Saturday, January 7, 2012
A Quarter Century: Afterbirth
"As soon as you're born you start dying, so you might as well have a good time." -- Cake
Quick note on that picture: weird right? That's me at the slender age of 18. I don't have many digital copies of old photos so be prepared for me to be rolling out some randoms over the course of this project.
I was born on January 6, 1987. At home in the coat closet there's a folder with my name on it with newspaper clippings from that day that my mom kept. I'm pretty sure the front page story of the Ogden Standard was about someone dying. It was either a criminal act or an accident, I can't remember, but I'm pretty sure the picture was two bodies being loaded into an ambulance in grainy black and white.
From my own research, the day before I was born President Reagan underwent prostate surgery and just a few days earlier Aretha Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Respect!
I've said it a hundred times but I don't really care for birthdays. The realist in me sees it as an unnecessary combination of arbitrary factors (365 days = 1 year...apparently) which amount to the observation that a person has gone a certain amount of time without dying. The cynic in me sees a pointless exercise trying to romanticize the fact that X years ago I was screaming and covered in disgusting human goo and that I am now X years away from old age and senility and I'm once again screaming and covered in human goo (the ciiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiife). My introverted self doesn't like the attention and my jaded self dismisses birthdays as "lame" simply because everyone else seems to make such a big deal about them. To be fair, though, the capitalist in me LOVES getting presents.
Still, part of the reason behind my essential indifference to birthdays is that growing up, my family just didn't make a very big deal about them. We weren't the "birthday party" kind of children to lord our social status over our peers with blow up-toys and hired clowns. Birthdays in the Wood home meant a couple of presents and then dinner at the restaurant of your choice, which I thought was awesome. As I got older and desired more expensive presents, my birthday and my Christmas would often lump together for more spending power so January 6th was just another day with a slightly better meal. And I was fine with that.
In theory, I've had 25 birthdays (you know, not counting THAT one) but I only remember 4 or 5. The earliest one was when I was 3 or 4, I received a battery-powered toy car and I turned it on on top of my sister's head, sucking her hair up into the wheels. I think we had to cut it out.
From there it's pretty much an murky, non-specific pool of "memory" until the most recent years. This year I saw Stick Fly on Broadway and went out for drinks with some friends (sidebar: best thing about abstaining from alcohol. I still get to hang out and and enjoy the "scene" but I don't pay a dime. It's very economical. Plus being the sober observer of a room full of trashed millennials is all the entertainment you could ask for). Last year, 24, I was snowboarding, eating Brazilian food and watching Scott Pilgrim (not all at once) and it also coincided with an eye-opening epiphany (don't ask). The year before that, 23, I was in Huntsville with the girlfriend and the parents and had my first burger from the Shooting Star (SO GOOD!).
New graph because that's getting long. The year before that, 22, I kept my birthday a secret and went on a date, ice skating. The girl was a tertiary objective, I really just wanted to go ice skating for my birthday but it seems weird to go alone. The next two, 21 and 20, I have no memory of but the last one I do remember, the creme de la creme of birthdays was the big 19. I was a freshman at USU and had come back to Logan early during Christmas break so I was alone in the dorms. I had no idea what to do but then I turned on the TV and realized that a Firefly marathon on SyFy was just begging -- Jackpot! I spent the whole day in front of the TV in solitary bliss with absolutely no feelings of unproductive guilt because there was nothing else I was supposed to be doing, it was perfect.
A pic from freshman year, for good measure. Yes, those tips are frosted.
That's essentially it. Somewhere in the middle there I was legally old enough to drive and of course there were the puberty years (I guessed I suppressed those better than I thought). So, now I'm 25. I'm squarely in my mid-twenties. Gross.