March 11th, 2009


Bet You Didn't Know People Were Supposed To Pay Royalties Every Time They Sing "Happy Birthday"

For your average, middle-class American growing up, your Birthday is one of the five best days of the year, alongside Christmas, Halloween, The Last Day Of School, and a tie for any other day where you're excused from going to school. But, Birthday - and to a lesser extent Christmas - is where it's at. I say a lesser extent for Christmas because while you get presents for both (and arguably more presents for Christmas, as parents like to go hog-wild at the end of the year), your birthday is all about YOU.

See, not only do you get a nice haul of presents, but you get to have a special meal in your honor at any restaurant of your choosing, you get a party with your friends that generally involves either roller skating, Chuck E. Cheese, sleepovers, sports, movies, Pin The Tail On The Donkey, or some combination therein. With everyone's attention, admiration, adolation for managing to live one year longer, you feel like a king among peasants. Plus, there's always pizza and cake and ice cream and soda and candy. Nothing like it.

This feeling doesn't go away in your teenage years, though you eventually have to say goodbye to the skate rink and Mr. E. Cheese. The presents get more sophisticated, though, and you tend to leave the family out of your occasion the older you get.

Really, your average, middle-class American doesn't start tiring of their birthdays until they reach an age where it's determined that they are officially Old. For some, it's 30. For most, it's 40. Anything after that and you're in denial my friends, because after 40, you are Old.

Of course, I've bemoaned my birthdays in recent years - mostly during my college years - because it landed JUST before the Spring Break holiday. Since I never had any money, I never got to experience what a wild experience Spring Break could truly be. But, I had friends who had money, or at least enough common sense to get some money and make plans accordingly, so more often than not, I'd be stuck in the Pacific Northwest while friends would either be doing things involving many more bikinis, or they'd simply take the opportunity to go home and visit their families. You never resent the idea of family more than when you're struggling to cobble together a handful of people to do something fun on your birthday.

But, as college has ended, and as I'm back in the Pacific Northwest, I find my opinion of my birthday and where it falls on the calendar year to be improving. Due in no small part to last year's blowout of nice dinner, drinking, playing pool, and bowling in Ballard before the damned Sunset Bowl went under. Also, let's be frank here, my birthday is awesome because it lands either just before or directly on one of the first two days of the NCAA Tournament.

In a three-day span, you've got St. Patrick's Day, My Birthday, and College Basketball.

And this year, I've planned ahead. With my birthday falling next Wednesday, I'm leaving work 2 hours early to go home for our weekly Bowling League. Drinking will ensue. Then, I'm taking Thursday AND Friday off to do nothing but lounge around watching basketball, eat pizza, and if time permits, drink. Somewhere in this 4-day weekend I'll visit with family and discuss my illustrious birth, but front and center it's going to be all about me.

My brother and his girlfriend will be partying with me Wednesday night. My dad is taking Thursday off (he already has Fridays off thanks to his schedule). My mom is apparently planning something special which frightens me to no small end. But, that's what birthdays are supposed to be about. Hopefully this one will go down in the record books.