Here in ascending order of importance are the real, down-home, honest-to-god reasons why I like celebrating my birthday. Indeed, I like it so much that I do it every year and would indulge more frequently were it not for the intolerance and tightwadded-ness of friends and family.
Bear in mind the following confessions are neither politically correct, self-flagellating, self-aggrandizing, dishonest or outrageously absurd. They merely represent the evolving attitudes of one neither young nor extremely old, married white female living an upwardly mobile freelance-writing life in an elitist suburb smack in the middle of the parched Sonoran desert.
That the nearby wildlife can, at different times, include vicious javelinas, dangerous Diamondback rattlesnakes and killer honeybees only proves what we all intuitively know: that it takes real perseverance, courage and an unrelenting propensity for nervous worry to make it through another year and still be able to stand up straight and blow out all the candles on your birthday cake.
So this is why every year on a certain fall day, I get to keep my cake AND eat it.
10. I believe in the mantra “living well is the best revenge.” And if you can’t live well, just the fact that you’re alive and tweeting may be enough to wreck someone else’s day (I am thinking primarily of former school-age peers who mocked my childish ineptitude at shooting marbles, jumping double dutch and riding two wheelers).
9. Everyone needs at least one day a year to give themselves permission to fall apart. Why can’t that day be your birthday? A better question is, why shouldn’t it be your birthday? No one really expects you to care about global warming, ebola, or even unmade beds on your BD.
8. You get an opportunity to find out who really cares about you. Where are all those social media BD greetings, cybercards, phone calls and text messages? They better be coming out the kazoo, that’s what. By noting who among your most ardent admirers pays homage to your BD–in other words, by separating the wheat from the chaff (or the other way around)–you weed out friends from acquaintances and loved ones from hangers-on. And all this gets done, in my case, a good month before Black Friday or Cyber Monday, when the Christmas gift buy cycle really kicks off.
7. I share my day with former General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a man who played golf the weekend after singlehandedly ending WWII. So what if he’s dead! Someone somewhere remembers Good Old Ike.
6. It gets to be my fallback excuse for, well, everything. Didn’t get the car inspected or pay the bills? It’s my BD! Forgot to feed the cat? It’s my BD! Want to watch a whole season of Kidnapped on Netflix? It’s my BD!
5. It’s the one day a year I think about what it must have been like the actual day I was born. My mother told me next to nothing except that I was a “wanted” child born four days before her 6th wedding anniversary (“you were my gift”); my astrologer said that since the exact time of my birth coincides with the moon rising in Scorpio (or some such stuff), I’m already behind the eight ball cosmically speaking.
My older sister, congenitally afflicted with Only Child Syndrome, still doesn’t recognize me as an Official Family Member and continues to draw a mysterious blank whenever the topic of my birth (or existence, for that matter) comes up.The dearth of info from these sources has forced me to fabricate my own back history, which in my infinitesimal wisdom I have tweaked ever so positively. It allowed me to come up with the following story:
Born to a billionaire Mensa couple in La Jolla, Calif., Janice was kidnapped by a very bad human person with a disheveled appearance but good hair only one hour after her birth. She was flown in the belly of a DC-10 to Newark Airport where she was mistaken for a piece of dental equipment and shipped to her future father’s house where her incessant crying awoke the family to the great miracle of her birth. They proceeded to mail out announcements and changed her name from Her Royal Highness to Janice the Moody.
4. I can put away all my cares and trepidations over my non-existent claim to fame and stubby fingers and obsess about something else for a change: aging. Yes, it’s a day spent curled up with my wrinkles, age spots and thinning hair, wondering where the time has gone, why I ever bothered to feel guilty about not getting geometry and who really cares if JFK had 1,000 or one million mistresses.
3. Okay, I confess. I love my BD because my husband never seems to notice that it begins in the early morning hours when we both awaken to the humdrum chores of the day. He would like to ignore it completely until he finishes his toilette, eats a hearty breakfast and putts off to work in his Camry retrograded to resemble a souped up Challenger. In point of fact spouse would like to postpone the “Happy BD” ceremonials until a more convenient, less demanding time–say dinner at whatever restaurant suits his fancy. His preference for relegating the BD to a one-hour digestive event used to miff me, but now I use it to my advantage, cramming reportage of my shopping purchases into 60 minutes of mindless chomping. Last year I upgraded my iPhone, and this year, hmmm…… well, there’s those 13,457 points on my Capital banking card.
2. It’s the one day I know my narcissistic older sister is thinking about me. She can’t avoid it every time she writes a check, taps her smart phone calendar or logs onto her computer. I know she’s saying to herself, my sister has her BD today and while I couldn’t care less if she weighs less than me and has had better dental work, I’m always, always going to be older than her. This is one truism she can’t dismiss.
1. And to top off this double-dip cone with jimmies, nuts and marshmallows, I add the cherry: the peace of mind that comes with knowing I’ll never again have to struggle through another BD without a Saturday night date or with menstrual cramps rivaling the seismic rumbles that bifurcated San Francisco. I’ll never again have to wonder if I might have gotten into that Big Name College if I hadn’t just about vomited on my SAT score sheet. By the same token I’ll never have to ruminate over the what ifs that accompanied acne, terminally frizzy hair and a history of dating guys who died too young.
So there they are: at least 10 good reasons to appreciate the addition of yet one more candle on the blazing forest of flames that one day some years off (I hope) will be snuffed out by something other than my mighty breath. Happy BD, Janice!