to celebrate goes down to nearly nothing. For me, a birthday is just another day, and while I appreciate every day of breath I receive, I’d be happy to just let it slip by.
I feel bad because my family really wants to make a big deal of it, but when they ask me what I want for my birthday, my old man answer is, “Don’t do or buy me anything. I’m perfectly happy just being with you guys.”
Of course that won’t do, but they’ll try their best to honor my wishes, which, for them, means doing the opposite of what I ask. At least I can count on the rest of the world to let my birthday go by without a peep.
Uh, no, I can’t. That’s because in the digital world, and especially with social media, everyone on the planet knows it’s your birthday. My birthday started with a billion text messages from friends and relatives who live in different time zones.
So text birthday wishes start populating my phone and notifying me at around 3 a.m. In the newspaper business, I’m on call 24/7, so there’s no shutting down my phone at night. Of course, they don’t know that.
About a week out, I tried to suppress my birthday on “friends,” and once they know it’s your birthday, you’re locked in, at a minimum, to “liking” their well-intentioned posts.
And I feel guilty if I don’t respond to each personally. It’s a psychological trap which I succumb to every year. This year, even though I hid my birthday, it only takes one “friend” who knows it’s your birthday to post it and then like a zombie virus it spreads exponentially to the rest of the digital world.
In the meantime, I’m getting email birthday wishes from my eye doctor, banks, insurance companies, Realtors and digital “robo” voice messages left on our answering machine from my hospital pharmacy wishing me a happy birthday.
When I picked up my drive-thru coffee at Starbucks, they knew it was my birthday because I pay with an app. Seemed like everywhere I went, people were wishing me happy birthday because they saw it on Facebook or someone’s post on Instagram.
I had to go to a meeting but, just before that, stopped in a restroom. When I emerged, a young man going in stopped me. Before he could say anything, I said, “I know, it’s my birthday, thanks!” firstname.lastname@example.org