So, it was my birthday yesterday. How do I know I'm getting old? These birthdays are becoming less and less important (though I swear my life goal is to make sure both birthdays and holidays never, ever become redundant, boring or un-special.) Keeping it fresh is always a bit hard when it comes to birthdays, and the weight of expectation is typically never light enough to lift when it comes to one's special day. That said, though, I'll continue to stand firm in my stance that birthdays should always matter, no matter how cynical one may get.
Anyways, how do I really know I'm getting old? The two biggest gifts I got were a nice bottle of wine and a gift card to get my eyes examined. That's right. I'm 20-something, going on 70-something. It would be ridiculous to think either present wasn't special, needed or, well, great. But becoming excited over the possibility of new eye wear and a night in which I can finally relax with a nice glass of wine isn't exactly what birthdays used to be.
Remember when your birthday parties mattered? Family members would gather. You'd be forced into eating some type of cake that you really aren't in the mood for when the time comes around. Balloons were blown. Signs were made. Candles were bought (and then, when you got smart enough, someone would sneak those pesky unable-to-blow-out candles on the cake, much to the delight of every onlooker). You got up early. Your name was read on the loudspeaker at school or some idiotic English teacher made it a point to have your name plastered on the chalk board as though it was a list to see who made the cast of the school's production of "Beauty & The Beast."
Ahh, yes. Those were the good days, right? With all of this getting old stuff abound, one has to think, what would be the equivalent of today's presents when considering the presents of yesteryear? If a simple bottle of wine can mean so much these days, what would it's 1989 incarnation be? How about this...
Boyhood gift - Additions to a classic WWF wrestler collection.
Today's gift - Subscription to AARP magazine.
Boyhood gift - Soccer cleats for when the high school season begins in the fall.
Today's gift - Life-Alert.
Boyhood gift - A basketball because last year's has lost its bounce and tread.
Today's gift - A copy of the complete Lawrence Welk series on DVD.
Boyhood gift - Media Play gift certificates, allowing me to shop for all the new CDs I could want.
Today's gift - Vitamins.
Boyhood gift - A card filled with money, re-upping the stash for the fun things boys do, like eat out and go to amusement parks.
Today's gift - A card filled with money to make sure the electric bill can be paid on time this month.
Boyhood gift - A nice meal, of my choice, cooked by mom.
Today's gift - Six pounds of butterscotch hard candy to put in a glass bowl.
Boyhood gift - An Atlanta Hawks or New York Jets hat.
Today's gift - Rogaine.
Boyhood gift - A new coat for when winter's harsh weather comes around.
Today's gift - The Clapper.
Ugh. It's true: When you are young, you strive to be older, and when you are older, you regretfully look back on what sometimes amounts to a wasted youth. Oh well. At least Jay-Z and Beyonce seem to have it down...