November 18th 1981. The infamous date of my manufacture. Honestly, that's how I refer to it to my kids and wife. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, go ask them! For a very long time I have insisted to them that I was built in a factory, not born and as such don’t get a birthday. Now you might cry foul, scream it’s a lie till you're hoarse but the truth is that in a way I was created in a factory. For a part of the miracle that is life is held in the powerful life producing factory known as a mother’s womb.
All metaphors aside, you may still be curious as to why I would even make such a claim in the first place. Well, let me at least endeavor to explain myself. Hasn’t worked yet so maybe this time I will have some semblance of success. Yeah, that wasn’t a joke...
See it all began I guess as a young man on, ironically enough, my birthday. While my cousins and other friends would have gatherings with multiple people and receive big gifts; I never did. Even my family party I always had saw only a handful of close relatives. Once I was old enough to invite some friends from school and do a separate little party I tried a few times to do just that. Unfortunately almost nobody ever showed.
As a young man this shaped me in a way, especially as someone who struggled with every form of social interaction. For me all I could see is a sense of self worth. Coupled with the fact that for some reason I never could quite seem to receive gifts that suited me. Actually, it was rare on any holiday for me to be given a gift that I truly wanted. I know that sounds really conceited and selfish but it was true. I was that odd kid that my relatives somehow didn’t get.
Perhaps it was a view of myself that I imposed on me because of such events. Or rather, just maybe, I would have come to view myself the same way anyway. You see; I have ever since formed the stance that my birthday is not a day worthy of celebration. For me it is just another day. I have never been comfortable in any form of limelight, I don’t like being the focus of attention. And I can see no real value or worth in celebrating my existence each year.
I am just a man. I’m no famous intellectual. I’ve never created or discovered anything important. Each year I get a little older, each year not much changes. For me, it’s just another day. A day I hope to avoid the random attention of cheerful greetings and awkward questions of if I feel any older etc. Most folks don’t even remember that it is my birthday to be fair. Those that do generally only do so because something like Facebook reminds them. Even then it’s just a vague obligatory happy day comment and that's the end of it.
Really, I don’t mean to be a curmudgeon about the issue. I know there are those who truly love me and look at my date of manufacture differently. But for me, I genuinely have to embrace a sort of form of false-bravado regarding the day. Because every time I get any hopes up of seeing friends sincerely wishing me a happy day, of cherished gifts and feeling that I still exist is something valued I find myself hurt.
So, instead I just insist to my kids and everyone else that I don’t have a birthday, I have a date of manufacture. And as such I don’t need a cake, party or gifts. I always feel so terrible when someone went to the trouble to give me something they imagined I’d like or that they didn’t consider beforehand. Because if they spent money on me I absolutely hate trying to be graceful knowing that they might see it in my eyes and then it will hurt their feelings. If I don’t make a big deal of the day, if I can keep it quiet then that means less people feel obligated to make a big deal on my behalf.
That said you may think this whole post has been counter-productive. Not so, in fact it has served it’s purpose. I just wanted to establish my reasons why I have been this way. I don’t mean to come across as an ass or jerk. But for many years I have watched the day in particular come and go. Sometimes it was forgotten, others it just simply was never important enough for others to share with me. I can appreciate how my mother and wife(and others) feel about it. In fact I hope nobody holds it against me or has ever been hurt by my views of the date. It really is a mixed bag for me; I was always content with the little things I received. Never did I need the larger parties or lavish gifts others had, but it has to be said that every time nobody showed it... Well, I have no words for it.
Story of my life. I know some will judge me, some may even chastise me, but please try to consider my reasoning. Forgive me if I am sully, and do understand I appreciate your kind words and well wishes. You will even have my sincere gratitude if you're one of the rare non looked for souls to deliver a gift to me no matter what it is. But please, don’t hold it against me if I am ever less than ecstatic in my response.
I suppose as I look back there really is no way to explain myself without being seen as some form of Ebenezer Scrooge. It is what it is then. If possible, forgive me.