Two questions for you:
What did you do on your birthday? I don’t mean your most recent anniversary of the day you were born. I mean the actual day you were born.
And what did your mom do on your birthday?
Here’s what I bet you did: you cried a bunch, latched onto a nipple and drank some milk, and looked like a little peach potato with fuzzy hair. That’s about the extent of what you did. These are the things most babies do on their first day of existence.
Here’s what your mom did: she gave birth to you, which is supposedly one of the most painful experiences in the world. She did this after carrying you around in her body for about nine months, which mutilated her physical form in some ways, like the huge baby bump and the swollen feet, etc.
So why is it that every year, we get super psyched about our birthdays? There is nothing unique about it. Every single person who has ever existed in the world has a birthday. It’s literally one of the most unfailingly common things on Earth.
Of course, giving birth to a child is common as well, but it’s certainly a hardship that deserves recognition. Moms are the ones who deserve the love on your birthday. (And to a lesser extent, your dad, because he was kind of an integral part of your, you know, coming into existence.)
Look: we’re happy you’re here (mostly), but what makes you think you deserve an entire day of recognition for simply being alive? And furthermore, why do you get gifts? Isn’t the gift of life enough?
A while back, a friend of mine pinged me on Gchat to alert me that it was May, and as such, was “Birthday Month.” Her birthday wasn’t until the 22nd, but she chose to get so amped about her special day that she started making plans and talking about it more than three weeks before the occurrence.
She detailed her plans for me, which included going to a goddamn dance club in goddamn midtown and getting a table and paying out the ass for drinks all goddamn night. The party wasn’t even gathering until 11pm, which doesn’t mesh well at all with my weekend routine of starting to drink around 7pm and sometimes calling it a night to go home and eat food before Saturday Night Live comes on at 11:30pm.
But I guess I kind of have to go, because she said if I missed her birthday this year we would no longer be friends. Which is absurd! What a bratty thing to say! (She often says her birthday is the time of year when she permits herself to be a brat. I don’t understand this at all.)
“Why is your birthday such a significant event?” I typed.
“Because it’s the day I was born!”
“Right, but, you know, that’s not really an achievement that you deserve to be lauded for. Everyone in the world has a day that they were born.”
“You just don’t get it.”
And she’s right: I don’t get it and I never will. The way birthdays are celebrated will obviously never change. Some people will always be huge divas about that day.
But I’m asking you to not be one of those people.
Just calm down about your birthday.
It happens every single year.