“They Say It’s Your Birthday . . .”

Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying,  “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Ordinarily, I don’t take issue with any of the Founding Fathers but Ben totally screwed this one up. Because at least one other thing is certain–you’re going to have another birthday. And you’ll have one every year for as long as you live.

Which is precisely what happened to me a few weeks ago. Believe me, I didn’t ask for it . . . it just showed up— more or less uninvited.  But once it arrived I sort of embraced it.  Not with a full body hug; more like with kisses on both cheeks a la the French.Scan-100[1]

It was not a birthday number with a “5” or a “0” at its end; which led to most everyone saying that it was not a significant one, a “nondescript” birthday.  Which is so untrue.  At this point of my life, they’re all descript.  Each and every one of them.

Surprisingly, I received a lot of good wishes from a number of my Facebook friends.  No presents, just some words, usually just two. Which more or less cemented the feelings I have about the depth of friendships on FB.  So when I get around to it, I think I’ll send Mr. Zuckerberg a suggestion (I’m sure he can’t wait) that the site be modified so that “friends” are divided  into categories or levels.  For starters, I’d suggest that Level I Friends be limited to those who send a card and a gift (of any sort) on one’s birthday; Level II could be for those who send only a card and everyone else would fall into a third category. (For those of you who’d like to get into that first level, I’ll make it easy. I’m not interested in “things”–but a donation to a non-profit in lieu of a gift to me would be just fine.  The non-profit I have in mind is, The Neil Stein IRA Trust, LLC.  Like I said, easy.)

It’s not as if my Day went unnoticed.  A few different friends took me out for drinks and/or dinner (Level IA)  But there was no real concentrated effort to celebrate as their had been last year.  True enough, that effort had been led by me . . . but at least I did get dozens of people to show up at my house for free drinks and food.

My brother, Evets,, sent me a birthday card that was supposed to be funny—“Happy 100th Birthday”. It’s weeks later and I’m still not laughing. But it did spur my investigative instincts.  I went to my local card store and was pretty surprised to find that there’s actually an entirely separate category for centurions. Imagine, you can go to your local store and pick and choose from an assortment of birthday cards to get for that 100-year-old in your life! But one thing I noticed about all of those cards: the sentiments in each of them were focussed on the life you’ve lived . . . no mention of anything much going forward.  Kind of like rubbing salt in a wound to my way of thinking.

Now all the riotous celebrating is over and sadly, I’m facing almost an entire year until my next birthday. And even though, in a moment of pique, I’ve said to some friends that I’m no longer going to celebrate my birthday, the truth is that I want to celebrate it even more frequently.  So, another suggestion I intend to make to Mr. Zuckerberg is that he add half-birthdays to the Facebook site. But just in case he’s not as forward thinking as I am, please . . .mark 9/9 on your calendar.

 

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