For the last twenty years, every birthday has been a celebration, worthy of being told to have a "happy birthday." There are so many special land marks along one's life, denoted of course by adding another year of birth to the tally. Here are some of the highlights:
-2 years old. Hey! You escaped SIDS, prom bathrooms, plastic bags in dumpsters, and being shaken beyond life. Also, you might be able to escape the confining torture of footy pajamas, and have started to eat Gerbers. Hurrah. You still will remember nothing of this time, which is probably good, since this is right at the tail end of your parents' sex lives.
-3 years old. You've made it out of the "terrible twos" alive. I know for me this was a personal problem, as when I was teething I bit my dad in his thigh as he was doing the dishes. Also, I bit my mom right in between the nape of her neck and her shoulder where recently a mole had been removed. Hurrah life!
-10 years old. The big double digits! By now you have been told drugs are bad, sex is dirty (although you're not quite sure what it is yet, or how it is done, but it's still immoral!), and that girls might not actually have cooties. Let's pause and think for a second - are cooties the first STDs that we encounter? Honestly, is there some sort of conspiracy to let us constantly fear that a person of the opposite sex might have some sort of transferable disease? Jesus, we never get a break from the paranoia.
-13 years old. If you're a jewish boy, you're a man. If you're me, you have your Jewish's friend's dad tell you a joke in which the punchline is something along the lines of "that's not seal cum, it's mayo!" L'hiem!
-16 years old. Sweet 16 girls! I know that if you're rich this is your big coming out party to all of high society that you are a spoiled bitch who should be shot and thrown on the street to beg for money you disgraceful stuck-up whore. Wait, I had a point there, right? MTV has really affected me recently. Anyway, this is the time where you (apparently) stop going through puberty. Luckily, with technology in the food industry, this stops around 14 years old. What is going on with our world when girls who are like 9 get their periods?
-17 years old. Hey, you can drive now, which means that you're free to do whatever you want and your parents can't control you anymore maaaaaaan! All this means is that you become incredibly wreckless and do a lot of things in excess because, well, you think you can handle it. With my experience of driving home drunkards when I got my license, no one really knows what their limits are until about 19 years of age. This is the age where you think you know everything and you finally beat your parents' wisdom. You are completely and totally wrong. This stage will repeat every year until they pass away, and it will never be true.
-18 years old. You can buy cigarettes, porn, and lottery tickets! This means a trip to the OTB and the 7-11 are a MUST! This is also the age where you become legal, so getting into scuffles will now land you in prison. Hurrah! Another plus is that this is the cut off point for statutory rape in some states - something I know absolutely nothing about. Nothing at all. Not a thing. Nope! Not this guy! Another bonus in New Jersey of late is that now you can drive after 12 o'clock with as many people as possible; as if you weren't breaking those silly rules in the first place.
-19 years old. Last year as a teen! You better enjoy it, because old people say that when you become their age you want to be 19 again. We don't have the perspective to know that, so we just blindly take your word. Once again, this should also be the year where you know your limits. Well, actually, just because you know your limits doesn't mean that you stick to them. Whoooo college!!!!1
-21 years old. Now you can legally drink, which means you can now go to places and purchase alcohol at ridiculous costs while getting no ass or phone numbers in the process. This birthday is given a lot more credit than it really deserves.
Notice how I skipped over 20? There's a reason. It is the first in a long line of miserable birthdays. After all of the birthdays I have mentioned above, twenty years old is the first depressing birthday. You're half way to forty, and the only thing you have to show for it is that you're still in college. Who knows what you're going to do with your life; do you even have a major? You see successful people all around you who were doing great things when they were fourteen and fifteen. Hell, LeBron James is playing basketball in the NBA while I'm the same age and playing AS him in NBA Live.
Twenty is the first of the awful decade birthdays. First comes twenty, then thirty, then forty, then fifty. Actually, I wouldn't really know what this would feel like as my Mom stopped counting somewhere in her mid-thirties. I think my dad's fifteen. All of my friends have reacted differently. One of them was reading Time magazine on a couch in his bathroom trying to piece together his life. Another one just cried all day. Me? I'm writing out all of my self-doubts and worries on the internet. God, reading that is so sad.
Luckily, I did hit a bright spot. Today, while being swamped with ims and facebook wall messages (btw facebook has one truly positive aspect - birthday watch) I was talking to a girl from my class and I pretty much said everything in this post--in a truncated fashion--to her. I asked her what the positives are of being twenty. Her answer? "Well, you're in college." It really is a great point. Who gives a shit about the future when I have an accepted level of alochol imbibition that I need to obliterate! Responsibility is for old people! Like my parents, like my family like...like me.
Someone, get me a shot immediately.