Friday, July 22, 2011

The Birthday Trilogy, part 1: Your Birthday- of the People, for the People, by the People

Why is it that your birthday should be everybody’s concern? I mean, it is YOUR birthday. It has become not entirely your day but it is the day of the people, for the people, by the people. The concept of birthday has evolved a lot better than the concept of democracy. The former is already an accepted and respected absolute truth, the latter is still a debatable issue.

Upon entering the 21st century, birthday celebrations are taken to the extremes of the refinement of domestic consumption, in simple words, extreme waste culture. For centuries, five pillars of truth (or should I say, sanctioned holy fallacies) were established to reinforce an almost irreversible populist concept of birthdays.

  1. It is your irrevocable duty to throw a party.

I’m not the typical party animal and I’m not also a total party-pooper. I like throwing parties too for my birthday or organize a party for my friends. But what if you don’t feel like throwing a party at all, just like how I felt for my birthday this year?

People will start urging you with utter vehemence to host a party. Because it’s no birthday when there’s no party. And if you say you’re not going to have a party, they’ll start cursing you from the simple F word to the most ancient hexes formulated by witch-doctors and evil witches.

Again, it’s not THEIR day. It’s YOUR day. If you feel like sleeping the whole day and that is your ideal celebration of your birthday then go ahead. There are a thousand and one ways of celebrating it.

It is said that the early tradition of having a birthday party was done in Europe. It was said that a birthday celebrant is very vulnerable to the attacks of evil spirits. The only way to ward off all evils was for friends and family to visit him, bring him food and express good wishes. I guess in the modern times, you ward off evil spirits just to replace them with obnoxious humans.

  1. It is imperative to feed freeloaders.

I don’t mind paying the bill for my friends for a night in the city, as long as they’re not as many as a baranggay (a whole village!). But most of the time they gang up on you and sing in one harmonious chorus, “Blowout! Blowout! Blowout!”

All of a sudden, in the eyes of your friends, and friends of friends, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and acquaintances and all the epaloids around you, you become a walking ATM-machine, a one-man finance agency ready to pay for their dinner and their drinks on that particular day.

And when you say “Sorry guys, I’ve got no money.”, they’ll give you that look as if to say, “You’re such a failure.”

At that moment you felt that it was your turn to speak forth abominable curses to them, but of course, you don’t want to ruin YOUR day, do you?

These freeloaders must realize that you are not rich. Because if you were, you wouldn’t be hanging around with them. The mere fact that you’re still around them means, you haven’t won the lottery yet. They better stop being such pricks and stop freeloading.

  1. There are three most important birthdays- 18th, 21st, and 50th

There are three most important birthdays and those are worth exhausting all your money for- the 18th birthday debut for girls (for guys it’s the coming-of-age birthday), the 21st which is the celebration of the fullness of a guy’s manhood (though mentally remaining as little boy), and the golden celebration which is the 50th birthday.

Why are they so important? I have no explanation for that. I think it’s really not that relevant. They can simply be like any other birthdays. Other birthdays can be much more fun and even more relevant. For example, on my 25th birthday my friends organized a surprise party for me. There wasn’t much food but it was much more eventful than my 21st (I hated it, even though they really tried hard to organize a party for me). My 18th was memorable because it coincided with the period of my spiritual conversion (and yes, though it is not obvious but I have changed, more or less).

Not to mention the people who go crazy saving up huge sums of money just to burn them all in one day. I have nothing against people who spend millions of pesos and thousands of euros for such birthdays, especially if they can afford it. But why not use it for something like funds to jumpstart a small business, or travel, or save it up for future investments? Why does everyone feels that they are entitled to feel like one of the Zobels or the Ayalas in one evening? At the strike of , they instantly turn into Cinderella in rags the following day?

I admit that I’m envious of their big fat wallets, but I’m definitely not envious of their twisted mental processes.

  1. They’re not obliged to give you gifts, unless you’re celebrating one of the three most important birthdays in your life.

It’s unfair. It’s your birthday. You’re supposed to feed them but they have no obligation or whatsoever to buy gifts for you? Is that even reasonable? And you only get gifts on your 18th, 21st, and 50th birthdays! Hello?!

  1. It is exclusively a public affair.

Everybody’s supposed to be invited- your friends, the friends of your friends, the friends of the friends of your friends, the passers-by invited by the friends of the friends of the friends of your friends, your neighbour who only greets you and speaks to you only in that particular day, the security guard of the subdivision, the local hobos and tambays of the nearby sari-sari store, Aling Nena of the sari-sari store together with her hallowed list of your debts, your beer-kada, strange bed-fellows, long lost family members and relatives, the queridas of your father, your presumed stepbrothers and stepsisters, and Santa Claus. All of them feel they are entitled to be invited and be present at the party.

And yes, it’s not a birthday party anymore. It’s more than a circus. It has become a freak show.

Happy Birthday!

1 comment:

  1. Love your thoughts on birthday bro! You rock! Yeah I don't obviously want to be like Cinderella,hahaha turning back into rags from a wink of an eye riches!


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