Leftovers can be eaten, but that meal -- that assortment of flavors and textures, all giving off an inviting warmth that begs to be taken advantage of the moment it's served -- has a small window of maximum enjoyment. You have to eat it all now, while it's hot, fresh out the oven, or it'll feel like a perfectly good non-denominational day off has been wasted.
Thanksgiving isn't a holiday anymore; it's a plate of food slapping you with a glove and calling you a pussy.
Your Birthday: Just Another Day
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When You're a Kid:
Kids are racing to be considered mature while adults will do anything to regress. That's why a kid's birthday is a momentous event. It's another step toward maturity with a Ninja Turtle cake and a frolic in the Chuck E. Cheese ball pit. A kid's birthday isn't just one day, either. It extends for several days on either side. It's a weeklong festival of excitement inside that kid's head that's shared by no one else.
It's like modern-day hype for a movie. The excitement builds in the lead-up, which culminates on opening day, and then there's all that residual glory lingering around that's released by telling everyone how good the movie was. If a kid could camp out and wait in line for months for their birthday the way mega-fans camp for Star Wars, they'd do it -- and our streets would be littered with filthy, excited hobo children.
When You're an Adult:
Who gives a shit? That's how to best sum up an adult birthday. It doesn't matter. Last year, a friend and I talked on the phone for 10 minutes on my birthday. Two days later he called back and apologized for not having said happy birthday. I didn't notice, nor was I aware that it was my birthday during the conversation. Birthdays are just days, and then there's cake. That describes most days for most people.
Facebook has become an alarm clock for birthdays. The only time I'm really aware it's my birthday is when, suddenly, people I've never told my birthdate and know almost nothing about me wish me happy birthday because HTML coding told them for me. If I were to set the date to any of the other 364 days of the year, most of my Facebook friends would think that's my birthday. That would be a funny joke to me, until the moment I get confused and think March 3rd is my birthday. Fuck March 3rd. That shit isn't my birthday. That's what an adult birthday gets reduced to: countless reminders on social media from people who were told to say happy birthday, and from every website you've ever had to give your birthdate and email to in your life. It's so uneventful people need reminders.
I didn't know what image to put here, so I typed "stupid" into a stock photo site and this came up. You're welcome.
Childhood birthdays felt like I leveled up my character in a video game. There's a sense of having ascended to a new, more powerful echelon. Every adult birthday is the moment when you realize the game developers didn't fully think through character Levels 40 through 50, and every energy blast feels about the same. Yeah, I can kill a lot more bad guys than I could at Level 5, but I've peaked. The numbers will keep going up, but I'll never feel that leap in ability again. Or, to put it in the words of Private First Class William Hudson:
Despite what he wrote in that last entry, Luis would genuinely like to thank his social media friends for wishing him happy birthday last week. You can too if you follow him on Twitter and Tumblr.
For more from Luis, check out 4 Everyday Activities that Are Way Scarier than You Expect. And then check out How We'll Be Celebrating The Holidays In 500 Years.