Birthday Ideas

My socks seem to be causing a dent in my ankle area. Dear reader, you may ask what kind of dent in the leg could a sock be creating? I will tell you that these are substantial dents. These socks were birthday gifts. One might think that since the socks were a pair, I would refer to them as one birthday gift. But, there were two of them and I’m an optimist.

That’s an example of one of my birthday ideas. I literally have dozens of birthday ideas. None of them pertain to unique themes or how to make extravagant cakes out of plywood, frosting and YouTube instructional videos. Most of my ideas about the birthday tend to be less celebratory and more Grinch like. You see, multi-birthdayed reader, I am not a bad person and at the end of the day I participate in the traditions just like everyone else. In fact, one might say that my heart is growing.

First, let’s recognize the fact that there are different levels of Birthday appreciation. There are no wrong answers here. For instance, my beautiful and most courteous wife- I’ll refer to her as Cynthia – had a different birthday upbringing than me. Our families were/are very similar in most birthday ways.

Both mothers baked birthday cakes, homes were decorated, relatives and friends invited, and presents received. If my family was on a scale of 1-10, it would have been 8 or 9 – maybe only being held back by the three other siblings less than 10 enthusiasm for the birthday one. Cynthia’s family goes to 11. They have a laser beam of sheer excitement for the birthday and its importance. They ride to 11 because of the royal like idea (that others share) that the birthday person is entitled the entire day. I’m learning to join in on this idea, but it’s very tiring to remember that the birthday person reigns supreme from dawn past dusk. Then, pertaining to the children, they have Duke status on a weekend day for a birthday party with friends.

I don’t want to be one of those annoying people who say, “When I was a kid…”, but when I was a kid the birthday party was on the day of your birthday. A school day meant the party was after school. You were king for a time that usually ran from a time when you first saw the completed birthday cake up until you opened the last present – two to three hours tops. Then you’d be tossed back into the clawing, scratching, and growling mass of children and wait another 365 days for cake and candles with your name.

Here’s what we’ve learned thus far. I’m one of those annoying people. I apologize for that, patient reader. I think it might be because my socks are too tight. Let’s just agree that there have been, and always will be, different degrees of birthday celebration.

Personally, I’m really truly ok with my birthday not being acknowledged. As a kid this would have been an unthinkable option. But now I can say this. Some think that this is a sad thing. No doubt some of you kind readers will be feeling a twinge of pity deep down in your non reading parts.

Let me try to reassure you. The take it or leave it attitude towards my birthday has no malice hidden in it. In fact, I really don’t mind getting older. I don’t mind eating cake – although I should. I’m not even opposed to getting attention for it being the day my mother gave birth to me.  Maybe my mom should get 4 birthday parties for the four births she went through. Oh, wait. She gets Mother’s Day and Mimosas and brunch. So, she’s good.

The presents are the things I think I don’t really want. Honestly, I don’t know for sure that I don’t want them. I can tell you that it makes me nervous for the people who have to think about getting  me something. I really don’t want people to spend much time trying to figure out what I might need. I don’t think I need much and the things that I do want don’t fall into the price range of a birthday gift. It’s always nice to be thought of, but just not too much. This brings me back to my predicament. What should my birthday theme be going forward? I think it should always be the same. That will make it easy on everyone.

When I awake in the morning I will require being wished happy birthday by each family member. Before the day begins I will get my birthday gift from each child. That gift will be one dollar from each child out of their own money. My wife will need to give me twenty dollars. All in cash. To simulate the usage of wrapping paper, we will unroll approximately 8 feet of birthday wrapping paper and crumple it up and throw it in the garbage. We will go about our day. The birthday dinner will be hamburgers and each person will get a chocolate cupcake. Of course, I will blow out a candle. I’m not a curmudgeon. I almost forgot, I will need to take my birthday off Facebook. I tend to want to thank each person individually for their deeply sincere and well thought messages. This takes up time and only elicits “Likes” in return.

This could be the theme for my birthdays for years to come. Everyone knows exactly what to do (and not to do) and it frees up more time for everyone to think about other things. Maybe this way I can avoid getting socks that contain elastic cobras that strangle and dent my ankles. Or maybe I’ve taken this whole thing a bit too far.


Sadly Yours,


Jason Spafford


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