Is it your birthday today? If so, don’t expect me to wish you happy birthday, because I’m not happy about it.
That’s not to say I’m upset it’s your birthday. I’m just not happy about it.
I don’t believe in birthdays.
People are always perplexed by this statement. “What’s to believe in?” they ask. Well, the fact is that celebrating birthdays is a form of superstition. And it’s not just a superstition – it’s such a pervasive and heartfelt form of superstition that it would be accurate to call it an ‘ism’.
I don’t believe in birthdayism.
Most people who are reading this piece will be committed birthdayists. I’m not sure why, but I feel a moral obligation to point out the error of your ways.
I will now proceed to dismantle your heartfelt superstition in a chillingly logical manner.
Myth #1: Today is (for argument’s sake) April 19. I always celebrate my birthday today because I was born today.
Truth #1: Sorry to point out the obvious, sir/madam, but you weren’t born today. You were actually born many years ago. So the time for celebrating your birth is well past. You might as well celebrate the moon landing today.
Myth #2: Fine, I wasn’t born literally today, but I was born on this date many years ago. Therefore, it’s logical to celebrate my date of birth today.
Truth #2: First, as an aside, it’s incredibly narcissistic that you feel humanity must repeatedly acknowledge your arrival into the world. Now that the insults are of the way, you must understand there is no logical reason to celebrate your date of birth every 365 days – or, in some cases, every 366 days. You might as well celebrate your date of birth every 313 days or 441 days or 51.8 days.
Myth #3: You clearly don’t understand my point. If you look at the calendar, you’ll see that I was born on the 19th day of the fourth month many years ago. Today is also the 19th day of the fourth month. That’s why a celebration is imperative.
Truth #3: Oh, but I do understand your point, my good man/lady. You attach mystical significance to numbers. Something you consider wondrous happened many years ago on the 19th day of the fourth month; that has convinced you that the arrangement of the numbers 19 and four in a specific sequence is equally wondrous. Your argument would make sense if the calendar was handed down to us by God. But it was not: the calendar is a human creation. Your cherished numbers were not chosen by a higher power; they’re simply a coincidence. The numbers associated with your date of birth are no more significant than the numbers on your library card. To believe otherwise is a form of superstition.
Myth #4: But birthdays have nothing to do with numbers! They have to do with dates. Numbers and dates are different things. Therefore, your argument is bunkum.
Truth #4: Your stubbornness confounds me, although I’m impressed you know a word like ‘bunkum’. Of course numbers and dates are the same thing. The calendar is a mathematical way of dividing up the time it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun. Your precious dates have everything to do with numbers.
So there you have it: I’m right and you’re wrong. I apologise for shattering your entire belief system, but somebody had to do it.
This is usually the point at which birthdayists abandon any semblance of logic and resort to raw emotion. It is sad to watch.
Emotional outburst #1: Being born on the 19th day of the fourth month has meaning for me! If I consider my birth to be important, and if celebrating it makes me happy, why shouldn’t I?
Dispassionate reply #1: I never said you shouldn’t celebrate your birth. If celebrating your birth makes you happy, knock yourself out. All I’m doing is explaining why your celebration is a form of superstition rather than logic.
Emotional outburst #2: But birthdays are logical! I consider my birth to be important; celebrating it makes me happy; therefore nothing could be more logical than celebrating my birth!
Dispassionate reply #2: In that case, why not celebrate on the 19th day of every month? Or, if you were born on a Thursday, why not celebrate every Thursday? Or why not celebrate every day of the year? What forces you to save your celebrations for that one specific point on the calendar?
Emotional outburst #3: But don’t you see? I was born on the 19th day of the fourth month! Therefore the only time I should celebrate is the 19th day of the fourth month! It’s logical!
Dispassionate reply #3: [sigh]
[Bonus read: The 5 reasons I hate Christmas]