On my mind this week is birthday bashes. By the way, if it’s your birthday soon or if you’re planning a birthday thing for someone soon, don’t read this. At any rate, I was talking with someone recently about this whole birthday bonanza phenomenon. It’s crazy what’s happening now. To wit – people have been getting bicycles, guitars, and plane tickets and stuff like that for their birthdays. Let’s just think about that for second. Am I the only one who thinks that this is all insane?

Way back frosh year, people wanted to get me a guitar. They should have. No, I’m just kidding about that. At any rate, some friends of mine, and I do consider them friends, and I think what they did was the best thing they could have done, both for myself and everyone involved in general. At any rate, these friends of mine stopped the whole thing, and if I’m not mistaken, a big justification was that it would be a bad precedent. That is, if you start the big present trend now, you have to do it for everyone, or someone will end up feeling hurt when it doesn’t happen for them.

That’s totally right. I can’t believe what’s going on now, but we’ve gone down the path of no return, because the gift thing is already out there, you know? And someone is bound to feel hurt about it all. At any rate, it’s the opinion of this friend that the trend started frosh year with Charlie Chang’s Rollerblades. Sorry Chuckles; I love you and all; heck I even contributed, but it was a bad idea, I think. Besides, you never even blade anymore! Anyway, it was a bad idea.

Anyway, this whole gift thing has just got to stop.

Actually, the newest trend now is memory books or stuff like that. You give a bunch of people a page to decorate with memories etc. as they see fit and then you compile it at the end. Which is a cool idea, but in my opinion, it’s getting way overdone. I mean, you know it’s getting overdone when a typical conversation goes like, “Here.” “What’s this?” “A page for _____’s birthday thing.” “(Groan) Again?” “Yeah. Sorry.”

I mean, isn’t this counterintuitive? Is that really a gift? Some kind of forced, reluctant product just so we can bulk something up? What kind of gift is it to force people who I guess don’t want to do it to make some kind of tribute page? I remember looking at a friend’s book, and this person had pages from the randomest of people. I mean, it was touching at all, but it kind of reeked of fakeness. It’s kind of a facade. The people who really want to do it make everyone else do it. And to me, it’s not much of a gift if the people who do it are so reluctant about it and see it as a chore, not a joy, you know?

And this is worse – making this book isn’t as expensive as say a bike or a plane ticket, so it’s getting to be even more standard as a gift. So now every birthday, everyone’s gonna be getting these, and all their friends are gonna be asking everyone they know to make a page. I mean, I’ve been asked to do it several times just this quarter. And when it’s too widespread and everyone always has to do it, it’s a burden, not a blessing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that gifts, these memory book type things are wrong in any way. I mean, they’re great if they’re sincere, you know? Like I should be making one right now for a couple people, and I probably will. Because I want to. The problem is scope. I think people just have no conception of scope. My bold claim is that we gotta start limiting the scope of birthday things a whole lot. Like, the reason the bike thing, the guitar thing is wrong to me is that to finance it, you gotta involve a whole lotta people. And once you do that, you involve all of them in the same thing. I mean, if someone contributed to everyone else’s birthday thing, they gotta get one themselves, right? It’s only fair. (Fairness. What an imaginary concept that is.) Same thing with the memory book thing. Because people want it to be big, everyone’s being asked to do it, so now everyone has got to receive one. Even the big surprise birthday thing is dangerous, I think. For the same reason. Once you involve a group of people, you have to do it for all of them. Like last year, it got to the point I was going to one a week. That’s just too much, and it’s not special anymore.

So my bold claim is this. We just gotta start limiting the scope of these things. In fact, I think there’s just something wrong with the way this birthday thing is working out in general. It’s like we set aside a day to celebrate ourselves – we know we’re gonna get a bunch of attention and we expect and receive it. How do you receive stuff like that humbly? It’s hard. I’m gonna stop the trend. Why should I celebrate myself on my birthday? I’d rather reflect on the gift of life God has given me and celebrate the people He’s put in my life. So next year (if you’re reading this, you’re probably a friend, right?), I’m gonna take all of y’all out. We’ll have dinner, just hang out, whatever, have fun. Bring no money and no gifts, cuz it’s on me. Wouldn’t that be great?

Also on my mind is this: Why is it that when you kind of need to fart when you go to the bathroom to urinate, when you start urinating, it’s nearly impossible to keep the fart in? I hate that. I go, and there’s someone there, and I start, and then I’m dying cuz I don’t want to fart in front of this guy I don’t know lest he think me uncouth, but once the river starts flowing there’s nothing I can do. If you have insight into this, please let me know.

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