Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Happy Birthday!

When it comes to birthdays, numbers without fives or zeros don’t count. Certainly before five years of age anything ending in "months" (18 months, 24 months, etc.) is completely irrelevant; and few children under the age of five get the significance of all the fuss. The only exceptions thereafter are 16, 21 and 99. Otherwise every other birthday is a retail failure  - about as interesting as saying you’re going to church before brunch. It's Nature’s way of affording relief from the highly questionable value of birthday cards and the calculated annoyance of having to sanction your disappointments or impending removal.  Besides if anyone really felt the need to buy you something from Tiffany & Co they could have done that any other day of the year.

Closing the door on the gusto that customarily encompasses birthdays is a trial and a bother. The older you get, the more enthused the collective audience appears to become - as though you've miraculously decided overnight to run for president on a platform of universal free booze!  The reality therefore leaves one feeling the object of a specious and quite misplaced enterprise. Unless you suffer a psychological perversion (or unless you're a grandparent in which case anything the grandchildren do or say is fine) you're likely able to bear the deprivation of mob rule on that particular day of the year. Nothing more unsettling than to find yourself privately querying for whom this extraordinary surplusage is a benefit?

Naturally there is some advantage to being remembered once in a while.  Only the most inhuman or purely fervid intellectual would pretend to dislike an occasional bit of urbanity. But the attendant kerfuffle is unnecessary. I am reminded for example of the sophistication I witnessed years ago when, on a Christmas morning, the head of the household had the dignity merely to wish others a Merry Christmas without all the further trivia of unwrapping gifts and disassembling preposterous stockings from the fireplace. I mean, there really is a point beyond which blaring noisemakers and tiny candles are fractious.

Accordingly permit me the sparsity of wishes for good health and many happy returns of the day!

Happy Birthday, Jennifer!

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