I’m sure it’s someone’s birthday today. There are over 7 billion people and there are only 366 possible days on which a person can be born. I include the infrequent Leap Day, 29 February, which occurs only every four years. People born on Leap Day like to kid about being only 25% their actual age. That’s fine. We’re all getting older, and avoiding any truth to that effect is no sin.
In my country people celebrate the anniversary of the day they were born in a variety of ways, depending on the person’s age and their personal views. Some religions do not celebrate birthdays. It seems the only mention of a birthday party in the Bible is that of King Herod’s at which he ordered the execution of John the Baptist. (Actually, there are other mentions of people celebrating birthdays in the Bible, but okay.) Most adults choose a simple dinner to mark the occasion – well, I’ll get into that in a little bit. Most of us when we were kids looked forward to birthdays. It meant presents and parties. We all wanted to grow up fast so we could stay up later and learn to drive and not have any grownup tell us what to do anymore. Now, I miss the days when I had zero responsibility and my biggest concerns were about too much homework and whether anyone would like me.
Birthdays are kind of a ridiculous idea. We celebrate an event none of us can actually remember, and we usually don’t include the only person who should be celebrated: Mom. Instead, people bring us presents or toast to our health. Meanwhile, my mom reminds me how arduous the ordeal of giving birth was. By the way, by brother was nearly born in the hospital parking lot. In Germany – and probably other countries – the person celebrating their birthday invites all their friends to dinner, and pays for the whole thing! This kind of makes sense, because if you maintain the same set of friends you could get a number of free meals out of it. I like it. I might make a suggestion if this is not already the case: when a new friends is added to the group, they buy everyone dinner. This might seem a little unfair, like a friend tax. Hey, get over it.
My birthday is not long after Christmas. This was a bummer when I was a kid, because most people were broke by the beginning of the year, and they all suffered from holiday fatigue. As I’ve gotten older the idea of having a party has lost its appeal. Even a simple dinner with friends doesn’t really interest me, especially being in the middle of winter. But I think many people just don’t care much for the fuss. They might be grumpy old farts. I guess it depends on the person.
So there is a day that is roughly 365 days since the last time we commemorated an event we will never remember. The earth has traveled on an elliptical path around the sun – which is actually moving, not fixed, so no one really knows where we are – one full orbit. Big fucking deal! What is truly amazing is that we are all here to begin with, and we’re experiencing one of the most incredible and exciting periods of human history. Birthday? Whatever.
All this should not be construed as me not planning something big for my wife’s birthday this year. If I forget that I am persona non grata. There will be cake and balloons and presents (jewelry). Also, I’ll most likely cook up something special. Friends will come visit from far away, and we’ll have a great time, I’m confident of that. Besides, any age ending in a zero really must be celebrated. That’s all I’m saying about it.
Happy birthday, many of you!