Thursday, June 25, 2009

Birthdays and Darwinism

Late last night I was rolling through the random bits and pieces of the earlier moments that brought me to the off-kilter drive home. A co-worker's birthday had brought forth spilled drinks, distasteful shots of dark brown liquor, and trips across the various parts of San Francisco that have birthed some form of happy memory to the birthday girl at one point or another in her twenty-something life - some walking distance, others a stamina test of vehicular fortitude. Twenty-Six was the magic number. It's a number of memory (as far as the memories of my personal birthday experience), as I started to remember them a little better after the tender age of twenty-four. You learn to pace yourself. You learn the good and bad, and then occasionally you learn to throw caution to the wind because it's your birthday... and dammit you deserve the right to enjoy yourself. However, I use the term enjoy quite loosely and liken it more to brain damage than a casual sort of enjoyment. Much was the case last night as youthful self-destruction took over the evening like a noose.
Birthdays are apparently a test of wills. I've seen them come and go through various forms of voyeurism and self-exploration. I've witnessed disasters and breakdowns. I've seen glorious laughter and shattered tears... and vomit and IHOP interventions and bonds broken and hands tied. I've seen birthdays tear a hole in the sky and equally go by without the passing of a whispered hint. The previous notion is what I've dissected into a form of modern Darwinism. It is indeed survival of the fittest, and your duty as a being of flesh and blood to prove to yourself as well as the rest of the world that you are fit to keep your place in society.
Birthdays are a test. They are there to prove whether or not you should be allowed to live another year. If you pass the test, you can take another 12 months and chalk it up to life experiences (no matter how others may view your opinions, your particular way of life, or even your choice in music). If you pass the test, you get to repent the following day and go on living your choices, no matter how damning they may be.
However, it is our duty as your friend to attempt to KILL YOU through your own free will. We're not going to tie you to a chair, shove a beer bong down your throat, and continually pour Pabst Blue Ribbon into your gullet. Those acts are saved for fraternities (And trailer park rituals that have rarely been documented or displayed outside of their secret meth-lab/underground tunnels). We will buy you shots. We will purchase jet-fuel and potations, we will pay for your cabs, we will help you clean yourself up... but we will not force you to take it all in. It is your decision to how far you would like to test the boundaries of alcohol poisoning.
I hear rumor that some people just have a glass of wine with friends over a luxurious dinner, thank them kindly and go on about their merry way. I've never actually witnessed this, but there have been cases photographed somewhere on the outskirts of Montana and a small undisclosed location in the French country-side. Nonetheless, if you miraculously survive this misadventure, you have won the right to attempt life for another year. Now, you may not make it through that year... you are not granted immunity from your other acts of complete and random idiocy... but you do get to wear the memory of your battles in the meat-gray bags swelling under your eyes. You get to wear your scars with pride. You get to die another day.
Now, with that stated you will grow older day by day... pass momentous and blurred milestones until you get to an age in which you know better. Age grows an extraordinary knowledge of pain and pennance. The headstrong blindness of your twenties will scar over and build safety catches. You'll fall into black holes in which you simply cannot sustain the barrage of intoxicants (or intoxi-CANS as some have so humourously put it... though not so funny now that I'm caffinated and sober). Long story short, you learn to stop being so retarded and self-mutilating. You learn that the recovery time is not worth the brevity of swirling "goodtimes." You learn that eventually someone is going to not find your antics as amusing as YOU think they are... and they usually have a badge and party lights and the ability to find a very uncomfortable way to assist you in sleeping it off... and/or a ring and access to your bank account.
Birthdays still hold joy... and we should all continue this vicious circle... for I look forward to the next time I get to attempt to kill you... and I find humor in fending off all of JAMES SATCHER's previous attempts. You will never win James... you will never win. Happy Birthday to all, and to all a safe night.

-B

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