Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy birthday for me

First off, I know I got the title wrong. It was intentional. Let me explain why.

For years, I've been adamant in my stance against any kind of celebration on the anniversary of my birth. A lot of people have wondered why. A lot haven't, but they're probably not reading this anyway. For those who have wondered why, allow me to elaborate and maybe give you a glimpse into my mind so you can understand how it works (warning: my mind is not for the faint of heart; those with weak constitutions or pacemakers should consult with their primary physician before proceeding).

A birthday celebration is an acknowledgement and expression of joy for the fact that a person has lived another year. In my mind this is no cause for joy. After all, aside from everything and everyone that died in the course of the same year, this is a feat that has been accomplished by every living organism on the planet. So why the celebration? The birthday boy/girl has done what any three-toed sloth has done, or any convict on death row, or any house plant not under my wife's care. Whoopty-doo.

When it came to my birthday, I was no exception. Was the world any better now that I've taken a year's worth of more breaths? Not necessarily. But despite my efforts to stop them or provide alternatives (e.g. anniversaries of my Alyah, ascension to Har HaBayit, wedding, et al), people still want to celebrate my birthday. Maybe it's habit, maybe it's manners, or maybe they actually like me despite my Sheldon-Cooperesque view of birthdays. Whatever it is, it seemed nigh impossible to stop the birthday wishes. What to do?

As the saying goes: if you can't beat 'em, make 'em work for it. (ok, that's not how the saying goes, but it works with my concept here)

Since the problem I had with people celebrating my birthday was the lack of effect my existence has on the world and therefore was no cause for joy, I would use my birthday as a tool for changing the world for the better thereby making it the reason for happiness so many people wanted it to be.

And who wield that tool?


If, for my birthday, everyone reading this did something to make the world a better place, simply because it's the day I was born, then at would truly be a reason for me to celebrate.

So do something good. Give to charity. Help someone. Fix up your neighborhood. Bring people together. That way, instead of it being a happy birthday TO me, it will be a happy birthday FOR me.

And it'll probably be a happy day for you, too.

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