Jul 242011

When I was a kid, I loved my birthday. And not just because my Pappap spoiled the shit out of me, but because I always had a party. And being a summer baby means pool parties.

My grandparents had an in-ground pool and lots of patio space, so I could invite as many girls as I wanted. We would swim for hours and then my Pappap would grill us burgers and hotdogs while boasting to anyone within earshot about how he was the best griller around. If anyone could turn me back into a carnivore, it would be him.

Afterward, we would all wrap ourselves in towels and go down into the game room, where we would shiver in the air conditioning while playing slots and Pacman.

And if I didn’t want to have a pool party that year, my mom would rent a party room at V.I.P. in South Park where everyone could swim if they wanted to, but most importantly—there was outdoor roller-skating. The birthday kid always got to request a song ahead of time, and two years in a row I chose “Heart and Soul” by T’Pau.

There are a million reasons I miss being a kid. But having my Pappap around for my birthday definitely tops the list.

It hasn’t been the same since he died in 1996. I didn’t really want to celebrate my birthday for awhile after that, just little, simple things with close friends. But during the summer of 1998, I decided it was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and I threw myself a birthday party marathon.

It was the best ever! It was FOUR DAYS LONG and different people came each night because that was back when people LOVED me! (And it had nothing to do with the fact that I was the only broad who had her own apartment and a mommy who kept the fridge fully stocked with beer & assorted alcohol). There were so many different people that I made everyone sign a guest book.

It ran the gamut from good, light-hearted fun to Saudi Arabians teaching people how to roll pyramid-shaped joints to fist fights between brothers to reenactments of my hissy fits to one guy wanting very badly to stick his dick in me in spite of my vehement turn-downs to me leaving on the fourth night, completely drunk and in tears, and driving to nowhere really while blasting Foo Fighter’s “Everlong.”

A week prior to my birthday, I had broken up with my boyfriend Erik. There was no real good reason other than as long as I had the title of “Girlfriend,” I couldn’t help all the neighborhood boys use up their condoms.

He came to my apartment on the third day of birthday bacchanalia to give me back my stuff, and with him was his ex-girlfriend who had stalked him the entire year they were broken up. He had apparently gotten back together with her after I dumped him. Also with them was our friend Sergio, who I eventually ended up winning custody of since Erik no longer was allowed to have friends, having gotten back together with his crazy asshole ex.

Erik seemed genuinely sad that day on my front porch. He started to wish me a happy birthday, when the ex-girlfriend snapped and started screaming, “You fucking whore! You dumb fucking cunt! I’ll kill you!” And then she broke away from Sergio’s grip and charged after me. Erik clothes-lined her and dragged her back to his car, shrugging an apology along the way. My friend Heather didn’t even bother to put her shoes before running out the front door, ready to fight this temperamental nutjob who had just threatened me on my birthday. That was the awesome thing about my friend Heather. She was always ready to throw down. I don’t have friends like that anymore.

For years, Erik was the “one who got away.” I kicked myself for dumping him. It was stupid and impulsive (though, so was the way we hooked up to begin with, but that’s another story). Sergio told me years later that Erik had married that broad and had succumbed to a life of emasculation. It was settling at its finest. For awhile, I tried to find him. Searched for him online. Fruitless.

Then I met Henry and forgot about my hunt to get him back. But I still think of him, and that fourth night of my birthday party marathon, every time I hear “Everlong.”

Since then, I haven’t really done anything major for my birthday. A small, poorly attended get-together here and there, but nothing noteworthy.

Then came my 30th. I was sure Henry was going to do something awesome for me. I hadn’t hinted about it, you can’t hint about things to Henry and expect him to catch on. No, I flat out told him, “I want you to have a party for me.” Turning 30 is a big deal, and I’ll tell you what—I was ready for it. I was ready to forget most of the last decade and the toxic people that came with it. Bring on the 30s.

So, my birthday came and went. I spent the day helping my friend Alisha move into her new apartment. It was in the 90s that day, and rainy. Have you ever moved boxes in a rainforest? That’s what I did that day. It wasn’t pleasant. That night, Henry made me a grilled cheese and I watched DeGrassi. I tried not to be a big bitch-baby. He did get me a ticket to see Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance for that October, after all.

But I wanted a party. It’s not about the presents. It’s about sharing a day with my friends, having them all together in one place (serial killer logic!). I wanted to feel loved.

I waited a week. Maybe he planned something for the following weekend.


Finally I broke down and started asking my friends, “There’s not going to be a party, is there?”

There wasn’t. Of course not. Throwing parties for friends is something I would do, and have done. But fuck me for having lofty expectations of others.

Last year on my birthday, I blogged 24 hours straight for charity, while Alisha sat next to me and whined about the abusive relationship she was in with a married woman, because it was all about her, l the time, always. Never mind I needed to stay awake for 24 hours and write relentlessly. It was all about her.

Even on my birthday. That was the beginning of the end of our friendship.

And for that same birthday, I told that motherfucker Henry all I wanted was a motherfucking black forest cake, and did he think he could handle that? Apparently not, because I got nothing. Not even a CARD. People might think I’m being over-dramatic here, but I think back to those last two birthday fails and I feel like shit. I’m a Leo for Christ’s sake! We want things big. We want our friends to give a fuck. And when they don’t, we at least want our BOYFRIEND SINCE 2001 to give a fuck.

And when he doesn’t? Well, our self-worth kind of gets flushed down the commode like nothing more than a soggy turd.

Which is exactly what we feel like.

So last winter, when I started roller-skating again, I knew. I just KNEW that I was going to take matters into my own hands, like I always have to do when I want anything to get done, and I decided right then and there to stop feeling sorry for myself and stop relying on Henry (joke city) and just throw myself my own 32nd birthday party at the roller rink. And not only that, I was going to rent that bitch out for the night. Do it up proper-like. (Also because I’m so pathetic, I hope that free admission will make people want to come.)

And that’s exactly what I did, so on the night of August 7th, I get to relive my childhood and skate to my favorite songs and if only 10 people show up? Well, then I’m lucky to know 10 people who care enough to want to celebrate my birthday.

And you better believe I’m putting “Heart and Soul” on my birthday mix and telling Roller DJ to give a shout out to the birthday girl before he plays that track, motherfucker.

Oh, and you know what else? My actual birthday is next Saturday and I’m spending it at the Fayette County Fair, which is run by my favorites: Powers Great American Midways. IT IS ALL ABOUT ME THIS YEAR. AND IF I WANT TO FUCK A CARNY, I WILL FUCK A CARNY. I want to be happy, too, you know.

  13 Responses to “A Very Whiny Ramble About Birthdays”

  1. “…who I eventually ended up winning custody of since Erik no longer was allowed to have friends, having gotten back together with his crazy asshole ex.”

    Winning custody of. That’s actually the perfect phrase. I love when exes try to pee circles like this. Assholes.

    “My friend Heather didn’t even bother to put her shoes before running out the front door, ready to fight this temperamental nutjob who had just threatened me on my birthday.”

    This small detail adds so much richness to the picture I already have in my head.

    But my favorite part was the beginning. About the pool, and your PapPap grilling, and the towels and the AC and Pac Man. All the details that remind you of how much better life was then.

    I remember as a child, seeing roller skating birthday parties happening in my local rink. The kids would sit at the red plastic tables, still in their skates, and have rink pizza, cup after cup of Pepsi, and Carvel Cakes. And they’d win prizes and then go skate. It always made me a bit envious, and I wanted to go do one of them, god damnit! And now I finally get invited to one and I can’t go. Thus reactivating my childhood anger.

    Life was indeed better then.

    • I just for once want that again, for someone to care enough to want to do something nice and fun for me. But I can’t keep relying on Henry, because that just leads to one let down after another. I cringe when people say, “Oh poor Henry!”

      Resentment will be the death of us.

      I wish you could be there! Distance is a bitch, and I had no other option but to have it on a Sunday night because they don’t rent the rink for private parties on Fridays or Saturdays. :(

  2. I love everything about this post. My birthday was only 3 weeks ago and I already can’t remember what I did. Nothing at all spectacular.
    My 35th mini golf new wave blow out that I planned is still being talked about though. :)
    I wish I could be there for your big day. I know it’s going to be the greatest

  3. I hate my birthdays, of course that might be because of mom … but they suck almost every year.

  4. You go, girl! Live it up and I’m sorry, but fuck you, Henry–I don’t even know the girl and I’d bake her a mofo black forest bday cake if she asked.

    Oh, I do so hope you fuck a carny at the FCF! What sweet retribution that would be. This is directed to Erin, not Henry, btw.

    Sorry for the outburst–I just went to our little county fair today and was ogling the carny men. Husband was whining about the heat and that he needed something to drink and that he needed to sit down–yada–so we left before I even made the whole tiny circuit. We all have our Henrys to bear, I guess.

    Here’s to you having the best birthday yet [raising my beer can in tribute].

    • YES! This means a lot to me, Barb–thank you!

      Henry is great to have for a myriad of reasons, but damn if he doesn’t fail miserably EVERY YEAR at my birthday, Xmas and Valentine’s Day. He’s a dunce.

      Do you like to ride things at the county fair? (I mean, other than the carnies. OH!)

      Anyway, I finally got some of those damn People of Brookline postcards printed out. They’ll be going into the mail this week!

  5. So excited for the party! Would you want me to make a batch of black forest cupcakes?

  6. It sucks as you get older you have to plan shit for yourself but it doesn’t make you feel any less for doing it. I planned my own party last year and it worked out. Although my husband planned my 30th – Henry should have planned that shit for you. How hard is it to pick up a cake?

    Good luck this year – I’ll be thinking about you the entire time way over here in UT.

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