by Mike McHugh
“So, what would you like to do for your birthday?” my wife asked me one day last week.
“Oh, is it getting to be that time again?” I answered.
If it weren’t for my wife, my birthday would likely come and go without me even realizing it. I know that that sounds shocking, especially with it falling on such a commemorative occasion as National Drive-Thru Day.
It’s just that in my family, we were never big on birthdays, at least as regards the adults. We figured that once you’ve reached legal age, what’s there to celebrate? “Wow! Only 27 more years until I can get a 10% discount at Piccadilly Cafeteria!” I don’t think so. I mean, imagine the disappointment you’d feel if they bulldoze the place when you’ve still got five years to go.
My wife’s family, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Birthdays are a huge deal for them. For that reason, her birthday is emblazed in my memory. It’s a necessity if I hope to see my own the following year. I’m more likely to forget Christmas, or Super Bowl Sunday, even.
Both our birthdays blow by each year without my family giving it a mere thought. It’s a sore point when hers comes around, and there’s no delivery van dumping a mountain of greeting cards in the driveway. I try to explain to her the reason for their seeming indifference, and that it’s not personal. Heck, given the size of my family, if we all sent each other birthday cards, Hallmark would have more annual sales revenue than General Motors.
Judging from my circle of friends, I’d say that my clan is in the minority as far as our antipathy towards birthdays. Whenever somebody’s birthday rolls around, the tendency is to go out and celebrate it. Usually it’s dinner at a restaurant, and not the Piccadilly, even though most of us now qualify for the discount. No, it’s got to be a nice restaurant—one where a waiter is paid to carry the trays of food and then spill them on the customers rather than us having to do it ourselves.
The birthday dinners are now so frequent that we’ve got to either stop making friends or move to someplace like Mars, where the year has more days.
So when my wife asked me this year what to do, I suggested we forego any festivities and let our friends enjoy a dinner at home for once, that is, if they can remember where the kitchen is. And besides, I’ve already been gifted enough “Over The Hill” tee shirts to go to Florida and open a souvenir shop.
“Okay, so what, then?” she asked. “We’ve got to do something to celebrate your birthday.”
“How about cake and ice cream?” I suggested. “I haven’t done that in about 50 years.”
“Don’t be silly. It’ll elevate your blood sugar. Think of something more appropriate for your age.”
“Okay, then, beer and Buffalo wings.”
“That’s even worse.”
“So what’s left, then, go to bingo night at the church?”
“That’s safer, at least,” she answered, “as long as you lay off the concessions.”
© 2014 by Mike McHugh