It all started in kindergarten. I was at a small private school where the tradition was that on your birthday you would have to receive honorary “birthday spankings” from the principal (this was back before the term “child abuse” had been invented). Well my birthday rolled around and sure as electricity and water don’t mix, the principal came through the classroom door with her small wooden paddle looking for me. I was horrified. I had done nothing wrong! What was this injustice? It was now that I coined the phrase “child abuse.” Before she could lay a hand on me, I dove beneath my chair and refused to come out. To my surprise, another student volunteered to stand in my place (hey, I could use this as an Easter illustration!). What was he thinking? Had he lost his marbles? If I found them,could I keep them?
[Now understand, this was before I understood “humor.” In my small little mind,I couldn’t make sense of why anyone would want to be put under a tool of corporate punishment for fun.]
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Any of you who have known me for a very long time know that one thing I am very tight-lipped about is my birthday. I really hate it when people find out it’s my birthday. You might think this foolish, but this has come in handy in recent years when i joined facebook. You see, I forbade dear facebook from posting my birthdate because now half of the people I’m friends with on facebook (and most of whom I don’t really talk to) can’t post comments on my wall to the effect of “HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROZ!” It’s very comforting to hop on facebook during my birthday and not have 100 notifications to sort through. But I digress..
Like I said, i’m very tight-lipped about my birthday. As much as I’ve tried to explain it in the past, many of you just haven’t “got” it. Well let me try and settle the matter. While I can’t say that traumatizing kindergarten experience is the complete reason I loathe my birthday, it certainly had an effect. It showed me something, namely that birthdays attract attention…they put you in the spotlight. And I absolutely hate that. Most of the time I’d rather not attract attention to myself. I’d rather follow than lead, sit in the quiet than in the din. After a few years in elementary, I found I didn’t care for my birthday.
Oh sure, i loved the presents and cake from my family, but I never had a big birthday bash at Chuck-E-Cheese or anywhere for that matter. My birthdays have always been rather quiet. Not much fanfare, just me and the fam. Now before most of you (that is, all 5 of you) nod off, I still have more to say…cause the attention issue is only a miniscule part of the grand scheme now.
As I grew older, I began to realize what birthdays could be used for. I can get what I want, justify laziness, justify twisting your arm so you spend your time on me. At the root of it all, birthdays are rather…selfish. It focuses on me. Hey,look at me,it’s my birthday! As a result of this, they are also very delicate. If something goes wrong on the big day, well, “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.” And whenever anyone starts crying at a party..that’s just awkward.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll gladly celebrate other people’s birthdays, and even go the extra mile for you to do it. But when it’s my turn to blow out the candles, i’d rather the majority of the world pass me by. I know,that’s weird, but that’s just the way I am. “I must decrease, but He must increase.” I’ll do that anyway I can. So don’t let me rain on your parade or make you feel guilty that you celebrate your birthday. You’re fine. Go ahead. I’ll be there with ya. This is my personal conviction, and I’m not forcing that on anyone else…
…and I also enjoy trying to sneak by on my birthday without anyone knowing. It’s a fun game..you should try it sometime.