Salutations dear reader! Before we get started this week let’s… what’s that? What’s this? Oh you weren’t expecting anything… did you think I’d forgotten? Of course not, so without further ado… Happy Birthday to you, happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear… no, no wait a minute, stop the presses and hold your horses (let’s put an end to horse pressing) that’s not right at all. Scratch that, reverse it! And then send it to the e-mail address listed below, on the date listed above.

Each and every year a jest is made of all the birthday wishes via reader (that’s you) that are not received. That’s crap, since you’re given 750 words of quality entertainment (or what passes for it) each week, in exchange for 2 words once a year. Tsk-tsk, tis a sad place we have come to in our writer/reader relationship. Well you’ve been told in advance this year, so no excuses.

Gotta rein it in and be careful here, before this starts sounding like one of those baited Facebook posts with a randomly selected photo of a sick person and a caption of- “one like equals one prayer”. Oh pulease-thumbs-up me… I could probably use a prayer! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Honestly — I don’t care what you do with your thumb. Whether wished or wanted, it happens either way. So whatcha gonna do about it?

As children, it’s not so much what we’re going to do for our birthday, as it is what’s going to be done for us. The grown-ups, (our parents or the equivalent thereof) will plan a party. They will invite family and friends. There will be a cake with candles and ice-cream, party games and lots of brightly wrapped presents. For some this annual celebration may last a lifetime — family unity and tradition pending.

However, for most of us, it quietly quells into the angst of our teen years. Then, ever so slowly (because the years we know everything seem to last forever) drifts toward drinking parties in our early twenties. Throughout this “immortal” stage of our development, whilst we are at our proverbial apex (or so we believe) our celebration turns more inward. What can “happy birthday to me” do and get for me? The presents are fewer, more specific, more expensive and party favors can take on a whole new meaning. We worry less about a traditional styled gathering. Preferring to bail on the fam to hang out with our friends, where we believe the sentiments are real, at least in that moment they are obligatorily uttered. No worries though, because we’re gonna live forever and the party will never end… until it inevitably does.09/03

Suddenly, and without warning, we’re 30-something. We have a family all our own and now we’re the grown-ups (not me buddy, screw that). On a good day we can still convince ourselves we have all the time in the world. That a little of that never say die immortal youth surges yet through our veins. At least until 10 years later when we find ourselves buried in debt, in the midst of a mid-life crisis and we realize it’s half over.

During this later stage, birthdays gradually evolve into a more casual affair. That causality becomes more so with each passing year. Gifts are few and far between because hey, you’re the grown-up! If you want something you buy it when you want it. There are still well wishes and occasional cards (none will have money in them anymore). But over the course of your time, only the closest of friends and dearest of family remember and acknowledge. Any celebration dwindles to those in the immediate household. All too soon you won’t be celebrating another year alive but rather being thankful for the one you’ve survived.

Oh my gawd, that sounds so depressing. So what happens next? I’ve no idea — haven’t gotten there yet. But I do know this: getting older sucks. Sure there are grandbabies, retirement and senior citizen discounts to look forward to, but still — it sucks.

But (oh here’s the moment where we turn it around) the choice is yours. You can grow old gracefully… or accept that it sucks and fight it every step of the way! I’ll take the latter, thank you very much and a very merry un-birthday to me!

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected].

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya.