my current birthday philosophy:

i feel the need to defend/explain this public push towards my 23rd birthday (which in on Friday, May 20th :)..

when we were young, birthdays were a big deal.. my grade school got out for summer
at the start of June, so I'd always get a few cards and wellwishings from classmates
on the day itself, plus a party on the weekend, plus presents from my parents. more
generally, there was the sense that we were advancing toward something: the difference
between eight and seven was a big deal to an eight-year-old (and a big deal to a
seven-year-old too). turning ten was the end of the era of being able to write your
age without lifting up your pen. at thirteen you finally became a teenager.

at my high school, the year ended right around May 20th, so the day-of well wishings couldn’t be counted on, and formalized parties were also on the wane. instead, there were tangible, legal ramifications for birthdays. at fifteen, the permit. at sixteen, the license. at eighteen, the vote, the military, smoking, and porn (never the last three, mom:)

college started the backslide into birthday boredom. these weren't people that you
had grown up with, and your parents and siblings weren't around to leak the word, so
the only people who knew were the people you told. my school always got out at the start
of may, and my best friends from high school didn't get out till mid-June, so things
got anti-climactic. the last big one was twenty-one, but that's behind me now. i used
to look forward to twenty-five, (car rentals), but in recent years car companies have
relaxed their policies so much as to eliminate the incentive.

so, a drop in the coolness of presents (this year a major gift will probably be the financing of my health
insurance, which will be greatly appreciated but not as exciting as the original Nintendo
with the Legend of Zelda and the Karate Kid that I got when I turned nine), legal perks (twenty-three
is actually a cut-off for a few student discounts), life significance (sweet, I'm one year closer
to being too old to flirt with college girls.. am I already too old to flirt with college girls?), etc.

what is there left?

self-propagated fanfare.

May 20th is my birthday! I'm going to see my family and friends, think about going
to Chucky Cheese and ultimately decide not to, have my buddies show the bartenders my ID to get free
drinks, and come home and read the nice things that you all have been sending
me (I screwed up and read a couple early ones already.. I've gotten an invitation
for cribbage and beer, a singing E-card, an offer to buy a t-shirt bearing the likeness of a
great fan, and a well-wishing from France.. and who knows what the PO Box may hold :)..

so, there it is. my 23rd birthday treatise.
now I'm off to recover from the ass-kicking that the ocean gave me when Dave and I
tried to surf it today.

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