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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Newts, Facebook, Ga-Ga, and Turning 30

Recently, Paige Worthy (whose blog is worthy of being read, hardy-fucking-har) gave up her Facebook account.

I am suitably jealous, not having the balltitude to give up my own.


I threatened to do it a while ago, maybe a year or so ago, and my wife stopped me. I'm definitely jealous of Paige's balltitude because it's my birthday today, and I will most likely be inundated with banal, superficial, formulaic, unfeeling, truncated missives from people with whom I attended elementary school or summer camp-- people whose names I don't even recognize anymore because they've gotten married or switched their genders or go by their rapper names. I got a pre-emptive Facebook birthday strike on Monday, and it took me at least a minute to remember who the person was.

Note: if it takes me more than four seconds to recognize your name, you probably shouldn't be wishing me a happy anything.

I know, I know, I'm a big fucking grump. A sour-faced baby. A miserly little dollop of bat-shit.

"Poor you," my wife said mockingly a couple of days ago after a car-ride rant-fest of mine, "You've got to deal with a bunch of nice people wishing you a happy 30th birthday. Life is so hard for you!"

I suspect she was just playing her favorite role: the Devil's Advocate (love that movie-- "There's this chicken, plays Tic-Tac-Toe, NEVER LOSES!!!") because, really, she knows how superficial and stupid Facebook is. She just happens to be under the Aquarium spell, that's all. She promises me that, once she gets her second frog, she'll stop. Granted, her eyes are glazed over and drool bubbles from her lips as she makes this promise, but, hey-- a promise is a promise.

Right, honey?

It's funny. Before Facebook, I got depressed when I didn't hear from anybody on my birthday. Now, with Facebook, I get depressed when I do hear from people on my birthday. There is nothing more hollow, more unimpressive, more shamefully greedy and unmeaningly offensive than a slew of Facebook birthday wishes.

What will be, of course, quite humorous will be if I don't receive any.

That will serve me just right.

It's a shame, really. I had planned on this real blowout, funny post to ring in my 30th year, but I'm kind of not feeling it right now. And you shouldn't put on airs, just to suit other people-- certainly not on your birthday. Certainly not on your 30th anyway.

See, I have this little problem-- and, ironically, it isn't Facebook. My problem is that I only wanted one thing for my birthday, and I can't have it. Due to uncontrollable circumstances, I have to be at work today from 11:00am-9:00pm. I wanted to spend my birthday with my best buddy, my partner-- my wife. If I couldn't spend the whole day with her, well, then just the after-work hours would have done just fine. But, on May 12th, 2010, there are no after-work hours. It's the first birthday of mine in our seven years together that I've been thus engaged. Sure, there are other days, and, sure, she's planning some hush-hush extravaganza on Saturday, and, really, it's just a day like any other...

And, if I were alone, I wouldn't give a shit, I would work the full twenty-four hours if I were alone. But there's something about being with someone special-- someone who thinks you're special, too, that makes you want to do special things together. To enjoy moments in life that might otherwise be trivial or mundane or silly. To, well, celebrate. We don't do a whole lot of celebrating in our lives-- life is just too busy. And we're hardly cosmo.

I know, I know-- you're a grown up and you have a job. And people on Facebook "Like" you. Life is so hard for you.

My middle sister makes an unbelievably big stink about her birthday, and, inevitably, it goes sour. It stands to reason-- people made a huge fucking deal about the Titanic and the Hindenburg, too. Growing up and watching her act like a huge asshole taught me, generally, to do the opposite from her. So I was largely not into my birthday, even as a child when a big deal was made out of it by my father.

Children who attended my birthday parties held in our backyard went home with memorable party favors. Such as beta fish, hermit crabs, newts, and, at the height of his insanity: frogs. My mother sufficiently toned him down for the final year of live party favors: cacti. It's a good thing I'm not still having family-style birthday parties for friends. If you came, you'd probably go home with a manatee wearing a boutineer and a false moustache.

In spite of the fact that, because my father is an insane foreigner, my birthday parties were one of the most anticipated events of the year, they were events that I neither wanted nor enjoyed-- in fact, they filled me with anxiety and dread.

What if somebody chokes? Do I have to come? Will people talk to me? What if I get my head stepped on while playing Ga-Ga (Israeli ball-game that is dangerous and makes even less sense than Cricket) in the backyard? Where will Mommy be? Can I hide under her bed? What if the candles catch the rice-paper shades in the dining room on fire? Will this be my last birthday? When will everybody leave? Why do I have these dark rings under my eyes-- I'm only eight.

My wife asked me to please let her know if I ever wanted to invite "people" over to celebrate my birthday. I laughed. "People?" It's kind of funny, if you think about it. I have, maybe, three friends, and I see each of them maybe twice a year, for a meal or a coffee where old feelings of loyalty and love come surging back through my veins, and then are almost immediately supplanted by the depression of knowing it will be six months before I see them again.

Everybody else? I hate them. My best friend stopped talking to me almost a year ago to this day for questioning the trustworthiness of his girlfriend, who, I might add he's marrying, and, I might also add, I found out about this through Facebook. La-dee-fucking-da.

As for friends at 30? Well, there's Facebook. Other than that, I think you're pretty much it. At first glance, you're avatars and pseudonyms-- but, of course, so am I. And I'm broad-minded and worldly enough (dare I say "mature?") to know that you're all very, very real. And I'm grateful that you are, and that you're here. Especially today.

Sorry, though. No party, and definitely no party favors. Your mom said no more newts.


  1. Damnit. I was looking forward to a newt.

    For you on your birthday, although it's probably unwanted; an acrostic poem made from my word verification word:

    Birthdays can be troublesome
    Inasmuch as they remind you
    Not of the good but of the
    Sometimes, anyway.

  2. Aquarium spell - I have three friends under it... one like your wife obsessed with getting that second frog...sigh*
    Bless there little facebooking hearts!

  3. Happy birthday Apron. Does it mean the same coming from an avatar?

    Also, I gave up facebook for lent. I'm not Catholic. Just felt like an appropriate time to rid myself of it.

  4. Welll, I'm saying it anyway...

    Happy Birthday, you grumpy SOB.

  5. Happy Birthday Mr Apron even if the 4 seconds rollercoaster into hours before you realize .. who the fuck is this broad? Happy fucking Birthday indeed! (The Ef word was my present to you!)

  6. Happy Birthday. And mine counts because I feel like I know you since you make me laugh on a pretty daily basis.

    Enjoy your Saturday birthday extravaganza with your partner in crime. She's so, so lucky to have you.

  7. DUDE. I would have LOVED your party favors. I spent an entire YEAR of my childhood trying to convince my mom that I NEEDED a newt. She did not go for it. But if one of my friends had sent them home as party favors? I would have won!

    Also, I think the only thing I actually LIKE about Facebook is that people wish me a happy birthday. Because its generally always the actual friends from my life who just can't call or be there because they did something dumb like move to Wisconsin and have a baby or whatever.

    In conclusion, happy birthday. Sorry about the work thing. I hope you get a magical movie moment and something totally awesome happens.

  8. I used to keep a 'worm hospital' when I was a kid (in my pencil case. In the classroom. I wasn't exactly teacher's pet) so your parties probably would have been the highlight of my life.

    Happy birthday, Apron. I'd write you a birthday poem but nothing really rhymes with 'apron'. Except maybe (Zac) 'Efron'. Or 'bacon', at a stretch.

    The work thing sucks, but maybe you'll get some sort of reprieve?

    Or you could just fake an infectious illness. That could also work.

    And I'm right there with you on the friends front.

  9. Wait, so that's why you didn't want me writing on your Facebook wall today? Because I'd look like some asshole wife who doesn't read your blog and you'd be forced to admit that you do like some of the people who wished you a Happy Fronzday, or whatever it is?

    I, too, wish I could spend the whole day (or more than an hour of it, at least) with you today. I know nothing short of a chemical attack, or getting bombed by the mayor will get you home any sooner.

    I love you, I love your birthday, and we're gonna have a kickass time on our Secret Special Day this Saturday. It'll make you wish you were born on May 15th. B-day, observed.

  10. Well, you've really finally earned the "Mr." in your title since you're an old fogey now.

    Happy Birthday from one avatared pseudonymed friend to another!

  11. I'm one of those a-holes that love my birthday so I can't not wish you a happy birthday. But I feel for you being stuck at work, I really do.
    if you ever change your mind and have birthday fiestas again I call dibs on a boutineer wearing manatee.

  12. I know this is going to piss you off...but, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! It's great you made it to 30, I mean you could have not made it to 30, it's nice. Also, you should plan a magnificent Mr. Apron birthday night with your wife tomorrow instead!!!

  13. I kind of hate my birthday. You wrote the blog post I wanted to write on my own birthday last month — but had been forbidden to do by my own partner in crime.

    And thanks for the shout. Obv.

  14. Ah, P.W. My partner-in-crime lets me do whatever I want.

    Yay, Enablers!

  15. Hey - Happy belated birthday. Been out in the field... "aaaaaaarmy training, sir!" so no internets.

    Where's my newt?


  16. Your newt is on ice, ma'aaaaaaam!

  17. I'm also seriously contemplating giving up FB. I seriously cannot take one more effing status message about the drippy allergenic noses of the children of people with whom I attended high school.

    Happy belated birthday!!!

  18. I will not quit facebook. Pure stubbornness. I WAS THERE FIRST. Seriously. I was on it all the way back in '04 when the phrase "early adopter" didn't even exist yet and neither did the phrase "social media" and only people associated with a college could join it. Ah, the good ol' days.

    That said? I am a shameless attention whore and I like the birthday greetings because, well, I'm a shameless attention whore. ME ME ME.

    Also, it's way late because I'm way behind on my reader (obviously) but I am going to go ahead and wish you a really super belated happy birthday because it's not facebook and therefore it is totally meaningful and special. Even more so because it's like a month and a half late. It's like... extended joy. I know, you're welcome.


Got something to say? Rock on with your badass apron!