It’s My Birthday and I’ll Be Cynical If I Want To

Terrance Thomas

Today is my birthday. This day marks 27 years since I took my first breath in this strange new world. 9 months prior to that, my parents unintentionally conceived me — triggering a sequence of events that included, but was not limited to -my birth. I know that because when I was 11 I asked my mom if I was planned. That is a story for another time.

I didn’t wake up excited this morning. There was no marching band waiting at my bedside. The clouds didn’t part and send down radiant beams of prosperity. It was actually pretty muggy this morning. My route to work was delayed by 30 minutes because someone decided today would be a great day to have an accident. On the day of my birth of all days. The nerve.

I perused every radio AM & FM frequency and not one morning show gave me a shout out or a birthday mix. And to top it all off, it’s 10:30 A.M. and I have yet to receive one present.

That’s probably because I’m in that awkward stage of your late 20s where you realize that no one really cares if it’s your birthday. I’m not being cynical. Yeah sure, hundreds of my Facebook friends send me birthday wishes, but that’s just a hallow gesture. Kinda like how people say “bless you” after you sneeze. Do they actually care if you’re blessed? Well, probably not. Okay, I’m being a little cynical. But the truth lies in the middle somewhere. Hell, I’m not even sure if I care anymore.

This morning while I was in traffic, I thought back to my earliest birthday memory. It was my 6th birthday. That morning at school, my class sang happy birthday to me and I got a “today is my birthday” sticker that I wore with pride. My parents planned this big party for me at our home. It was supposed to be a surprise, but there was a breach. I am not at liberty to discuss who or what that breach was. But just know that sleeper cells live among us.

Every person who came wished me happy birthday and gave me gifts and money. Most of my close family and friends from the neighborhood attended. We danced. We laughed. We played. And my brother cried because he didn’t get any presents.

Did I mention there was cake? German chocolate cake to be exact. Everyone gathered around and sang the most beautiful happy birthday song that I had ever heard. The wax was starting to melt from the candle, so I had to make a wish quicker than I anticipated. I don’t remember what I wished for. But I do remember eating nearly a ¼ of the cake alone. German Chocolate was my favorite. It still is today, but my metabolism has strict dietary restrictions.

Everyone wished me happy birthday once again, before they said their goodbyes. I went off to my room to enjoy my toys and newly acquired wealth. My grand day had finally come to an end. But those moments of joy and affirmation were enshrined to my core memories.

Today is my birthday. This day marks 27 years since I took my first breath in this strange new world. 9 months prior to that, my parents unintentionally conceived me — triggering a sequence of events that included, but was not limited to-my birth. I didn’t wake up excited. There was no marching band waiting at my bedside. And in a strange turn of events, the clouds didn’t part and send down radiant beams of prosperity. So today I reminisce to a time when I felt that everyone cared that it was my birthday.

Terrance Thomas

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