The Birthday Blues
Why birthdays suck after 21
He stands touch his hair his shoes untied
Tongue gaping stare
Could I have been a magnet for money?
Could have been anyone other than me?
23 and so tired of life
Such a shame to throw it all away
The images grow darker still
Could I have been anyone other than me?
As I celebrate my 23rd birthday without much fanfare, I figured now would be a good time to go into my tirade about how birthdays suck after 21. I know I've told this to a few people before but here it is for the benefit of those of you who I haven't lectured on the subject.
(For those of you that were wondering what I did on my birthday, my activities were as follows: Opened presents... Went to a birthday party that was oddly enough not for me... Watched Die Hard 2: Die Harder... Finished 2 more pages from the Secret Adventures of Phil Chan... Listened to the Dido/Poe Sonic Session... Exciting, huh?)
Birthdays are pretty good when you're a kid. A Pizza Party at Chuck E. Cheese's. Birthday presents from people you invited to your party that you're only peripherally friends with. You know the drill. But birthdays really kick into high gear at 18.
17 going on 18...
Now the first big birthday age is 18. You officially become an adult. You can now vote. You can buy porn. (Although, that's less of a big deal because of the Internet) If you're so inclined you can buy cigarettes and tobacco products.
A funny anecdote about this... When I worked at 7-11, there was this guy who always used to come in to buy cigarettes. But I knew he was under 18 because I went to school with him and he was a grade below me. So everyday he would come in and ask for "a pack o' Newport box." I would ask for his ID and he would plead with me for 5 minutes before paying for his drink and walking out. This happened pretty much every day I worked. One day, he comes in with the biggest smile I'd ever seen. He goes to me, "A pack o' Newport box." And like a good employee, I ask for his ID. So he proudly takes his driver's license out of his wallet and shows it to me. He had finally turned 18. So I sold him his cigarettes and proceeded to watch him strut (or the closest thing I've seen a person do outside the movies) out of the store... now back to our regularly scheduled commentary.
You can also be tried as an adult. A whole new world has opened up to you when you turn 18.
18 going on 19...
When you turn 19, this is your last year as a teenager. You can do all kinds of crazy stuff without having to worry about what people will think of you. They'll just think, "Ah... he's just a teenager, he'll grow out of it." But when you're in you're 20s, they'll think, "What the hell is he doin'? He should act his age, he's not a teenager anymore!"
19 going on 20...
Now this is the age where people stop looking at you like a little kid. (Yeah I know this sort of contradicts what I said for 19 but bear with me...) At 20, you throw off the shackles of youth and now are regarded as an adult. No longer do adults look down at you with disdain. Instead you can look down with disdain at all those guys 19 and younger.
20 going on 21...
This is the big age for all you booze hounds out there and also the last of our age milestones... Just like the freedom you get at 18 with tobacco products and porn, you get a similar freedom with liquor at 21. At 21, there are no more restrictions about what you can and cannot do. For the first time in your short 21 year lifespan, you can do anything. (within the limits of the laws of God and man, of course...)
Dead at 21...
Now finally the reason why anything after 21 sucks. There's nothing new. For the past four years you've been set on a path of freedom. But what is there now? Nothing new under the sun. Anything that can be done has already been done. Absolutely nothing. You're just getting one year closer to death after 21. Sure there are a few minor things like being able to rent a car without being charged extra at 25. Then there's the decade markers, i.e. 30, 40, etc. They say you reach your creative peak at 29. But really, what does that do for you? Nothing that's what.
But it's not like I'm not happy to be alive. I cherish every birthday. They're just not as good anymore...