Anton Goryunov writes from London: Let me be brutally honest with you, people: I hate to celebrate my birthdays. Yes, that’s how I feel about the day that I should be celebrating with gusto, having guests over, screaming with delight when getting all those presents and radiating happiness.
But even when I was little I didn’t really enjoy my birthdays, possibly because I never got the present I really wanted, having to pretend to be excited over some s..tty bag of sweets or a cheap silly looking toy car, having to kiss all those relatives and getting scratched by their stubble. And that’s just the grannies and aunties, mind you.
The general perception is that the overwhelming majority of people are keen to make their birthday a day to remember. You know, making preparations, sending out invites, getting all excited about presents, not to mention, of course, anticipating hearing some serious praise. Celebs, those nonentities who are full of themselves, really love to celebrate their birthdays and then tell everyone how great the party was. Just as politicians and the new rich do as well. But these are all people with a sick and twisted sense of priorities so they don’t matter really.
I can understand kids and very young teenagers liking their birthdays because they get to hang out with their mates and eat cakes and sweets a lot if they are little, or get to taste some booze and maybe grope each other as part of sexual awakening if they’re teenagers. But grown-ups, who celebrate the big day in a big way, if you pardon the expression, are morons in my book. What can be so great about getting a year older and hearing all that crap about how great you look and what a great bloke/chick you are generally?
I personally despair when my birthday arrives. I wake up on the day and my biggest desire is to see it pass as quickly as possible, with less suffering than the year before. But then the phone starts to ring and all hell breaks loose. Some senile distant relative or so-called friend wishes me many happy returns of the day and I know that they don’t mean it. Because if they did, why would they not praise me at any other time of the year?
And then I open my birthday cards and they are all pathetic because these days you can’t really buy proper birthday cards and no one can actually write a decent text anymore. So they opt for the ones that have the birthday wishes typed in them, so they can just sign them, or select a supposedly humorous card which is as funny as the panellists on Have I Got News For You.
But the worst part is the celebration itself, either in some watering hole or an eatery or, in the worst scenario, at home. This is real suffering. This is like listening to the Carpenters with people who like that sort of crap, nodding along, saying what a great voice Karen had and how tragic it was that she died so young. (I always had a feeling that Karen was banging her brother, Richard, like mad, incest or no incest.) Or this is like finding yourself among fans of Bruce Lee and his appalling films, praising the fighting scenes and agreeing with rest that he was definitely whacked because he dared to reveal the secrets of karate to others.
The worst people for me are the ones who are prepared to go to any lengths to congratulate me on my big days. These fanatics call a dozen times on the phone, if they can’t get me, or even come over uninvited and join in the fun. Bloody perverts, the lot of them! Ask them for a tenner till next week and they’ll look at you as if you just had sex with their loved ones. But tracking me down on my birthday? Can’t keep these bastards away.
I have been getting suicidal on the approach of a couple of my birthdays, thinking that taking my life might be worth it, compared to the torture that would be inflicted on me on the day. But when I imagined how all those people would be enjoying themselves at the party after my funeral, I dropped the idea.
So what is to be done? Well, one thing is to have fewer friends and acquaintances, because as you get older and, hopefully, wiser you should be really having fewer of them. Mind you, if you’re thick then you’ll have countless friends and pay the price for that at every birthday. And then, of course, there’s an option of pretending to be seriously ill. And if that fails, then just get drunk and laugh like a psychopath for no reason, which might help relieve the tension a bit.
– Ends –