Sunday, June 7, 2009

Gemini Geriatric: My Annual Annoyance

Why must we celebrate birthdays? Who ever thought up this aggravating tradition should be burned at the stake on a stack of cheap grocery store cake candles. This is the one human custom that causes me almost as much angst and anxiety as do-it-yourself dental procedures. Why do we have to celebrate the fact that that we have grown more gray hair, found more wrinkles, and experienced a decline in physical condition over this time last year? It’s ridiculous. Those who celebrate it with grace dignity are lying to themselves. Those who make fun of the effects of growing older are just plain tacky.

Birthdays, like Christmas, are for children. Children get excited when they are surrounded by crowds of friends and family pretending they are the most important thing in the universe for a day. I’m old enough to know that I’m not, so why make a big fuss? After you’re old enough to have voted in several elections even parents have a hard time remembering the day you were born. So, why not just forget about it, okay? If I can’t remember having more than twenty or thirty birthdays, then why not just say that’s how old I am, twenty or thirty. We’re allowed to estimate our taxes to the nearest dollar amount. So, why don’t we estimate our age to the nearest decade? Rounding down, of course.

Who is the event for, anyway? Is it for the one with the birthday or for the friends and family? If the celebration is for me then I shouldn’t be bothered with the planning or execution of the event at all. If it’s my event then I shouldn’t have to work for it, right? If it’s for the family, then just tell me. I’ll give you a wad of cash and a cardboard effigy of myself and all can pretend I’m with them. My favorite way to celebrate the thing is to not be bothered or inconvenienced by all that.

I get so annoyed by birthdays, all that annual repetition of the thing. It becomes so monotonous after several years. I’m annoyed by the fact that I’m expected to be happy about my birthday so that the celebrants can feel good about what they’re doing for me. I’m annoyed by experiencing guilt and feeling under obligation to reciprocate those who feel I deserve a gift for having lived another year. And most of all, I’m annoyed at being reminded that I’m one year closer to dementia, arthritis, bifocals, and questionable bladder control.

Yes, all may grimace at my whining. I’m being a grouch about the whole thing. This attitude about it demonstrates that I have already drifted from the category of “eccentric old uncle” to “cranky old coot.” Geezers like me don’t deserve birthdays, so let’s just skip it this year, shall we?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Birthdays commemorate a time of celebration.A time in which a mother held in her arms a beautiful baby boy. No matter the age, the timelessness of that event should leave an individual with a sense of complete happiness.

It is a shame that we taint that blessed event with anxiety and "crotchety-ness." For me the older I get, the more I am thankful to experience the love I have for individuals. With this posting I am saddened that you are allowing others to dampen your day.

Life is stressful enough. Lighten up! Birthdays are our special day to surround ourselves with much joy and happiness. Go out and celebrate it as if it is the last day on this earth.