Happy Birthday to... me!

Back in the early years of the Web, before spammers took all the fun out the Internet, there was a site called the World Birthday Web. Those of us with homepages could list our name, birthday, homepage, and e-mail address, then see what happened. What happened? Random "Happy Birthday" messages from complete strangers desperate for attention. Some of them weren't even in English -- one year, I think I got a message in Klingon. Because that's was the Internet is for, really -- making losers with unpopular homepages feel popular for one day a year.

The World Birthday Web went away (then came back in a different form), because the operators thought it was encouraging spammers. The only e-mail message I've gotten for my birthday today was an automated missive from the message board system at Wizards of the Coast. I guess I'm not fake popular anymore.

For the record, the only card I received in the real world was from my grandmother, so I'm not so popular in the real world either. But that's OK. Grandma still sends me twenty-five dollars every year, and I didn't feel a compelling need to celebrate my 33rd birthday anyway, because I've been 19 my entire life.

No, really. The entire time I was growing up, adults would tell me useless things like "You're very mature for your age". (I consider this a useless thing to say because it was none of the adults ever treated me like I was more mature. It's actually kind of frustrating when they do that.)

The year I was actually 19 was a good one, though, because I was really good at being 19. I was getting good grades in all my classes, I had a hot girlfriend, my friends all had high opinions of me, and everything seemed to go my way. I should have done more with that year, actually, but I was having too much fun to think about big things.

Then I turned 20, people started calling me immature, and it's been all downhill ever since. I'm a 33-year old that nobody thinks is 33, because nobody as immature as me could possibly be 33 and not be in jail. It's gotten to the point that I don't even argue with most people -- if they want to think I'm a college kid, fine. It keeps them from expecting me to do too much.

It does make it hard to date women my own age, though. I'm still trying to decide if that's a plus or a minus. Whatever. Here's to another year of being 19 -- Let's hope it goes better than the last one.

Posted at 11:54:23 PM EDT on 09 September 2004 from Trenton, MI