Nothing screams self-righteousness like banding together the masses in celebration of the day you blessed earth with your arrival.
You’ll never know how petty someone truly is until you watch them plan their own birthday proceedings.
Personally, I’m not big on birthdays—or celebrating my own birthday, at any rate. I’m just not the type of person who feels compelled to plan out lavish celebrations for myself, once a year, for my own amusement. It feels a little self-righteous to me. I’m always tickled when I see other people plan their own birthdays like the occasion’s some international holiday, on which the rest of the world should stop what they’re doing and raise a glass. That simply isn’t me.
It’s not like I did anything on my first birthday that warrants celebration. I mean, I popped out of a womb—I don’t remember navigating valiantly from my mother’s uterus to the great light at the end of the tunnel. My poor mother was the one who had to withstand the horrors of childbirth. If anyone should be extolled on the day of my birth, it should be her, not me. I’d throw her a rooftop party on my birthday sooner than I’d throw one for myself.
But, still, throughout the calendar year, people all over the country continue to put forth great effort when it comes to celebrating their own special days. And people show their true colors in the process. I’ll never forget watching one of my girlfriends, a few years back, literally hold a grudge against one of her friends for not posting a “birthday Pic Stitch” on her Instagram at midnight (as my girlfriend had done for her). Needless to say, we didn’t last much longer than that birthday. But, who knows, maybe she would’ve stuck around, had I posted one for her.
There’s just something about birthdays that makes certain people go a little overboard. People feel entitled to do lots of shit on their birthday, and in the process, they take things a little too far. Here’s what I mean.
They expect everything to go their way because it’s their birthday.
There’s always those people who expect all of the stars in the universe to align perfectly for 24 hours, because, well, it’s their birthday. I’m not sure how the other 364 days of the calendar usually fare for these people, but asking for a full day to breeze by without some type of fuckery is typically a tall order.
And when things don’t work out perfectly, like, let’s say, the Uber driver fails to provide an aux cord, or there’s a passing rain shower or something, these people sit around and pout. They whine about how their birthday is now—cue the dramatic drum roll—ruined.
Like, come on, people. We’re better than this. There are bigger fish to fry in the grand scheme of the world. Let’s not get caught up in the fact that they ran out of bellinis at your birthday brunch. The mimosas will look just as good under a nice subtle 34% Hefe filter on Instagram. Keep your head up—all is not lost.
They think the birthday stretches for an entire weekend, sometimes even a workweek.
This one I find especially ludicrous, for a few reasons. Firstly, how can your birthday weekend stretch out for more than a day? The duration is literally spelled out in the word. It’s self-explanatory. Birthday. Birth-day. The root word is “day.” How can one’s birthday consume four days of my week???
Oh, okay, Monday is the birthday. Tuesday is the birthday happy hour. Thursday is the birthday dinner. And then, for some reason—that I will never understand—both Friday and Saturday are devoted to the birthday weekend (which typically equates to watching sparklers sizzle from the necks of vodka bottles as you sit on a groady couch at some club). What happened to elementary school days when two to three different birthdays were celebrated in one afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese?
They invite you to birthday functions weeks after their date of birth.
There’s gotta be some type of statute of limitations when it comes to the “birthday party” window. Three days is a little stringent. Personally, I find that a week before or after the actual birthday provides a reasonable window. If you can’t pull all of the strings together within that two-week window, then, as Larry David says, “Wait till next year. You missed it.”
They invite you to birthday functions that cost exorbitant amounts of money.
Does the following scenario sound familiar?
SO-CALLED “FRIEND”: Hey, man. I know we haven’t spoken in months but I’d really love to see you at my birthday lunch.
ME: Yeah, man, sure. I wouldn’t miss it.
SO-CALLED “FRIEND”: Oh, yeah, by the way, it’s just $100 a head—we got a couple bottles of vodka.
Do you know how many times I’ve had that conversation with different friends of mine? Way too many. My favorite line is always the “it’s just $100 a head”—the casual dropping of some large sum of money that we must spend to join the festivities.
First of all, it’s not “just $100,” that’s like an entire week’s worth of pot and, like, 100 one-dollar slices. Secondly, you know damn well that those few bottles of vodka you ordered will not be enough ration for all of the party guests. If you really want me to come and spend $100, I’d rather you just be honest with me about it. Tell me I’m going to have to pay a large sum of money to celebrate your birthday with you. But, whatever you do, don’t wait to tell me that it’s going to burn a hole through my wallet after I already RSVP’d yes.
They throw shade at you if you miss their birthday.
Some of the pettiest people reveal themselves in the days following their birthdays. For instance, there’s always a few people who feel inclined to reach out to you, weeks—sometimes months—after their birthdays, solely to inform you that you missed it.
Like, how could you. Did you not have the day circled on your calendar? Were you not crossing off the days like a child in the middle of December who can’t wait for Christmas? In reality, you probably just didn’t log into Facebook that day and it was an innocent mistake—but try telling this to the person you just bumped into on your lunch break, who’s now foaming from the mouth because you didn’t write on their Facebook walls. Wahhh.
In short, don’t be petty about your own birthday.
Past the age of, say, 13–when we become teenagers and are primed for the onset of puberty—let’s not be so hypersensitive about our own birthdays. If someone doesn’t acknowledge your birthday, be the bigger person and NOT say something to them. If you’re really caught up about it: Don’t write on their Facebook wall when their birthday rolls around. That’ll show ‘em.
But we’re getting too old for this petty birthday shit. Between you and me, I’m not sure why people care to acknowledge their birthdays anymore, after a certain age. I’m going to be turning 25 next April—I wouldn’t mind if they just removed the 26th day of the month from the calendar and skipped it. Let me stay 24 for another year, I don’t need to Snapchat streamers sparking up at the club.
PS—On another note, we should do away with those sparkler things, while we’re at it, last time I was at a club for a birthday party I wore ripped jeans and some shrapnel from the fucking streamer landed on my naked thigh and left a pretty substantial burn. They’re fucking dangerous and nobody likes them.