Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Birthdays: It's Okay to be Selfish!

To be published in the Mississippi Weekender 9/22/06 - Following is the 'director's cut':

I just celebrated a birthday. It wasn't a landmark birthday, so the day wasn't overly special, but the weekend before? That was a party. Thanks to my girls for keeping it real. Thanks to my wonderful hubby for being so understanding of our girl-cult. If you're not careful, you could end up with four or five wives.

Through the years, I’ve come to believe that birthdays are the one day that I can stand proudly and say ‘it’s all about me’. It's about what I want, when I want it and where I want it. I get to eat what I want, drink what I want, watch what I want and behave just about any way I want. Me me me! It's easy to be indulged on your birthday, so why not take advantage of it?

I am going to share my knowledge with you, and tell you how you can be proud, demanding, and selfish on your birthday. And the beauty is you’ll do it all without getting anyone’s whities in a wad.

Be selfish the moment you wake up: “It’s my birthday! Sing to me!” With any luck, choirs of angels will sing the hallelujah chorus in honour of your birth. But really, you should just feel lucky if you have more than your cat and dog staring at you, wondering where their breakfast is.

Be selfish about your meals. When your family comes in to hug you and tell you happy birthday, suggest how nice it be to have a yummy breakfast. They won’t have any choice. How can you say ‘no, thanks – make it yourself’ to someone on their birthday? Could you live with the guilt? A few well-placed hints and you could have Eggs Benedict waiting for you when you step into the kitchen, as if the birthday fairy had placed it there herself.

Be selfish about your greetings. You should receive lots of calls with wonderful wishes for a happy day. Demand that every one of them sing to you. Yes, demand it. The embarrassment of your friends is well worth it. When they are done singing, hint that you’ve nothing to do at lunch, and you should be able to score a nice afternoon on a patio on Bridge Street. Never forget how lucky you are to have friends to spoil you at all.

Be selfish with your time. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to work on your birthday. I doubt even your boss would frown largely on a slightly lazy day from you once a year. If you get a scowl, just look up with a bright smile and say “I’m in such a good mood because it’s my birthday!” Any boss worth their salt will smile and walk away. Now, close the solitaire program and get back to work, this will only work once.

The only time you can’t get away with being selfish on your day has to do with gifts. If you get a gift, be thankful. Be effusive with your thanks. It really is the thought that counts, so don’t be a brat.

I believe that birthdays are not about the presents. What makes you feel more special; a nice gift, or the phone call from the friend you haven’t seen in two years that sings in the worst voice ever because you demanded the birthday song?

Remember, what ye reap ye also shall sow. Now that you have been taught these valuable birthday secrets, pass along the knowledge to someone you love. Make their next birthday one they won’t soon forget.