Dear Ted and Jody:
I have noticed a plethora of birthdays of late. Already this year, I had one. Nancy had one. Both of you had one. Most of my children have already had one. All of my grandchildren and great grandchildren already had one; and, the year is just barely 2/3rds over. Every morning on the local ABC early news, they list peoples’ ages because today is their birthday. People I don’t even know and never heard of have them every day. I suppose giving away a free pizza to one lucky birthday boy or birthday girl compels people to send in their birthday notices so they can enter for the free pizza drawing (I was tempted to send in the President’s birthday; he would probably like a free pizza, if he won. But then I got to wondering what the television station does with this wealth of information so didn’t send in a card for the President’s birthday. He has done a good job of protecting us, why should I put him at risk for identify theft. The television stations data base can’t be all that well protected from hackers. Just imagine if some Russian hacker stole the President’s identify and used it to get into the White House and access the “football.” Why, that would be tantamount to a disaster). Even Facebook sends notices out the day of birthdays of Facebook friends. And, if you happen to google “whose birthday is today” you can access a page of photos with ages of famous people you have never heard of—I know I did it and I have no idea of who those famous people are except for Kevin Love (September 7, and the only reason I know who Kevin Love is I clicked on his portrait and indeed he is famous. How did I miss knowing of a guy that tall was a basketball player? I must be shrinking more than I thought, or I have to look up more. Just the other day I noticed I could look Nancy in the eyes and she sued to be 5 inches shorter than I. Where am I wasting away to—my weight hasn’t changed. What the hell is happening?).
Now some people do lament birthdays. I heard one woman tell another “They are cute at that age, but they grow up.” Another woman remarked, “Yes, if we could only keep them that age.” (I guess she liked changing diapers, different strokes). I heard a fellow in the Greeting Card aisle complaining that if he didn’t get a birthday card, present and take his girl to dinner he wouldn’t get any (get any what?). A woman responded, “Yes, I know if I don’t get that bitch a card she will never let me forget it.” Lots of warm sentiment expressed in the birthday section of the greeting card racks. Then there are the occasional older people, seniors, who express dismay that they have finally achieved their goals, retired and are living on easy street, but the aches and pains, medical bills and loss of hair are killing them.
Birthdays, apparently are an inescapable fact of life that in the end no one really likes. We present birthdays to our children in a false context. We give them ice-cream, cake, presents, and some lucky kids even get a piñata and tell them how great it is getting one year older. We do this to them for the first ten to twenty years of their lives until they believe it. I know a fellow who takes a week off work, goes out every evening and parties. He even throws a party for himself and at least a score of his closest personal friends (he is in his 60s). The cold truth, however, is getting older means one is aging, wearing out, getting used up, becoming decrepit, or as the Australians put it superannuated (one of the longer ways to say “old” without sounding crass, and making it seem important rather than impotent).
Parents are not alone in the propagation of the great birthday lie. No, they are spurred on by the Greeting Card/Health Care Industry Conspiracy. Not content to flood the mails during the Christmas Holidays, Mother’s Day and Pineapple Upside-down Cake Day, the greedy greeting card companies have convinced us that it is a social necessity to send cards on people’s birthdays. Since there millions of birthdays every day of the year (including those three previously mentioned holy of holy card sending days) this guarantees them a steady cash flow so their executives can live in immoral spender while the rest of us have to scrip and save to pay for all the greeting and birthday cards we are expected to send to maintain our position in society. Knowing full well that age is the biggest, reason people get maimed, become incapacitated or ill, and even die. Age is even worse than war, pestilence and binge drinking. The Health Care Industry has cottoned to the fact that age is their bread and butter. So, to encourage more people to need their services (become older), the health care industry subsidizes the Greeting Card Industry to keep the birthdays coming and keep us all getting older and more and more in need of health care.
So, I say, stop the madness now. Boycott birthdays. If we boycott birthdays, we will not get old so fast. You know they say you are only as old as you think you are. So, put that in to practice and stop thinking you are older. Join me in starting a national campaign to erase aging at its roots: STOP BIRTHDAYS NOW!
Warmest regards, Ed