It’s my birthday!
For the occasion, I will answer your top birthday FAQs. Thanks for asking!
Any big plans for tonight? Birthday party?
Just dinner out, which is fine by me. If I had a party, I’d spend weeks worrying that I can’t not invite you, but if I do, will you mix with my other friends? Or will I have to spend the whole evening essentially babysitting you, because you have Stranger Danger and don’t know how to introduce yourself to new people? That’s not how I want to spend my birthday.
I also don’t want to spend it running around Party City wondering if I should get plain plastic plates, or a fun color, and then not having time to get a pedicure. I liked birthday parties when I was a kid, because I just invited the whole class and my mother did everything, including put together goody bags with rubber finger puppets in them.
Any other childhood birthday memories?
I remember thinking it was shameful to smile while people sang Happy Birthday to me. I’d endure it with the straightest face possible, repeating the mantra “don’t smile, don’t smile, don’t smile” in my head.
I don’t know where I got the idea that only losers smile during Happy Birthday, but you’d think I was raised by religious fanatics with starched undergarments and strange head-coverings who said “The child who smiles while attention is upon her will burn in eternal flames.”
What do you want for your birthday?
Nothing! Seriously, no more things. What I really want, is for you to take away all the things I hate but can’t get rid. Because, like, I need those bad jeans that are so 2007 in case we decide to paint our apartment ourselves and I have to wear clothes I don’t like anymore. That will never happen, but I wouldn’t feel safe without several pairs of really bad jeans in the closet.
OK, I’d also like an alarmingly warm winter.
How does it feel to be 45?
Oh, gee, thanks – tell the world, why don’t you?
Well, it feels just like 42, 43 and 44 but maybe different from 40 and 41, and absurdly different from my 20s and 30s.
Up to a certain age, you think age is something that happens to other people, and why don’t they fight it? I used to see ads for “age-defying moisture” and “fine line vanishers” on TV and wonder, “Who NEEDS that? Why don’t they do what I do and just NOT FUCKING WRINKLE?” It seemed as simple as making up one’s mind not to go along with aging, like aging was a new jeans trend. “Skinny jeans, not a good look on me, I’m not doing it.”
As I’ve already noted, skinny jeans happened to pretty much everyone, and so does age. And once it does a little bit, like when, in the reflection of your iPad, you see horrifying loose skin on your neck you’d never intended to have, you realize it’s all going to happen. All of it. You have to start paying attention to formerly irrelevant words like “crepe-y,” and you mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable. And by that I mean the final event: enlarged nose and ears.
I can’t deny it anymore! My nose and ears are going to grow to the size of potatoes.
Not fingerlings – the big ones. Oh, dear god, my nose is going to have eyes! And then, sprouts coming out of them like the ones in the very back of the shelf at Citarella!
All my life I’ve asked, “Why do older women all do plastic surgery and get that pinched, tiny nose?” Because potatoes, that’s why.
For me, 45 is the age where I see it coming.
I think I’ll never get the Marlo Thomas nose, but I also know now that everything I think won’t happen probably will.
It’s the age where I understand that I can’t say “I’m old” like I did at 35, because one day I’ll look back at 45 as so-young-and-why-didn’t-I-know-it.
I’m no longer smug when someone is older than I am. I used to feel bad for Samantha on Sex and the City because she was so much older (and of course hornier) than I’d ever be.
Now I get that — assuming all goes well — 50 will come, and so will 60, and so will 85, and I’ll roll my eyes when someone who’s 80 says “damn I’m old.”
Does that sound like a downer? It’s not. What I’m saying is, I feel young because I know in future retrospect, I am.
Is there anyone you’d like to wish a happy birthday to?
Funny you should ask. This year is also Sesame Street’s 45th birthday. Or birthyear. (I hope Bert doesn’t get an old-lady nose job.) And oh look, there I am in the opening! I posted this on my and Sesame’s 40th, but that was a long time ago. My nose was smaller.
I’m in the red jumpsuit. If you want to see what my face looked like when people sang Happy Birthday, this is it.
Click on the image to play the video.
[video_lightbox_vimeo5 video_id=82472172 width=640 height=480 anchor=https://www.talkingshrimp.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/sesame-street-screen-shot.png]
What does your age feel like?
Did you ever try not to smile during Happy Birthday?
What do you want for your birthday?
Is it weird that I think so much about jeans?
Do you have any questions about my birthday that I didn’t answer?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.