As of 4:00 p.m. today, 36 people have written on my Facebook wall for accomplishing the gargantuan task of not arriving on this Earth stillborn 30 years ago.
And while I guess I appreciate the gesture, it really does leave me wondering. Who the fuck are you people and why do you do this shit?
You're strangers to me. Look at some of the connections I have to people who have written on my wall :
-- My brother-in-law's old college roommate
-- A girl on my high school swim team I haven't seen since 2000.
-- My aunt's second husband.
-- A coworker who left my last firm three months after I joined.
You are inconsequential people who once existed on the periphery of my life. I did the math. Including close friends and family—who are writing witty, relevant posts—the average last time I saw these people was 3.9 years ago. Almost four years. I don't go four months without seeing the people I care about, let alone four years. But we have, which should mean that our mutual interest in each other is—look, when I see your birthday online, it doesn't cause me to drop what I'm doing and write something. I really hoped we have such an unbalanced relationship wherein you write every year just hoping for me to respond. Or send you a message to reconnect.
“Then why do you have your birthday on Facebook,” you'll all respond. I leave mine up for the same reason I hope everyone has their's on Facebook. I'm forgetful as fuck. I don't know when my cousin's birthday is. And that is something that was deemed long ago in life relevant to know.
But when I see it pop up, I send him a text. Like a human being who understands communication norms.
Facebook birthday posts are the tritest of platitudes dropped on the most loosely connected form of social media. And you people don't even bother being creative.
“Happy birthday buddy.”
If you are going to do something, at least put some fucking effort into it. Instead, these tropes are delivered with a sincerity that makes me think the posters believe they have a large scale cosmic, karmic impact.
No. It's satiating what is probably undiagnosed OCD, refusing to let a single birthday pass without recognizing it and direction attention your way because you need it. Look at me, LOOK AT THE GESTURE I MADE.
No. I will not look. This is my birthday. Respect it as such and leave me alone.
[Sad bulldog image via Shutterstock]