By the time you read this, I’ll already be 65 and enrolled in Medicare.
I still have my health, a roof over my head, and possibly up to five or more years left in me, so why am I not brimming with optimism and giddy as a schoolgirl?
Oh, I don’t know; maybe because like New Year’s resolutions, I land here every Sept. 19, but nothing ever changes?
Jerry Seinfeld summed it up perfectly at a trendy restaurant with Elaine, George and George’s hot, over-his-head, Asian-American lawyer date. After Cheryl apologized for taking a call from her aunt, whose birthday it was, Jerry said solemnly, “Well, birthday’s are merely symbolic of how another year has gone by and how little we’ve grown.
No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge, with each flicker of the candles on the cake, we know that it’s not meant to be, that for the rest of our sad, wretched, pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end.
“Inevitably, irrevocably … Happy birthday? No such thing.” Of course, Jerry isn’t normally so depressingly glum; he was simply complying to George’s desperate request to not be so funny so she would find George as funny as when she originally met him. I guess we’ve all been there with a funnier friend whose hilarious shadow we languish in.
Alone with Cheryl for coffee the next day, soliciting legal help for his Pakistani friend Babu, Jerry reaches for the coffee creamer when she warns, “I think it’s curdled,” and he mutters, “I don’t care.”
She observes with a look of motherly love, “You’re a very serious person, aren’t you?” “Well, with so many people in the world deprived and unhappy, it doesn’t seem like it would be fair to be cheerful.”
She continued the inquisition with increasingly endeared concern, “Do you ever laugh?” “Not really.
Sometimes when I’m in the tub,” he answered forlornly. As if about to cry, she cooed, “That’s so sad. “What do you do?” “I’m a comedian” he answered.
Well, it turns out the ruse backfired when the gorgeous gal admitted to George – who was supposed to suddenly seem more charmingly-hilarious – “Yes, I’m attracted to him. He’s dark and disturbed.” Shocked, George brags he’s way more disturbed and inadequate than Jerry confessing it was all an act. Jerry, “can’t not be funny,” he pleads. She exited his car in a disillusioned huff.
Getting back to my birthday, Jerry’s mock tribute was funny ’cause it’s true. I can’t count all the times I’ve said, “This year I’ll go to bed earlier, get up before noon, and do at least one thing productive each day.”
The next morning I’m hitting the snooze, waking up hours later, and producing absolutely nothing except self-loathing frustration.
I’m like Jerry pretended to be. Everyone seems to think I’m carefree and unable to not be funny. They don’t realize the smile upon my face is only there trying to fool the public. They can’t see the tears of a clown … when there’s no one around.
Happy birthday? Yeah, right, and there’ll be lasting peace in the Middle East this year.