This week saw an allegedly “special” day in our household. My birthday. As someone who was not brought up (conditioned) to observe “special” days with any type of fervour, I see birthdays as something to avoid, surely, than to celebrate. Why should I celebrate being one year older and another day closer to the inevitable end? The end of my 40s that is. Ok I’m morose and sometimes half empty and all that but no, I’m not expecting to drop off my perch just yet.
Don’t get me wrong, birthdays aren’t all that bad of course. They can be the source of some great times. It is of course lovely when someone makes a big effort for you, like the best lemon flavoured, with lemon icing, birthday cake ever, that “Nanna Pat” (my mother-in-law) brought round this week. Or the hand-drawn birthday cards or banners the children have made me over the years. Or the nice cards my wife has given me, time and time again. (She has THE knack of finding the perfect card for ANY occasion)
It’s the “industry” around greetings cards in general that I maybe have a problem with. My wife sends roughly 1200 birthday cards a year. Ok, so maybe it’s 50. This is in my opinion too many. Then there’s “Thank you” cards, mother’s day, father s day, valentine’s day and DON’T GET ME STARTED on Xmas cards. Then there’s “Good luck in your exams” and “Well done on your exams” and so on and on and on…..
I never publicise my birthday very much, but since the advent of Facebook I will always get a healthy number of “Happy Birthday” greetings appear on my wall. But only because Facebook tells its’ Social Media darlings to do so. “It’s Arne’s Birthday” “Wish him happy Birthday” “Write on his Wall” “NOW!!!!!”
This year I decided to do a little experiment. I wanted to assess the hit rate of greetings and from what sources.
I didn’t make ANY mention of my birthday to anyone just in case. I removed my Date of Birth from my Facebook Profile. I waited.
Family: Greetings and cards and presents from those I live with and from the in-laws (mother and father in-law and brother in-laws)
One text from my sister in Norway and one text from a friend in Leamington
Facebook? NOT A SINGLE message. Last year, 31 “followers” obeyed FB.
So, I can carry on being a misery gut for another year now, safe in the knowledge that hardly ANYONE knows when my next birthday is.