Birthdays traditionally serve a twofold purpose. One is to remind us that death is getting closer, all the time. The other is to remind us how little we’ve accomplished, especially considering how soon we’ll die. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Birthdays can be so much more. They can be an affirmation of the impending deaths of our enemies. They can be a reminder that this meaningless suffering will soon be over. Also, there’s cake.
Make It Fun
Something we like to do to celebrate the anniversary of our birth is a little game we call Reminders. It goes like this. Over the course of the year, every time someone pisses you off, write down their name and whatever you’d like to say or do to them as revenge. Put all of these notes into a jar, or, if you need more room, you can rent a warehouse. On your birthday, empty out the jar/warehouse. Spread all the notes out on a bed or plush carpet floor. Take off all your clothes. Now, roll in the little strips of revenge. Roll in them, and imagine all the ways you will destroy these fools. It’s best to do this in private. DO NOT WEBCAM.
Executive Level: An even better way to “Make It Fun” is to not just think about the ways you’d like to get revenge, but to follow through. Seek out those who’ve thwarted you and make them pay. This adds a special meaning to the revenge notes. Now, as you roll in them naked, you can reminisce on all the fun times you’ve had meting out vengeance and laugh and laugh.
Ways To Get Revenge
But who has time to craft elaborate revenge fantasies against every single person who has wronged them? We do! But sometimes, it can get to be a bit much, what with all the TV we watch and the huddling in despair. We just need to cover more ground! Here are some quick and dirty ways to get revenge against large groups of people:
- Work at the DMV.
- Vote Republican.
- Drive slowly.
- Be a cable provider.
Remember, the important thing is to know that they’ve suffered, even if it isn’t your ideal mode of punishment and also includes a multitude of strangers suffering. This could, of course, lead to other people enacting revenge against you, but you’re kind of a jerk and deserve it, so.
Let’s talk about cake. Everybody likes cake. If you don’t like cake, then pass it on over here. Cake is God’s way of reminding us that the same things that bring us joy are also contributing to our possible early death. Tasty, tasty death. This does make cake the ideal food for birthdays, signifying a small spark of pleasure followed by endless darkness. There’s been a disturbing trend of late of people messing with cake, adding weird stuff to it, trying to make it healthier, even making salad look like cake. It’s a sign of hubris and general bad manners to mess with perfection. Here’s the thing about that: STOP IT. Thanks for reading.
But Where Did Birthdays Come From?
Millions of years ago, people didn’t have Facebook to tell them when their birthdays were. In fact, they didn’t even have computers to tell them what day it was. They had to rely on calendars and asking other people. Or a ring of giant stones and human sacrifice. The problem with this is that English hadn’t been invented back then, so if you asked somebody what the date was, you might not understand what they said.
You: What day is today?
The problem with calendars, of course, is that they’re always out of date because they’ve been hanging up for like three years and you forgot. All of this led to people not knowing what day it was until Tuesdays, when tacos were served. Which was a pleasant surprise, but still inconvenient. And nobody could remember when their birthdays were because they had only just been born and weren’t paying attention. Then, a woman by the name of Kim the CandleMaker had a brilliant idea. She was struggling to get fabulously rich. So far, she was only modestly rich. The problem was overhead. Wax was expensive, or at least not free, and people only wanted big candles that would burn a long time because they were jerks and scared of the dark. Kim knew that, if she could convince people to buy small candles, she could get obscenely rich and buy an island. So, she started experimenting. Most of the candles she sold were used for reading. People would burn them at night to see. But what if they stuck the candles onto a squirrel? That would be really dangerous. The squirrel would run around and spill wax everywhere. So, people would want to blow the candles out. They also would need candles small enough to fit onto the squirrel. That meant less overhead because less wax and squirrels were pretty much free — they were running around all over already. She experimented with this unsuccessfully for several years until she hit her head on a low-flying asteroid one day and had an epiphany. Do you know what people like even more than squirrels? Cake! Also, if you stuck candles in cake, they’d have to blow them out before they got wax on the icing. Armed with this knowledge, Kim went to a local baker, who immediately had Kim locked up in a mental institution as a hysterical woman guilty of reading books and then stole her idea*. She made one refinement: she convinced people to put the number of candles on their cake that corresponded to their age, so she could sell more candles and bigger cakes. Since most people were poor — this was under Reagan, who gutted the middle class — they could only afford cake once a year. So, they started having cake on their birthdays.
It was a long, drawn-out process, but the birthday traditions we recognize today eventually came to exist.
*On a side note, Kim the CandleMaker later disappeared from the mental institution. No one knows what happened, but her room was found littered with acorns and squirrel fur. The baker — whose name was Kim the Baker — was just fucking fine, though. As she grew wealthier and wealthier, she started supporting research into getting people to live longer. Vaccinations, organ transplants, artificial organs and other life-extending stuff is all the result of Kim the Baker’s machinations. One day, immortality pills will allow us to live forever and Kim the Baker will own everything in the world, which she will bestride like a colossus powdered in flour. Ain’t that just the way it goes.
There are two kinds of birthdays, as different as day and night, each with its own set of duties and expectations. The first kind is My Birthday. The other kind is Everyone Else’s Birthday. Now, Everyone Else’s Birthday is fine. It’s kind of an inconvenience, to be honest. I mean, we had planned some serious couch time but now we have to go to this party, which we’re not going to have fun at. It’s not an attitude thing, we’re just saying. It won’t be fun. It will be awkward and forced, everyone sitting around acting like they’re having a good time. And we’re supposed to bring a gift? What, is Everyone Else a child? Should be get them a pony? There probably won’t even be cake. Not good cake. And, you know, blowing out candles means they spit all over the cake, which is gross.
My Birthday is a different matter, entirely. It’s a wonderful gathering of like-minded souls celebrating a joyous occasion. There will be pleasant conversation, delicious food, enjoyable music, and entertaining diversions. My Birthday is a time of confirming relationships and generally reveling in the love and joy that has been brought to the lives of everyone by the simple reality of My Birth. Also, there’s cake, which is made magical when I make my wish and blow out the candles!
No matter how drunk you get or how much meth you smoke, eventually, your birthday is going to depress you. Life is change, which means it mostly ends up in the bottoms of washing machines. A birthday signifies another year passing, and it’s hard not to think about all the plans you’ve had that didn’t make it past the planning stage. But there are things that you can do to mitigate that.
- Midlife Crisis: Whether it’s buying a motorcycle and dying in a fiery, head-severing crash, or getting your hair dyed bright pink and dying in a fiery, head-severing crash, there’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned midlife crisis to really help you forget, for a moment, what a loser you are. But why stick with the motorcycle/pink hair cliche? Why not dye your entire body bright pink, for example, or have yourself surgically altered until you ARE a motorcycle? Why not do both? You could be the pink-haired, GoBot/Knight Rider you always dreamed about as a child. That’s the way to show “the man” that he hasn’t beaten you!
- Greek Myths: You know what people never do anymore? Marry swans. They also don’t dedicate their lives to searching for Pan, or get turned into flowers forever staring at their own reflections in rivers. Well, we think it’s high-time to bring back the Greek myths! Ask yourself: would you rather spend your life tied to a cubicle or tied to a tree stump while vultures peck out your liver? Be honest. You’ve always preferred animals to people. If your life has no meaning, give it meaning — and a moral. Hell, give it a whole panoply of gods, demigods, and lots of sandals.
- Johnny JerkSeed: Misery loves company. This saying has a couple different interpretations, but we’re going with the one that reinforces our own preconceptions. Namely, that if you don’t feel happy, you should make everyone else not feel happy, also. And then go have drinks. There are a few ways to approach this:
- Become a poet. This is super-easy. Did you know there’s no commission or governing body that decides who is officially a poet? Well, there’s not. We’re both poets. Here’s a book we wrote. Can’t you see our berets? To be a poet, all you have to do is write a bunch of depressing stuff and then call it poetry. People will read it and get depressed. It’s as easy as that!
- Guerrilla Depressing. This takes a little more commitment. Basically, you have to go up to people in public and depress them. Some Guerrilla Depressors accomplish this by looking really depressing or by saying really depressing stuff. Maybe you’re sitting next to someone on the bus. You smile, make a comment about the weather, and they smile back. Slowly, you begin to talk about the inevitable human extinction that we’re bringing on due to fossil fuel use. Ease into it; you don’t want to scare them away. When the person is looking good and depressed, point out that the bus is conveniently making a stop right outside a bar. Invite them to accompany you for a drink — in a purely platonic manner, of course. What use is there in dating, anyway? Soon, you’ll be feeling lots better about your birthday, or you’ll have entered a mutual suicide pact. Either way, you’ll have made a friend.
Reading this, you may be thinking that all of these birthday traditions involve inconveniencing people, and you’d be right. But there is one way to give of yourself to celebrate your birthday, and that is known as Sex Work. There are varying degrees of sex work, from charging people to look at your bits, or to watch you do things to your bits, or letting them do things to your bits, or you doing things to their bits. We’re not going to make any kind of Puritanical judgement in an attempt to inject some outdated, othering sense of “morality” into this. What we will say is that sometimes, a person just needs a stranger to choke them while spitting in their face and maybe peeing on them a little bit. Tuesdays can be harsh.
There are a lot of drawbacks to sex work, of course. Mostly, it involves other people, and we all know how terrible they are. But if you can get past that, taking up Sex Work is a great way to celebrate your birthday — and bring in a little extra cash. And meet new people, which, you know, mixed blessing and so on.
Whether you choose to celebrate your birthday by becoming a sex worker or plotting revenge against all or some of humanity, the important thing is that you have cake. Without cake, birthdays are nothing but sham holidays. We feel very strongly about this, as you can see, and it’s not just because Big Cake* is funding this blog. They are also funding our vacation to Aruba and some pretty bangin’ wardrobe upgrades. But this, of course, has nothing to do with our support of their blessed endeavors. Even if they didn’t buy us stuff or threaten to shoot our pets, we would still support them because they’re cake. And cake is good.
*Special shout out to Kim the Baker for all her support and extra icing.