My birthday’s coming up this week and, for the first time in a decade, I’m in moderately neutral spirits, which is actually a substantial improvement.
I’ve considered this relative to my life/age milestones:

Age “Milestone”
0 Obviously this was the most important birthday, only I didn’t know it. I was cold and just wanted to sleep. Room service never came fast enough. And can can we talk about this bedding — it smells like someone’s peed here. That’s me? Uh, sorry.
1 – 2 The birthday isn’t that signficant, because I’m up and ambling around the room. The electrical outlets beckon. #2 apparently followed shortly after a stranger’s attempt to abduct me was thwarted by my ever-enthusiastic dog. (Dogs rule!)
3 I started to figure out that my birthday is a special day, perhaps a holiday of some sorts, and holidays means cake. Mmmmm… cake.
4 – 7 Having grasped fractions, I track half-birthdays for my brother and me in hopes of squeezing in twice as many “celebrations.”
8 – 11 I’m finally old enough to appreciate the beautiful theme-based cakes my dad made. As his job now sucks up his free time, he doesn’t make them.
12 Puberty is in full swing. I receive a razor for my birthday. For now, I enjoy shaving.
13 – 14 I’m too cool for birthdays. In school, we got the “The High School Kids are Going to Eat You Alive” lecture from Coach Foley.
15 I qualify for a learner’s permit. (For my international visitors: this is when one can drive a car in the presence of a supervising adult. It’s preceded by incessant pleading to take the “Driver’s Education” class and industriousness at working so one has enough money to buy a car.) I bought a dumpy car that I can rebuild in the backyard. Occasionally I’ll “drive” it between the trees.
16 Driver’s license. I’ll wreck my mom’s car later that year. (It was my fault, though the other drive had been drinking.)
17 I can get into NC-17 and R-rated movies, which makes the infinitely less interesting. For example, this was a stinker.
18 I’m able to enter into legally binding contracts, something I will rue in a few years when I try to cancel the Bally’s Fitness Center contract.
19 First full year of college with the expected on-campus, minor debauchery. The worst I did was participate in the “Dickel and Pride” party, consisting of George Dickel whisky shots washed down by Texas Pride beer. And loud music, of course. The beer has an unsettling aftertaste, reminiscent of a dirty sock, full of nickels, having been steeped in the lager. I’ve lost all interest in beer.
20 To save money, I move off-campus. My social circle shrinks as those on-campus can’t be bothered to visit, but my grades are much, much better. I learn to cook! I also have a steady girlfriend!
21 I can now legally purchase alcohol. Wooo-wooo! Not… the novelty wore off a long time ago. My girlfriend and I are serious enough to shack up together, essentially trail-blazing the concept for our respective, younger siblings.
22 Graduation, marriage and graduate school, all in a two week span. Director Mitch and St. Heave were in attendance.
24 I passed qualifying exams. The stresses of my spouse attending graduate school in Seattle (with me in Houston), a disinterested advisor, and thinking about what happens after I invest another six years (on average) to earn my Ph.D. prompt me to cut things short.
25 In celebration of having beaten the actuaries’ odds and making it to 25 years old, my auto insurance rates drop.
26+ I’ve generally been sullen the three weeks preceding and one week following my birthday.

I can’t explain my improved demeanor. Some theories: We’ve had exceptionally nice, sunny weather these last two weeks. (Even my tulips are fooled into popping out of the ground.) Business is going okay. (There’s a 50% chance that I’ll have some very good news on Tuesday.) I have a spot for Ride Around Washington. Odds are pretty good I won’t be completely bald when I hit forty (Even if I am, I don’t care … except for the sunburn, of course.)

6 thoughts on “Birthdays”

  1. Maybe THAT’S what my problem is! It rained all weekend!

    Happy Birthday to you.
    Happy Birthday to you.
    Happy Birthday dear Jim
    Happy Birthday to you.

    I did not sing this out loud. You can be thankful now, if you want. lol

  2. You are the worst tease on the planet. I love that your Dad made you fancy birthday cakes. That’s sure not very Father Knows Best of Him but I guess that could be how you came to learn early on that the kitchen is more than the place where, if no one is around to wait on you, you go to get the ice cubes for your drink [my Dad]. (I’m not nearly as bitter about it as that sounds… My Mom makes great birthday cakes and even though she hasn’t had a kitchen in a year, I haven’t been near her on my birthday in about 30 years, I still use the present tense… Hope springs eternal.)

  3. So, based solely on information in this post, you must be turning 37?

  4. Look at it this way, getting older is better than the alternative…wait for it to sink in…there you go [grin]

    Happy birthday! I hope the next year brings you much laughter, good food, and the weather you want!

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