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Monday, June 30, 2014

I Hate Birthdays

First thing: I promise this is not a subtle, passive-aggressive way of saying that you should really say happy birthday to me. Second: I really am grateful to my parents and Hashem and everyone who's pushed me out of the way of a moving vehicle or woken me up out of an alcoholic stupor or otherwise contributed to the very unlikely occurrence of my still being alive.

So I guess, technically speaking, I do not hate birthdays. But all the same, every time someone wishes me a happy one, or goes out of their way to talk to me when they wouldn't otherwise talk to me, it feels like a knife applied to a particularly sensitive and recently-fed area of my stomach.

Most of all, it's that I haven't done anything to deserve it. Like, what is this day which demands more compliments and wishings of wellness than any other? I didn't do anything. Actually, if we're going to get technical, today's the day I probably least deserve it, since I put my mother into more pain than she's ever been and started the long downhill slide of dependency on other people for my basic human needs.

Like, can you please save it for when something good happens that I've actually earned? Because my pirate novel is still sitting in a corner unsold, and I'm still wearing crappy clothes that don't entirely fit, and I just demanded an entire dialogue rewrite, which is probably necessary, but is going to cause a bunch of people a bunch of nightmares, and I haven't brokered peace between Israel and Palestine, or even between my 6-year-old and 4-year-old.

But I know at heart that it isn't a bad thing that people are wishing me stuff. Even if it's something I would rather gets slipped under the table and forgotten, good vibes are -- should be -- always appreciated. And I don't mean to shoot you down, and I can just see my mom's face when she reads this, But don't you feel good when..., and at this point in my life (old) (sick) (and kind of sweaty) I can use all the points I can get. So if you really want to wish a happy birthday today, probably the place to go is here: My mom's facebook page. Feel free to post on her wall. She deserves it.

In Judaism, you don't really get presents for your birthday. Instead, you're supposed to give blessings to people. Maybe that's the way it's supposed to happen, both to relieve my birthday depression and to make me work a little harder: instead of getting stuff, maybe I should be giving. So, seriously, hit me up.

Oh, and here's a present: They Might Be Giants are giving away their first album free. I know. I know. Happy birthday to me.


in the vanguard said...

One additional note:
You argue, "Most of all, it's that I haven't done anything to deserve it. Like, what is this day which demands more compliments and wishings...".

Maybe, just maybe, you are "cruising" in life, rather than climbing, as a Jew is meant to be. May I suggest, therefore, that so much of what you read, inasmuch as there is not much therein to grow with, renders your merited quest "flat".

Take a cue (and I speak for myself too, of course) from Avraham Avinu, of whom it says his days all counted. Because he always strived to improve ....

A Jew is meant to cycle uphill. When the going gets too easy, the slope is flat, yielding a feeling of little accomplished.

G-d bless His people, and those who love them too.

matthue said...

I really appreciate you reading my writing, and I'm grateful for that, but I don't think you know what you're talking about.

I really like what you said about Avraham Avinu. I really hope I'm not cruising, though. Mitzvos are hard. Raising kids is hard. Life definitely doesn't feel like cruising. I can't see where you'd get that from my little post.

But I'll keep trying to climb. I don't know any other direction to head in.

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