Ben’s Diary: Yesterday Was My Birthday But I Didn’t Celebrate It


Dear Diary,

Yesterday was my birthday but I didn’t celebrate it.

Let me start this off by saying I normally love my birthday.  It’s a great day for pot heads, fans of historical baseball architecture, and the stock price of torture in Hell. There’s a lot of wonderful and a lot of terrible shit that has happened on April the 20th.  But also, sometimes it’s Easter, which isn’t cool.  Easter is dumb.  Rabbits don’t have thumbs.  How the hell are they supposed to paint eggs and carry baskets? What an idiotic day.  It’s an Albert Hoffman meets Lewis Carroll hallucinatory holiday, a siphoning swirl of tie dyed eggshells and plastic pastel confetti broken up by the nightmare of Jesus’s bloody palms and headless chocolate house pets.

Like any major holiday, my birthday has a serious case of creep, popping up earlier and earlier every year.  At work last Friday I had a joint birthday party, which is total bullshit for the crowd that would maximize stress-eating-at-work opportunities, but the best of a host of shitty scenarios if you don’t want to celebrate your birthday.  A joint birthday celebration refracts unwanted attention.  It’s not my real birthday, and it’s at work. It’s not like we’re about to go H.A.M. in the break room, making it rain with copy paper.  That would actually be dope.  Instead, it’s just stunted conversation.  Fuck that.  I don’t need the chore of dealing with small talk over a hardened piece of Easy-Bake brownie.  Sharing a birthday means a lot less of that, so I’m all for it.  Maybe that’s just giving in to my terrible social anxiety, or maybe that’s a little thing called not having to talk to coworkers you dream about never seeing again.  Please split into equal sized groups and discuss.

Sharing a birthday is the norm for me.  I happened to be birthed on my grandpa’s birthday, so every year my birthday celebration turns into my family’s version of a Wu-Tang Clan reunion. My grandpa is cool dude to share a birthday with – he’s lived a long life, seen and done a lot of shit, and generally knows a lot.  Or, he did. Because now my grandpa’s brain is ridden with Alzheimer’s and he’s just not the same anymore.

Alzheimer’s a fucking terrible disease, a Hell-spawn demon that burns out personality and memory, flamethrowing the things that make you who you are into charred dust.  Fuck every single thing about Alzheimer’s.  As a result of his brain deterioration, my grandpa is down to two stories: the time he had to spray paint an ENTIRE GOLF COURSE green for a tournament when their grass died days before tee-off, and the time the “negro I was living with in Chicago got a bad case of the clap.”  Which, sure, those are good stories. But at this point it’s a little like he’s a human See N’ Say.  You just pull the string and, “The cow goes wrap your jimmy”.  It’s emotionally devastating. It’s physically tiring. And honestly, it’s fucking annoying. There’s only so many times you can listen to how much it hurt blackie to piss after he took home a THOT (definitely my words, not his. See, racism isn’t just for old people!) without losing it.

It’s gotten to the point where we can’t do the things we used to do.  We didn’t do a joint birthday production this year because we can’t have normal birthday celebrations without unintentional Who’s on First? routines.

“Oh, who’s birthday is it?”
“Oh, who’s birthday is it?”
“Fine, it’s mine.”
“Oh, who’s birthday is it?”
“Actor of the silver screen, Bruce Cabot.”
“Oh that’s wonderful! I used to have the same birthday as Bruce!  Did I ever tell you what it’s like to hear a brother scream in pain from the toilet?”

I know I’m making light of it, but seriously, FUCK Alzheimer’s.  Here’s a link so you can donate money to save people from redundant stories.  Or don’t donate because screw charity, right? When was the last time it did anything for you?

So yeah, I didn’t see him this year.  But if we’re being literal, I haven’t seen the real in him in years. He’s alive, but he’s not living.  He’s not a man that I feared as a small child, he’s a man who looks lost and scared.  That shit sucks.  But there’s nothing that can be done about it at this point.  The disease is already holed up in the house inside his head, dirty shoes seeping mud all over the couch, middle fingers forever up.

For my birthday this year, I ended up running errands, driving around listening to Chance The Rapper, and contemplating the tensile strength of shatter resistant glass.  Yeah, you read that right.  I ran errands.  On my birthday.  I did adult shit.  And it was fine.  It wasn’t great, it was good enough.  Because sometimes just the calm of running errands without crowds, being able to loiter and take your time as you work through the mundanities of everyday life, sometimes that feeling is a celebration in itself. Sometimes that unimportant shit is what you need.  Sometimes it distracts you from how much you miss your grandpa.

It was my birthday yesterday, but I didn’t celebrate.

Later Diary!




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