps a clown, lots of crying – these are the staples from the birthday parties of our youths.

But what does an adult’s birthday look like?  It’s a far more varied and foggy image.  This past Friday I had the misfortune of turning 34, and in doing so, I tried to concentrate on what a birthday for a unmarried man in his 30s (with no kids to ruin things) is like.  Here, presented below, is what I found:

1.  Somehow, when New Deal legislation revolutionized labor, getting your birthday off was left out: Nothing makes me whine like a baby like having to go to work on my birthday.  And the whining will intensify if my boss is demanding of me in even the slightest of ways.  I’ll say to myself, “Wow.  Just wow.  He gave me an extra task to complete ON MY BIRTHDAY.  What a jerk!”  I will also use my birthday as an excuse to slack off.  “I suppose I should get that report done…but eh…it’s my birthday.  I think I’ll treat myself by reading relationship blogs on WordPress instead.”  By the end of the day, the report isn’t done, I hate my boss, and I have a better idea of what not to do on a first date.

2.  For proof that today is special, check your Facebook timeline: “Wow!  68 friends posted on my timeline!  I’m loved!  Wait a second…I have 364 Facebook friends.  What happened to the other 296?  Why didn’t they wish me a happy birthday?  This means over 2/3 of my Facebook friends neglected to say anything at all!  What kind of ‘friends’ are these?  Whatever.  Better make a post and thank everyone.  And to think, people used to use cards!  Ha!  Suckers!”

They prefer to believe they are actually working in an off-Broadway production that just happens to also involve taking orders.

3.  We could sing you Happy Birthday, but we choose not to: I, like most people, have grown a little tired of the Happy Birthday song.  However, I would like to stick with it until there are some better alternatives.  Every year, despite my best intentions not to, I always inevitably end up at some chain restaurant, hearing a terrible re-imagining of Happy Birthday, altered in clever ways that befit TGI Friday’s or Applebee’s.  It’s a terrifying ordeal for me; I start feeling queasy when I see the entourage of waiters and waitresses heading my way.  The chain restaurant birthday song always seems to be sung with some sort of army cadence, with lots of clapping and ‘sound off/one two/sound off/three for’ type stuff, making me wonder if I’m waiting for fajitas or to be deployed to Iraq.  Even worse is when somebody forces me to listen to that awful “Birthday” song by the Beatles.  “They say it’s your birthday!”  Well, 68 of ‘em say that at least.

4.  There’s always that one friend who wants to paint the town puke green:  “Dude!  It’s your birthday.  Let’s do a shot!”  “No, that’s okay.  Thanks though.”  “Oh come on!  JAGERBOMB!!!”  “Really, I’ll pass.  I don’t want to get too banged up.”  “What?  Stop being a little bitch.  TEQUILA!”  “No?  Please?”  “What’s up with you, man?  Yo, why do you only have one beer?  Let me get you another.  You should be double fisting.  In fact, to hell with beer – I’ll get you two bottles of whisky and you can double fist those!  After shots!”  “Oh, fine.  You win.”  “Great!  I’ll go get a syringe so I can inject vodka straight into your liver!  Happy birthday, bro!”

5.  I am old and you need to see The Ghost and Mr. Chicken:  Every year I tell somebody the same stupid little fact.  I have the same birthday as Andy Griffith, and by some strange coincidence, my father shares his birthday with Don Knotts.  Ten years ago, when I hung out with people my own age, this little tidbit of knowledge would generally get a chuckle.  But now that my friends are mostly younger, the reaction is, “Who’s Andy Griffith?  And who’s Don Knotts?”  I use this to demonstrate my final point – when you’re an adult, part of your birthday is feeling old.  Now there’s a station called TV Land that airs older television programs.  During my youth, every station was TV Land.  Sigh.

Birthdays are important.  They’re not as fun as they used to be, but that’s okay.  Really, I’m only turning one year older.  It’s not a big difference.  The days of parties and clowns have passed, and now it’s work and Applebee’s.  I can accept that.  I never really looked good in those funny hats, anyways.



29 thoughts on “5 Signs that it is My Birthday, and I am Not 10

  1. Belated Happy Birthday Will! I hope you had a great one!

    For the past years, I was always working on my birthday! It was just this year that I had a different one. For one, that is because I am jobless right now! Another is that I was able to spend my birthday celebration with my family because I am home and not in another lonely country. 🙂 For the past two years, I had spent my birthday with two of my closest friends in Singapore.

    Lucky you! You had 68 friends who posted on your timeline while I had 20 who remembered me on my birthday and I have 491 friends compared to yours which is 296. Haha! Anyway, I don’t care for those others who did not care to greet me on my birthday. I don’t expect everyone to post on my timeline anyway since most of my facebook friends are just previous classmates in grade school, highschool and college and previous colleagues and pretty much people I have met somewhere. The important thing is, I have friends who are not measured by how long I have known and been with them or how many times they remember me on my birthday but I had them and I have them during my low points in life.

    I want to believe that last paragraph you wrote. I just had my birthday 3 weeks ago and you are right. We just got a year older this year and it is not a big difference. But sometimes when I look at the big picture, I was once a year old but now I am 32 years old. How much difference is that? LOL

    • Hi Jepiner!

      Yes, I suppose one benefit of being jobless is that you have your birthday off. Excellent perk!

      Hahaha – 491 friends is pretty impressive. Facebook is so silly. Especially living in another country – I keep getting friend requests from random Asian people; I look at the photo like “have I met this dude?” Nope. But for reason he’s sent friend requests to me and 50 of our now “mutual” friends. I wonder how many of my FB friends are random Korean people I have never and will never meet. haha

      Yes, true that! Big difference between one and 32. I would like to think that I’ve gotten wiser, but who knows? Maybe I had life all figured out when all I did was stick stuff in my mouth, fall asleep, and crawl around on the floor. That was the life of Riley, my friend!

      Great to hear from you, Jepiner! : )

      • I have also been confirming friend requests from people I do not remember. The person requesting and I have more than 50 mutual friends (could have been a classmate or batchmate in college) but I really do not remember those people requesting. Sometimes, I would just confirm the requests, then after some time, I would change my mind and delete them from my list. Is there a notification they receive whenever you unfriend someone from facebook? I still am not sure about this. But I have unfriended a guy (used to be a batchmate in college, I think), then received a new friend request from him a few days after. Then I confirmed and then deleted him again from my list. Then a few days after, came a request again. Oh my! How does he keep up with all his friend’s lists…I can say, I am personally acquainted with just a quarter of my friends in fb. hehe

  2. Impybat

    First of all, Happy Birthday to you! I turn 39 on Wednesday. Geminis unite! And, this is the story of my life. Birthdays just haven’t been right since I turned sixteen. My niece got a Camaro, and I got a bunch of gag gifts including a fart whistle and a New Kids On the Block tape 😉

    • LOL! Hey, a fart whistle is a fine and thoughtful gift. I still like the song “Step by Step,” which is great in a corny way, so if that’s on the New Kids tape, I say that’s a winner too. Happy birthday to you, Impybat! 39’s the new 30!

  3. It took me until about 35 to realize that if I want a great birthday I have to plan and pay for the whole thing myself. I’m turning 40 in December and I’m throwing a party at the local Lazer Tag place.

    • Hahaha – this is too true! But it feels a little, I don’t know, self-absorbed to make big birthday plans for yourself, doesn’t it? Not that I won’t do it, but I feel slightly awkward doing it myself. Generally I hope somebody else will take the reigns, and if not, then I will plan my own event and start inviting people to TGI Friday’s. haha.

      Lazer tag sounds awesome! Perfect way to celebrate turning 40 I think!

    • I agree with you Dusty! 🙂 I myself wanted a big party for myself. But I am not good in organizing parties, not to mention the cost of the party itself. 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m three days in and it isn’t too bad so far. Taking two days to work off a hangover, though, so obviously my bounce back time isn’t getting any better. Right on Spiral, 34 year olds unite!

  4. caitlambert

    I totally know who Andy Griffith & Don Knotts is! 😀 But I totally know how you feel. I haven’t entered the “full-time” work force yet, but I know how it is when no one knows what you’re talking about because they’re younger. Great post!

    • I’m proud of you for knowing those two icons. I suppose it goes both ways – people are blown away when I have no idea who Adele is (this happened recently) or I don’t know what a meme is. Whatever. I’m hip and current. I saw Project X. One of the best movies ever about monkeys.

      Anyways, good to hear from you! Keep up your daily posts, Cait!

      • caitlambert

        Don’t feel so bad about not knowing what a meme is. I have to explain it to a lot of friends my age (21) A LOT. lol Thanks & I’m doing my best. 🙂

      • I don’t know Andy Griffith and Don Knotts maybe because I lived in a different world. But I came across the word meme and I went to google what it is! Oh my!

        By the way, I loved that Project X movie about the chimpanzees. My favorite part is the one where they were about to fly in a plane. Whoa! That was a long time ago. Haha…

      • I ADORE the 80s “Project X” about the chimpanzees. When they fly the plane at the end, I weep like a little baby. I was really scared when I saw there was a new “Project X,” as I thought they’d remade the monkey one. Thankfully, the new Project X is apparently about a big house party or something. It can’t compare, I’m sure, to the Matthew Broderick masterpiece.

        So glad somebody understood that reference! Yay flying chimps!

    • Haha – Tom Cruise is no Don Knotts! I guess it would be like dropping a Snooki reference in 30 years to someone who’s 15. Might not get understood. Hopefully won’t be understood. Wow, if Snooki has 30 year staying power, what will this world be coming to….

      • I have never thought of that. Judith is right. I also wonder what my future grandchildren will say about Britney Spears, Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise…Haha…

  5. I can relate, and I’m older, so you can feel good about that. And I am quite impressed that you and your dad share birthdays with Mayberry folks. That’s cool. I also relate to that feeling about FB friends who DON’T say happy birthday, even though I don’t always do it myself, haha. Great blog, glad I stumbled across it!

    • Yeah, exactly! I’ll see it’s someone’s birthday on FB and think, “Eh, I don’t have to say anything.” So I suppose it’s understandable. I also feel “Happy Birthday” requires an exclamation point. Happy Birthday! Don’t leave “Happy Birthday.” Or just “Happy Birthday” with no punctuation. Why wouldn’t I get an exclamation point? ! Ok, I’ll stop now.

      Glad to be stumbled across! Nice to meet ya, Slow Mo!

  6. I know I did !

    Just the same, here’s one for you from me, sung a la Marilyn Monroe….

    Happy Birthday …. to you

    Happy Birthday…. to you

    Happy Birthday, dear Topicless,

    Happy Birthday …. to you.

      • Really? Wow ! I didn’t know that. FATE ! This is what it is ! Ha ha ha !

        Well, that was sung by MM at Pres. JFK’s bday… her singing voice was husky and sooooo flirty.

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