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Milestone Birthdays

Time has a peculiar way of slogging on. Minutes add up to hours, hours add up to days, days add up to weeks, weeks add up to months, months add up to years, and we keep track of how many years old we have, and we annually celebrate the day of the year in which we came into the world. We call those days birthdays, because they are the day of your birth. It makes sense. Sorta.

Some birthdays are more important than others. Here is the Critically Rated breakdown of milestone birthdays.

Your First. Your first birthday is a big one. You made it a whole year without dying. Good for you. You’re still a baby though so you can’t take much credit for surviving. You have a lot of other people to thank for making it through your first year.

Your Fifth. Your fifth birthday is kind of a big deal. You’re half a decade old. You count your age with a whole hand now.

Your Tenth. Your tenth birthday marks your transition into double digits. You’re ten years old now. Ten is the basis of our number system. You’re in the big leagues. You count your age with two whole hands. You’re cruising right along.

Your Thirteenth. Holy shit, you’re a teenager now. This is the age when you start talking back to parents and teachers, but it’s expected because you’re a teenaged dipshit now. It’s ok to start rebelling.

Your Sixteenth. You’re sixteen. Sweet. This is the age when most American teenagers begin driving. Just remember not to text when you’re behind the wheel.

Your Seventeenth. You can see R-rated movies by yourself. Too bad Hollywood sucks now.

Your Eighteenth. You’re legally an adult. Life begins now. You can drop out of school if you want. You can register to vote. You can join the military and die for your country. You still can’t drink.

Your Twentieth. Your twentieth year is kind of a weird one. You’re two decades old now. You’re not a teenager and you still can’t drink. You’re just twenty. Deal with it.

Your Twenty-First. Twenty-one means that you can finally drink legally. The world is now your oyster. You’re finally able to do Vegas the right way.

Your Twenty-Fifth. Your twenty-fifth birthday means that you’re a quarter of a century old. You can rent a car. Your insurance rates might change. You start to feel like an adult, albeit reluctantly.

Your Thirtieth. Your Dirty Thirty marks the end of your twenties. You don’t feel much older, but everyone younger than you thinks of you as a geezer now.

Your Fortieth. Turning forty generally involves a midlife crisis. You realize that your life is half over and you might regret some of your past choices.

Your Fiftieth. Holy shit, you’re fifty. When did that happen? You never thought you’d get to this age when you were 21. And now you’re fifty. Fuck.

Your Sixtieth. Wait, I thought being fifty sucked. Now I’m sixty?

Your Sixty-Fifth, Sixty-Sixth, Sixty-Seventh. Sixty-five was the standard retirement age for decades. It’s since transitioned into age sixty-six and age sixty-seven depending on the year of your birth. You don’t have to work anymore. Too bad you’re too old to enjoy your new found freedom. Time to move to Florida.

Your Seventieth. You’re officially old, but a young old.

Your Eightieth. Your eightieth birthday is impressive. But you might start freaking people out when you get behind the wheel.

Your Ninetieth. Ninety is old, but you have ten more years to go if you really want to show off your longevity.

Your Hundredth. One hundred is a huge milestone birthday. You’ve lived for a century. You’ve made it to triple digits. Even turtles are lucky to make it to a hundred years. People will ask the secret to your longevity. Make sure you say that whiskey and cigarettes act as a preservative and keep your true secret to yourself.

Every birthday after your hundredth year becomes another milestone. When you can kick the bucket at any moment, every new year becomes an achievement. I know that it’s weird for a thirty-year old to write a list of all the milestone birthdays without experiencing them all, but I didn’t want to wait seventy more years to write this article.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written Rated and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Turning Thirty

It’s my birthday today. You don’t have to get me anything; I just want you to know that it’s my birthday. And it’s kind of a milestone. It’s my thirtieth. The big 3-0. The Dirty Thirty. My twenties are over. It’s the start of a new era. Your thirties can be whatever you want them to be. I want mine to be a lot like my twenties, but with more money. A lot more.

My birthday has been pretty uneventful so far. I woke up, I took a shit, I took a shower, I drank a beer, I hung out with my roommates and we watched internet videos, I drank another beer, and then I left the house to run some errands before I go out of town for a weekend wedding in San Diego.

One of the things I had to do was pick up my rental suit. I was trying it on and the lady asked if I was going to prom on Saturday. I told her it was for a wedding. She apologized and I told her that I just turned thirty so I’d take it as a compliment. Her jaw dropped. The best part was when a high school senior approached me in disbelief. “You’re thirty?!? I’m seventeen. You look like a baby.”

I’m thirty. I don’t feel like a baby. But I know that I have good genes and alcohol makes a great preservative. In fact, I plan on drinking copious amounts of alcohol tonight while I watch the Giants hopefully beat the Dodgers. Nothing makes a better birthday gift than beating LA.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Belated Birthday

People have birthdays. And other people forget them. It sucks. It’s life. Oh well. There’s nothing wrong with wishing somebody a belated birthday. You didn’t forget their birthday. You just didn’t remember it in time. In the old days you could get away with forgetting birthdays because you could claim that their card got lost in the mail. It’s harder to get away with it these days because Facebook tells you everybody’s birthday. All you can do is feign ignorance. Belated birthdays give you have a reason to celebrate a birthday again. Buy them a drink and give them a toast in their honor. Belated birthdays aren’t so bad as long as you get to celebrate them. I still love you. I just suck at remembering things.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Singing “Happy Birthday” to a Stranger

I was at a restaurant last night enjoying a nice meal with some good friends when we were interrupted by one of the servers with an important announcement. Apparently it was Pablo’s thirty-first birthday and he chose to celebrate in that particular establishment and the server wanted everybody to wish him a happy birthday. The server counted to three and the entire restaurant started singing “Happy Birthday” to a stranger. We were all united for ninety seconds while we sang loudly and off-key. Then we went right back to enjoying our food and ignoring Pablo. Such is the way of the world: we will acknowledge a birthday briefly but nobody really cares.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Birthday Buddies

It’s always cool meeting somebody who has the same birthday as you. You instantly have a bond, a connection. You are birthday buddies. The world is a big place but it seems a lot smaller when you find someone who came into existence the same day that you did. It happened to me the other night. I was grabbing a drink with some coworkers after work and one of them brought along a friend. The friend mentioned that her birthday was coming up next week. My birthday is coming up next week too, so I asked her when it was. She said April 29th. I told her it was mine too. She asked for proof. I showed her my ID and she showed me hers. Once it was verified that we were birthday buddies, we raised our glasses and we toasted to Tauruses everywhere. There are billions of people on the planet and only 365 days (sometimes 366 days) each year, so you share your birthday with millions of people. You just have to find out who they are.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Early Birthday Wishes

Facebook has a feature that informs you of birthdays. It’s a pretty useful tool. It helps it seem like you remembered/cared about the day someone was born. But sometimes people don’t know how time zones work and someone will post a happy birthday message a day early. It’s a nice gesture, but then you’ll suddenly be bombarded by dozens of other early birthday messages because everyone else saw that you had a birthday message and they don’t want to be the asshole that forgot your birthday. Pretty soon your birthday becomes a trending topic a day early and there’s nobody left to wish you a happy birthday on your actual birthday. At least that’s what you’ll tell yourself as you eat cake in bed crying.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Cutting the Cake

So it’s your birthday and it looks like someone bought you a cake. It says “Happy Birthday,” it has your name on it, and it has more candles than you would like to see on it. You think of a wish, you blow out all the candles, then you pluck out the candles and lick the frosting off of them, and then it’s time to cut the cake. Cutting the cake is the least fun part of the cake experience. It’s actually work. You have to cut a slice, plop it on a plate, and hand it to somebody. Then you cut another slice, plop it on a plate, and hand it to somebody else. Then you cut another piece, plop it on a plate, and hand it to another person, but that person doesn’t want too much frosting so you have to cut another piece with less frosting and you serve them that. And then somebody else wants a corner slice. And somebody else only wants half a slice. And somebody else wants a slice with blue frosting. You’re over it after cutting five or six slices. Everybody’s too demanding and nobody is satisfied. Let them cut their own fucking piece. It’s your birthday; you shouldn’t have to do anything.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Youngcakecutting7a

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Birthday Shout Out

So it’s your birthday. Congratulations. Let me guess, you’re going to celebrate by going out to dinner with friends and family. And one of them will slyly mention that it’s your birthday to your server in hopes that the server will do a birthday shout out and bring out a free dessert. Birthday shout outs are embarrassing. They embarrass the server, they embarrass the birthday boy, and it’s embarrassing for the human race. I’ve experienced both sides of the birthday shout out. I’m a server at a corporate restaurant and I’ve yelled out birthday announcements for thousands of people. And I’ve hated it every single time. Servers hate birthday shout outs for a lot of reasons. One, they are annoying to do. Two, it’s hard to hear what someone is ordering when the whole restaurant is yelling. Three, it opens up Pandora’s box and suddenly every fucking table is celebrating a birthday too. I don’t mind doing a birthday shout out for a kid or for somebody’s 21st birthday, but I gotta draw the line somewhere. Sorry grandma, I’m not going to sing for you.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Calling Somebody Old on Their Birthday

There are a million different birthday traditions that you feel obliged to practice. Let’s say that it’s your friend’s birthday and you want to celebrate. You’ll throw him a birthday party. You’ll buy him a birthday cake with birthday candles. You’ll buy him a birthday present and a signed birthday card. But it’s not officially his birthday until you give him grief about getting older. Calling somebody old on their birthday is the best way to remind someone about their mortality. They are one year closer to death, and you need to rub it in their face. Their saggy, old, wrinkled face. It’s a way to punch them in the gut on their special day. You need to do it out of love though, and not malice. You don’t want to make them cry, just feel a little less immortal.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Birthday Beer

It’s your friend’s birthday and you want to get him something but you don’t want to go overboard. I recommend buying him a birthday beer. You can pick up a 6-pack of something nice, a 12-pack of something decent, or buy a round at the bar. All options are acceptable. Birthday beer is a perfectly valid present for anyone that is 21 or older. 18 if you’re European. Everyone wants to get drunk and nobody wants to pay for it. I’m sure you friend will appreciate the gesture. Don’t buy beer for anyone that you want to sleep with. That’s what wine and hard alcohol are for.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Candles

Billions of people rely on candles every day, from Amish families using them for light, to people celebrating their birthdays, to desperate guys attempting to be romantic. There’s no denying the staying power of flammable wax sticks. Candles used to be a necessity, one of the few ways to ward off the darkness. Now candles are almost a novelty. You mostly find them on birthday cakes and in private bathrooms. Scented candles are good for mood lighting and masking that weird smell in your room. And they are handy in emergencies. Now you can see in the dark and smell good at the same time.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Your Birthday Time

Other than 4:20, my favorite part of the day is my birthday time. That’s the magical part of the day when the clock displays your birthday. My birthday is April 29 or 4/29, so my birthday time is 4:29. Your birthday time doesn’t mean anything, but it’s nice to see it. We’re all selfish bastards who secretly want to be the center of the universe so we expect some sort of acknowledgement when the clock shows our birthday time.

It sucks for Europeans because they use the 24-hour clock and also put the day before the month. For example, my European birthday would be 29/4 and there is no 29 o’clock. That’s probably another reason why the world hates Americans so much: because we can celebrate our birthday twice a day instead of only once a year. Let me know the next time your birthday time makes an appearance and we’ll give you a toast.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Responding to your Birthday Posts with a Status Update

Congratulations, it’s your birthday. And you got about a hundred posts on your Facebook wishing you a happy birthday. Each one of those people went out of their way to wish you a happy birthday. Some of them even mean it. And you honor that by responding to your birthday posts with a status update thanking them. That’s not proper netiquette. If a bunch of people individually wish you well on your date of birth, you should individually respond to them. Announcing to the internet that it’s your birthday and thanking them for acknowledging it is like yelling “THANK YOU” into a bullhorn: you sound like an asshole and you look like an asshole. Clicking the Like button on each post is the same damn thing. I know it’s your birthday, and I’m really glad that you made it another year without dying. You can at least respond with a simple “Thank You!” if someone tells you “Happy Birthday!!!”. You can even cut and paste the “Thank You!” if you want. At least that shows a little effort. Just because it’s your birthday doesn’t mean you are above using manners.

Critically Rated at 4/17

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