Tuesday, January 31, 2006

You Say It's Your Birthday...

It doesn't take much to instigate a dark and dreary middle school or high school flashback. It seems that the most innocuous statement can send the ego spiraling back in time to former days of social ineptitude and adolescent awkwardness.

In other word, it doesn't take much to remind a geek of her innate geekiness!

What's this about? Birthdays. Mine in particular. I received an email today from the Sunshine Committee. This is a committee we have at work whose sole purpose is to make people feel included, important, and loved on the annual celebration of their entry into this world. The email was asking for any individual whose birthday falls in the month of February to identify him-or-herself. A seemingly beneign request, no?

No! I mean, yes, it is seemingly beneign...and no, it sent me over the edge. Now, we all know that I've had a stressful few days and so perhaps this was the proverbial straw. I've got another theory however...

Remember the really popular girls at school? The ones who would be greeted by birthday signs on the front of the front gate? Who would arrive at lockers decorated gaily by "best friends?" And who would prance around school all day with a balloon bouquet? Yeah...well so do I. And that was not me! I was the one whose birthday would go unnoticed. Not in the disturbing Sixteen Candles way. I mean my family is many things...and we may have held a birthday celebration or two on an alternate day. But no way would our parents actually *forget* our birthdays. Somehow, though, it was never enough. And when school friends would discover that it was my birthday (or that it had been my birthday), they would say things like "I can't believe you never said anything!"

Seriously now, what was I going to say? "Um, in case you didn't know -- because we obviously aren't as close as I thought we were -- my birthday is actually today and I feel like a complete dork because no one noticed." What is the right thing to actually say here? And if you tell people a few days ahead of time, their felicitious wishes seem contrived.

Skip ahead a couple of decades and I have yet to discover a comfortable and natural way to spread news of my birth date. I would think that in the workplace, there must be someone in the HR department in possession of such knowledge. Wouldn't it be less clumsy for the HR Dept. to communicate said information to the appropriate people...say the Sunshine Committee, for example?

So I deleted the email and figure that if people are meant to know, they know. And if they don't, then they don't.

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