The One With All The Birthdays (Part 1)

It’s T-minus 3 weeks until yet another Birthday. (Which means the annual descent into misery and self pity has begun.)

Don’t get me wrong, I happen to LOVE birthdays…just not my own. There’s nothing better that spoiling someone to the nth degree on their day of Birthing, and I’m proud to say I’ve done some pretty awesome things for people on those days. To my own self destruction of course, but still, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing I’ve done for others.

But enough about them, let’s get back to me.

I have a fairly storied history when it comes to bad bdays. In fact, I may just qualify for the Hall of Fame of bad birthdays.

People may argue that birthdays mean less the older you get, but my misery seems to go way back to my childhood.

I’d like to share a few of my favourites with you if that’s alright.

1991 – 13th Birthday

Ah yes, the beginning of my teens, the end of my primary school life, and an adventure into manhood! Well, not quite.
The year before I had lost my dad, and now just a few months later my older brother had killed himself, so suddenly in the space of a year…I was the man of the house and I had half a family.
And my mom…well, she was understandably a mess. We had spent most of the year trying to find some sort of normalcy in the insanity that had ruled our lives, the last thing anyone wanted to do was celebrate a birthday. That would be pretty damn selfish of me.

But still I was a kid, and I wanted something for my bday, something simple. All I wanted for my birthday was a box of Trivial Pursuit (the logic that I had nobody to play with never dawned on me…I was a trivia junkie…and Trivial Pursuit was the ultimate fix).

I started playing tennis in my final year of primary school, and loved it. It was a pretty simple sorta escape from life…One afternoon just before my birthday in particular I will always remember.

I left practice and ran toward my mom who was waiting for me outside the school as normal. When I got in the car, the first thing she asked me was where was my tracksuit top, ah damn…I left it on the tennis court! Quickly running back to go fetch it, I was in for surprise. The teacher had already locked up the courts and my tracksuit top was nowhere in site. Uh oh.

I got back into the car and told me mom. She exploded and slapped me so hard on my bare leg that the hand mark was instantly visible. I remember as we pulled away two friends waved goodbye to me (unaware of what just happened), and me always the one to fake a smile, proceeded to wave back with a big goofy fake grin and trying to hold back the tears streaming down my face.

Things were about to get much worse though. When we got home my mom ran inside while I stayed by the car to take my bag out. She came storming out the house and launched a rather large object at my face, which then hit the ground and broke open revealing pie pieces and trivia cards. It was my Trivial Pursuit…aw sweet… she remembered.

By the way, I got my tracksuit back on the Monday, the teacher took it home for safe keeping…

1999 – 21st Birthday

Oh yes…legal in every way! The big 21…no bigger excuse for a celebration right? Well, not if you don’t drink, have friends or party like its 1999 (NICE SEGWAY!)

My 21st was another event that for any normal human being would be a pretty epic celebration, and to my mom’s credit she did try and make it something special. Of course, this meant an entire gathering of the family…or in other words, the rest of the family and us two.

We had a function on the Saturday to celebrate my late Gran’s birthday the following day and my 21st the Tuesday after that. The usual “you’re all grown up” wishes flowed in as each person arrived, then the ceremonial handing over of the 21st Key blah blah blah. Not my scene really. In fact, my speech pretty much consisted of me saying “I don’t think anyone ever thought I’d make it this far”….nothing like awkward silence.

Anyways, Monday was back at work time, and I remember someone special getting me non alcoholic champagne, which to this day was one of the most thoughtful and respectful things anyone has ever done.

It was a short return to work, as I had taken the next day off. That evening however, I became violently ill, and spent the whole night puking….a good solid 15 hours or straight puking. Eventually passing out from pure exhaustion… when I eventually came round…it was 1am….Wednesday morning…I had missed my own 21st Birthday.

Anyways, I went to the doctor that day, and it turned out I had blood poisoning from accidentally cutting myself with a knife when I was eating Biltong…smooth.

2000 – 22nd Birthday

Birthday “parties” are awkward at the best of times. We all run through a set of pretty standard thoughts in our head:

– Do I bring a gift?
– How late should I arrive so I’m not the first one there?
– What’s a good time to leave without being seen as being bored?
– What if Stifler’s mom tries to do me on the pool table?

Since I don’t have the answers to these questions, I tend to avoid parties, and even more so throwing them. In fact, I just don’t have the confidence to even attempt to arrange something. But this particular year, I thought “Hey, new millennium, new me…let’s give it a bash!”

I prepped the invites… I was having a Birthday Braai! (or BBQ for my international friends).

Being at a fairly new job, I only had a handful of people that I would invite there, but I sent invites to old work mates, or school friends I had recently got in touch with. The only thing more impressive that the invite list was the RSVP list…wow…finally I would have someone other than the mailman coming to my house! This was huge!

The new me was looking pretty damn popular.

I even went out and bought some Graca (which I think is wine…right??)…I had brought alcohol to my own party!

The day of the braai arrived…I was pretty damn nervous…as the hours counted down to the start time, I got everything ready….put chairs around the pool, Got the old dartboard ready….took the cover of the newly purchased pool table….this was gonna be sweet.

The first car pulled up, and I went out to check. Nope wasn’t for me, but a neighbour’s guest.

12pm…nobody was there.
1pm (start time)…still nobody

Unbelievable…I couldn’t imagine how impossible this was.
Eventually I got a text message from 1 guest, saying “sorry dude can’t make it.”

4pm – Then 2 guys arrived, they stayed a while until a third arrived. Luckily we all knew each other so that avoided any awkwardness when I went to the kitchen to get snacks.

5pm – one old school friend arrived and stayed for about 30min. If I remember we chatted about how good the cheese rolls from the local café were.

By 6pm, everyone had cleared out.

Out of 30 people who RSVP saying they’d be there, and were even reminded the day before…5 people turned up. 3 people ate. 1 person excused themselves after being over 3 hours late. And the rest …well…the other 24 apparently forgot, or got tied up.

The kids have a word for this today. It’s called a #FAIL

Ill let you catch your breath for a second, but come back to this blog in a few hours for….
Part 2 …..


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5 Responses to “The One With All The Birthdays (Part 1)”

  1. Mishelle Says:



    And I thought my whole family forgetting my 16th was bad.

    Damn – you get the award for sucky b-day!


  2. bethellenf Says:

    Well. . . . there have to be more than the two of us who have the worst birthdays immaginable. I no longer celebrate mine either due to circumstances much like yours – filled with disappointment, disillusionment and an blanketed with overwhelming embarrassment and chagrin. Mine started about age 5 – I had to sew my own new clothes birthday gift – my Mom was busy. Then at seven, I begged and pleaded for a particular cake and my Mother made if for my brother instead. His birthday was 2 weeks before mine. When mine came around. She couldn’t be bothered. Once I was school aged, (birthday is in July) all my friends were on vacation so nobody ever came to parties. And my Mom hadn’t recovered from my brother’s.
    Sweet 16th – a few girls showed up, but had ‘somewhere else to go’ and didn’t stay. I had spent days planning and was left standing in my yard with loads of food, a brilliant gown and completely alone.
    21st – Everyone forgot!
    After I was married, my husband’s was the day after mine so he always skipped mine and just celebrated his. “It’s more convenient” he’d say. Now that I’m divorced, my kids are always at their Dad’s for the month of July so I haven’t spent a birthday with them in 12 years. In fact, the last 12 birthdays have been spent alone since my children are my only family. -Nice!
    Every year, I hate my birthday too. These days, it would be better to simply eliminate it altogether.

  3. Burgsworld: The Essential Collection – Part 3: Surviving Love & Life « Burgs World – A guide to cutting through the stupidity of life Says:

    […] The One With All The Birthdays (Part 1) The One With All The Birthdays (Part 2) Finally everyone understands why I hate my own birthday. A selection of the worst birthday’s I’ve had to endure. […]

  4. REASON Says:

    You didn’t prove me wrong… opening parah… bitch and moan… No more for me thanks… I was so looking for the next best writer… but alas, I found a self pitying pleb.

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