11/06/2007

When I am King: Party Pooper

When I am King...

Birthdays celebrations will be far less frequent.

Aren't you sick of birthdays? I don't mean your own, I mean kids' birthdays. In particular, I mean other parents' kids' birthdays.

Kids' birthdays in my own house are bad enough. Once a year, we have to figure out what to do, whom to invite, what to get, and then we gear ourselves up for another onslaught. But that's just our own personal torture.

But there's a larger problem in society where every one of the kids' friends are going through this same thing every year, resulting in a vast multitude of birthday celebrations. In any given year, there are about 10-20 kids from school that might potentially invite your kid. Then there are the kids they know from other activities, so add another 5-10. Then there are the family friends kids, say another 5-10. Then there are the cousins, another 5-10. This conservative estimate adds up to something like 497 kids that are going to invite your kid to a party in the next year.

You find yourself double-booked on any given Saturday, trying to figure out how to drop Janey off at Bob's Bouncy Bubbles at the same time that you're picking up Jimmy from Big Scary Rat's Arcade Hell. And before you get to the parties, you'd better have bought and wrapped some presents (wrapping is a truly thankless task, since the kids wouldn't notice whether it was gift wrap or bloodied butcher paper, as long as they get to rip it to pieces in getting to the loot).

Meanwhile, as we adults get older our birthdays come like water torture, gently and regular at first, but then striking faster and faster until it feels like a steady stream drilling directly through our decaying skull.

Why do we have to do this every year? Nobody actually cares that Janey turned seven except for Janey and any hapless six year olds that she'll start bossing around. Just like nobody cares that I turned 42 except for my optometrist and his accountant.

When I am king, annual birthdays will be banned and we will instead celebrate birthdays once every five years. With such large delays in birthday celebrations, maybe we can bring ourselves to actually care when someone has one.

There will be an exception for children reaching the age of 18, which is worthy of celebration because it is an age at which their parents get to either charge rent or kick them out.

Of course, there is a physical reality here that we cannot deny – these five-year birthdays will recognize that we are, in fact, five years older than we were last time. It would be better, especially for the aging geezers, if we could somehow slow this down. For that reason, we are under discussion with the Solar System Council (a subsidiary of Haliburton, Inc.) to inquire about altering the Earth's rotation around the Sun. Our year is based on a single revolution of the Earth around the Sun, so slowing this down to happen at one-fifth of its current speed means that we would then actually age only one year for this increased amount of time. If this works, we can return to a model of annual birthdays, knowing that each year provided more days in which to fit all the damn parties.
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