Birth­day Wish

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page -

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!” rna­ga­sawa@mid­week.com

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