I Know I Am Going To HellMay 7, 2017
Slip ‘N SlideMay 24, 2017
The last time I remember actually looking forward to my birthday was at the tender age of seven. I am not trying to come off like a killjoy with that statement. As the years have flown by, birthdays have become a little difficult for me. The reason being that, I loathe being reminded of the need to settle down repeatedly especially on that day. Calls from family and some close friends will assuredly be signed off with the customary prompt to settle down before you get too old nugget of advice. Ugh!!
As my birthday draws near, May 13th to be precise, I wanted to share a few thoughts. To me, a birthday is worth noting for one reason only; to thank your Maker for the fact that you are still breathing! I have spent quite a number of my birthdays alone however, I have a few memorable birthdays I’d like to share.
My first memorable one occurred 3 decades and 6 years ago. I was seven years old at the time. Like many boys at that age, I was fond of girls and curious about them too. My birthday fell on a Monday that year which I absolutely hated by the way. Luckily, my class teacher at the time had a soft spot for birthdays. She brought in a cake and some refreshments to commemorate the day for my twin brother and I. Everyone gathered around, sang us a happy birthday song and we blew out the candles. After commandeering a huge slice of cake for my greedy self, I noticed my crush standing by the window eating a piece of cake by herself. What did I do? The guess is yours.
I walked up behind her and lifted up her skirt to see what she had underneath. Hey, judge not lest thou be judged. Okay, that move was quite creepy and inappropriate, I’ll admit, but what the heck did I know then? I was a very curious 7-year-old boy for crying out loud and it was my birthday! Boy, was I about find out the meaning of “to be sorry” for being a naughty little boy!!
Horrified, she turned around, screamed at me and run straight to the teacher. I tried to stop her mid-way by offering her candy and a bottle of Fanta but she wasn’t having any of that. My bribery attempts were futile anyway since other kids had seen me reach for her skirt. Needless to say, everyone forgot it was my birthday and my day went from extreme excitement to utterly crappy in a matter of minutes. The Teacher grabbed me by my shorts, pulled me to the front of the class and reached for a cane she affectionately nicknamed “wretched.” In retrospect, that was a pretty twisted name to give a cane, don’t you think?
Anyway, she whipped the black and brown off me until I lost my voice from screaming in pain. Who the heck gets caned on their birthday? Worse still, at a birthday party being held in their honor. Maybe this episode is the reason why I have never cared for birthdays past age seven. My miserable day did not end at school, to say the least. Many thanks to my twin brother who ratted me out as soon as we got home. My parents did not give my little hiney any rest either. I endured a second bout of whipping that evening. I must say, I had a very “wretched” seventh birthday. One which is forever etched in my memory.
Come to think of it, I am still fond of girls, still curious about girls and I am absolutely still lifting skirts. The only difference is, I hear a different kind of scream when I lift a skirt.
My 29th birthday thankfully fell on a Saturday and I felt obligated to step out for a nice meal. I went to a nice restaurant and ordered a sea bass dinner. I told the waitress when she first came over that it was my birthday. Just to be silly, I asked if they had some candles because I was going to order a slice of cake for dessert. I wasn’t trying to come off as pathetic. I was honestly glad to be out of the house doing something to celebrate my birthday. I ordered a glass of wine as well and turned to my cell phone and social media for the company. Interesting enough, over 150 friends had written birthday messages but only two followed up with a phone call. Don’t you sometimes wonder how lovely it would be if all the friends who write birthday messages actually took the time to call or pay you a visit?
At dessert, the waiter brought me the cake with candles and sung me a happy birthday song with three of her co-workers. After her co-workers left, she asked if she could sit with me. I was shocked by the request as it was unexpected. I said yes and she smiled, turned and walked away. I was confused until she came back with another slice of cake. The extra slice was for her. We ate cake and chatted for about fifteen minutes, the duration of her work break. A stranger from nowhere devoted 15 minutes of her time to keep me company on my birthday. I was beyond grateful for her kind gesture. Before I left the restaurant, I asked the manager for her birthdate. I returned three months later to surprise her with a big birthday present and to say thanks again for her kindness.
My 40th birthday fell on a Tuesday of all days. Talking about Tuesdays, permit a short rant on this matter. I honestly don’t like Tuesdays. It is just a day away from Monday and is way off from Friday. On Mondays, one know that one has no option so sucks it in. On Wednesdays, happy thoughts develop because you are halfway through the busy week. On Thursdays, one can literally smell the weekend closing in. Fridays are simply delightful. Who needs Tuesdays? Anyway, I digress.
40 is supposed to be a memorable birthday and most celebrate that day with special events, parties or overseas trips. The evening of my 40th, I wrote a reflective piece about my day. Below are excerpts.
I am also reminded of the time my big brother hit the same milestone. He held a big party to celebrate. My mum was there, so was my sister, other family members, his wife, his kids and all his friends. I remember the happy moment when my mum said that she wanted to dance with my big brother because she was the one who brought him onto this earth. I watched with joy as they danced and daydreamed about what I will do to celebrate when I hit the same milestone.
I hit that milestone today and my day went pretty much the same way as I had always daydreamed. I was handed a cake with a bunch of candles by all the people that I love and cared about. There were tears of joy as they sang for me and showered me with hugs and kisses.
But wait a second! I am that ghost. That phantom at an opera, my birthday opera precisely, so allow me to make a correction. There was no cake, no singing, no hugging and no kisses. There was no one around, it was just me. This is my own doing. I am paying the dues for every load that I picked up and dropped in life.
On my birthday, I celebrate me and give thanks to my Maker for another year of life. Whether I spend the day with friends, family or spend the day alone, I do not shy away from doing whatever makes me the happiest. My suggestion to all is to spend your birthday appreciating, spoiling, and loving you.
On my birthday this year, I will be hopping on a red-eye flight the night prior. I will be 10,000 feet above the earth when my birthday rolls in. Hopefully, the seat next to me will be empty and a tall skinny air hostess will offer to sit next to me and keep me company. If not, a couple of miniature airplane bottles filled with spirits will do just fine.
Do not forget to wish me a happy birthday!
By Kwadjo Panyin
Author: Kwadjo Panyin
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.