It’s August, and I’m another year older. Maybe another year wiser. Life experience is great and can be used for all sorts of savings and discounts.
I’m old enough to remember how we were promised robot butlers and flying cars by now. Sure, we have access to pretty much everything at our fingertips, but I haven’t even been to space yet! Is this 2022 or 1545? Imagine living in a single digit year, like 2 AD. The history books were probably a little light back then and the lack of air conditioning insufferable. I could deal with the Romans but not without my A/C.
Where and when did this “Happy Birthday” song originate? It’s only a quick Google search away, but I’d rather speculate. Was it sung for emperors or kings centuries ago? Or, was its earliest incarnations found among the Mesopotamia age in a far away land?
The melody actually dates back to 1893, composed by two American school teachers and sisters, Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill. Originally titled “Good Morning to All,” the song repeated “Good Morning to you,” which later shifted to “Happy Birthday to you…” That’s the story anyway. Like many folk songs, its origins are disputed.
Who can forget Paul McCartney’s energetic crooning on “Birthday,” a song popularized during The Beatles heyday of the White Album? The band’s ninth studio album may have helped revolutionize music, but we still don’t know what they were thinking with that song. I suppose it’s a “fun” tune if that’s your thing. I tend to skip it faster than “Eleanor Rigby” and/or “She’s Leaving Home.” That’s right, I said it.
I remember my fifth birthday. We had cake and ice cream and watched Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird (1985). The musical romp chronicled Big Bird’s road trip across the US. It wasn’t enough to sustain my attention or my siblings, and we went off to do something else. I did get a nice Cat in the Hat doll with a collection of Dr. Seuss books. You couldn’t do much better than that.
One particular birthday stays in my mind. It might have been for my older sister. My family did one of those McDonald’s birthdays, with mascot decorations, party hats, balloons, and an abundance of fast food only a child could dream of. Maybe I still do.
One birthday, I was mad when I didn’t get the Nintendo game I wanted. My Mom got me a Huffy bike instead. I had been anticipating said game for months, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. After a few days of sulking, I finally realized that the bike was a much better gift. I didn’t have to walk everywhere anymore and could bike to my friends’ homes. I grudgingly admitted as much to my Mom. She was right, and I, the foolish son, was wrong.
On my twenty-first birthday, I purchased my first twelve-pack of beer. I had drank many times before, but purchasing my own beer was a rite of passage. I sat amongst friends in a smokey garage and drank into the night. There was probably better things we could have done with our time. Icehouse was our beer of choice back then, a brand that has since faded away.
I’ve had a few birthdays overseas on Army deployments. I’d receive packages from back home that would make my day. It was all anyone looked forward to. During my last stay abroad in the United Arab Emirates, my then girlfriend ordered a cake to the base I was stationed at. It was a tremendous surprise. A year and a half later, we were married.
On my 43rd birthday, I’m just as grateful to be here as I was last year. I’m appreciative of my family and friends and all that I have. Life is the real gift in the grand scheme of things. I’ll always be a kid at heart who wants a video game or something fun (if asked). Sometimes a call or message from a friend or family member is all you need. But for my outer space trip, I’d like my own private space pod. And it better get good Wi-Fi!