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What the . . . Unabashed Trolling for Birthday Wishes?

November 30, 2012

Beware of the girl at eight o’clock. Please take her to the bathroom immediately.

What the…Friday? is a weekly Friday feature in which I resuscitate a video relic from the swampy pits of Pop Culture Wasteland.

Today:  What the Unabashed Trolling for Birthday Wishes?

Tomorrow is my birthday.

Tomorrow is December 1st.

That’s right, the most forgettable day in all the land.

May I have your attention please.  There are 30 days in November.  Not 31.  No, I’m serious.  Check the calendar.

Typically by the time December 4th or 5th rolls around, my close friends and family realize it’s time to flip the calendar and then, oops, they remember they forgot my birthday.

Or they don’t remember at all.  Because it’s almost Christmas, for crying out loud.  Who has their birthdays in December when we’re supposed to be thinking about Christmas?  Needy people, that’s who.  Needy people who want attention so much they’d steal it away from baby Jesus.

Did I tell you I like attention?  Well I’m a writer, aren’t I?

Whoa, let’s not get crazy here!  Just a little attention, please, nothing over-the-top and showy.  I’m a writer, not a lounge singer or a stage actor or Ryan Seacrest or something.

Are you enjoying the music?  What you’re hearing right now is one of the world’s most freakishly tiny violins being played.  So while I already have it out of its freakishly tiny case, I will continue with a couple more sad songs about birthdays past.

Last year for my birthday I threw an ’80s party.

It was in fact the greatest ’80s party that never was.

I went all punk rock and bought some combat boots, plastered my hair into a fauxhawk, carved enough black eyeliner into my eyelids that I permanently tattooed them, grabbed-up some booze, Martha Stewarted-up some food, bought $50 worth of flashback candy, Judge Wapner cream soda, a case of Pop Rocks — regrettably.

The day of the party, the one and only blizzard of 2011 blew through my city.

By 3:00 p.m., the power lines were encased in sleet, our lights were flickering off and on and the streets became sheets of ice.  Turns out that most of the invited guests were not willing to kill themselves for the chance to wear acid-washed jeans.

This is exactly how much fun my party would have been.  When you bring on the acid-wash, you bring on the fun.

This is exactly how much fun my party would have been. When you bring on the acid-wash, you bring on the fun.

In the 12 months since that night, I’ve decided I hate Pop Rocks.  And that if you don’t eat them after so many months, they actually eat themselves.

In 2nd grade I had my very first slumber party.


Make no mistake. I’m wearing one shirt, not two.

It was a helluva bash.  Until my friend Angie discovered my Garfield diary tucked away in my dresser drawer.  As we were watching a movie, she walked into the living room reading my diary aloud as if she was casually catching up on the journal of a 19th-century homesteading grandmother — who would not have cared two 19th-century shits to have her diary read because she would be too worried about skinning dead prairie dogs in her subzero sod house.  And also because she would be dead.

Whereas I in fact cared two-thousand shits.

Also-named-Angie-friend cleared her throat to get the room’s attention and then slowly read the line, “I love Garrett Martin.  He is a fast runner.  He is the boy of my dreams.”  Then she looked up and asked earnestly, “Angie, do you really like Garrett Martin?  I didn’t know you liked him!”

Yeah, isn’t that great how diaries work?  You write down these things that no one else knows and then you get to blow people’s minds when they one day stumble upon them.  Diaries are super.

My diary had a snap on it.  A snap.  It could’ve had one of those rickety tin locks that pop open with the mere gentle batting of a newborn kitten’s paw.  But nope.  Let’s cut through the false sense of security here and just make it easy on everyone.  A snap.

In retrospect, Garfield probably wasn’t the best keeper of secrets considering his deepest thoughts — scratching out Jon’s eyes, making lasagna with Odie’s entrails — always ended up in a bubble above his head for our amusement.

After the whole diary-reading thing, I locked myself in the bathroom for much of the rest of the party, crying my eyes out while my friends tried to coax me out.   I got loads of attention so it was the best birthday ever.

After that, I didn’t have another birthday party for several years.

I attended a lot of friends’ birthday skating parties though.  But my parents were never into throwing those kinds of parties for me and my brother.  (Now switching to the extra-extra tiny violin here.)

Later, in my junior high years, I learned about this place called ShowBiz Pizza.  I heard it had mechanical animals.  I heard it had games.  I heard that kids had parties there.  I heard that kids had fun there.  I heard that kids had so much fun they had to get tetanus shots later.

I thought, gee, that would’ve been fun.

Wait, isn’t this Friday?  Don’t I need to share an old video today?  I almost forgot.  I was too busy worrying about you forgetting my birthday.

So without further ado, I present to you today’s WTF? video.  This is the way birthdays were meant to look.  If you’re wondering where I’ll be tomorrow, look for me here.  Fortunately I’m current on all my shots.

83 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2012 11:56 am

    My birthday falls on Dec 19, so I definitely get how you feel. People have a tendency to roll my birthday and Christmas gifts/party into one, so it all just blends together and doesn’t feel really special. Ah well. Such is the plight of December babies.

    • December 2, 2012 10:37 pm

      Yes, I’m so very familiar with the Christmas-birthday combo gifts. Thanks for commiserating with me.

      • December 8, 2012 12:28 am

        You can’t change your birthday, but you could always convert. Eid al-Fitr falls on July 28 next year.

      • December 20, 2012 10:33 pm

        Right on! Thanks for the tip. Wait, whaaaat is that?

    • hannah permalink
      December 21, 2012 10:26 pm

      I’m a Dec 27 baby. Which means not only do I get the birthday/Christmas combo, but there’s was never school on my birthday so I could never bring in a birthday snack or get the “birthday treat” from the teacher.

      It’s a hard knock life

      • January 1, 2013 6:33 pm

        Aw, darn! Missing birthday treat day is a travesty! That’s like the one day in school where everyone has to be nice to you. Bummer.

  2. November 30, 2012 12:00 pm

    Oh my. Hilarious. This post had it all. Pop Rocks, sad birthday parties, entrails-lasagna, Garfield.

    Did we live the same childhood or what?

    I also had a diary. But it did have a ‘lock’, not a snap. And, like the genius I was, I kept the key a mere few inches away from the diary, tucked underneath my Laura Ingalls doll, so my brothers could open it one day and humiliate me forevermore–crushing my dreams of ever having Doug Cameron ask me out to the sixth grade dance.

    And about having birthdays too close to Christmas,I feel for you. Julia’s birthday was a few days ago. Her little party is tonight and I know that for years to come, she will be complaining about how everyone’s more focused on Christmas than her birthday. At least your birthday isn’t on mine, Angie. Sept. 5.–usually the first day of school. Yeah. Talk about the world’s tiniest violin.

    So now I’ll leave you with a little song, I wrote just for you:

    “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear Angie….Happy birthday to…..yooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!! Buh-buh buh-buh buuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhh…”

    • December 2, 2012 10:41 pm

      With all your brothers running around, I don’t know why you didn’t have your diary buried in a vault.

      Doug Cameron, it’s your loss.

      That song is the best song present I ever received. Ever.

      Happy belated birthday, Julia!

  3. November 30, 2012 12:17 pm

    Oh-hoh boy. PowerPoint won’t even know what hit it when I’m through. I mean…you never heard that… HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NNNG, you attention whore! Way to go, interrupting me updating my Amazon wish list. What would Garrett Martin say?

    This line is brilliant: “It could’ve had one of those rickety tin locks that pop open with the mere gentle batting of a newborn kitten’s paw.”

    • November 30, 2012 5:35 pm

      P.S. – “Unabashed” is one of my favorite words. No idea why.

      • November 30, 2012 5:41 pm

        Is your other favorite word adieu? Because I just now realized I spelled “ado” as “adieu”. So after I slapped my face six times, I told myself it might be all okay if Jules happens to also love the word adieu.

      • December 1, 2012 7:17 am

        Ado love adieu.

    • December 2, 2012 10:44 pm

      You broke the mold with that PowerPoint, didn’t you? Wait, does the new version of PowerPoint still come inside a mold? Just wondering.

      Garrett Martin + Angie Z. = Never Meant 2 Be (it even rhymes)

  4. November 30, 2012 12:25 pm

    Poor Angie! Happy birthday. I hope all your wildest dreams come true. I hope you get a pizza party with a sundae bar.

    • December 2, 2012 10:45 pm

      Thanks, Nicki! It was a pretty great one. Even minus the sundae bar and animatronic bears.

  5. November 30, 2012 12:44 pm

    How did you ever survive? I mean so many traumas, so few years. I am wiping away tears of empathy, Angie, empathy. Because I am the other bookend — my birthday in mid-January is treated with holiday/fun fatigue. And snow. Lots of snow. Sucks to be you. Sucks to be me.

    • December 2, 2012 10:46 pm

      Elyse, I always knew we were kindred spirits. And just how did we make it out from all that snow with our bleeding hearts still in tact?

  6. November 30, 2012 12:54 pm

    I don’t miss acid-washed jeans and I never knew that about Pop Rocks, but it certainly makes sense.

    Also . . .


    What, too much? Ok….

    Happy Birthday!

    • December 2, 2012 10:48 pm

      Just the perfect amount of fanfare! Acid-washed jeans would’ve been a nice touch though.

  7. November 30, 2012 1:00 pm

    Happy Birthday! I am so glad I am a summer birthday girl. Winter birthdays are still not as tragic a your birthday on April 1st. My brother had a birthday party no one showed, because they thought it was a joke. I felt bad for him.

  8. November 30, 2012 1:24 pm

    Happy Birthday Angie!

    • December 2, 2012 10:50 pm

      Thank you! I hope I can still accept your birthday wishes even though the day has passed. This way I can milk it an extra day.

  9. November 30, 2012 1:37 pm

    Happy early birthday, Angie. I hope you can celebrate this year. Also, you should probably tell also those people who didn’t come last year that they were being selfish. True friendship means risking your life for those you love and cake.

    Mine’s on the 7th…I know exactly how you feel. It got even worse once college rolled around. The 7th fell right before finals. Everyone was either studying or leaving to go home when it was time to celebrate. Lame.

    • December 2, 2012 10:54 pm

      Happy birthday this week! I hope you have something amazing planned!

      I recently had a friend tell me she still has the sweatshirt she ripped up for my party — she’s saving it for just the right ’80s party to come along again.

  10. November 30, 2012 2:14 pm

    My birthday is December 13, so I totally feel your pain. My mom did a good job of trying to make it special, but we didn’t do a lot of parties. Squish is December 8, and he is already getting the shaft. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

    Pop rocks eat themselves. I laughed. I choked.

    • December 2, 2012 10:55 pm

      Poor Squish. I hope he has a great birthday this week!

      My mom wasn’t much for party planning. I have so far carried on the tradition. My poor kids think parties are when your grandparents come over and help you eat your cake.

  11. November 30, 2012 2:18 pm

    I forgot to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! So sorry. Here’s a bonus to make it all better. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  12. November 30, 2012 3:14 pm

    I’m not falling for it, Angie. All the comments above mine are nice, but your birthday is not today. Once again, Dec. 1st will arrive, and these same folks will have forgotten your birthday was the FIRST of DEC not the 30th of NOV. *sigh*
    I have two other friends (twins) celebrating a birthday tomorrow, too. I’ll remember. Promise.
    Your birthday also falls on Word AIDS Day, but it was your birthday first. Own it.

    • December 2, 2012 10:58 pm

      Thanks, Lenore, for sticking to the rules of birthday etiquette. I would not expect anything less from you.

      World AIDS Day, you say? I also share my birthday with Woody Allen and Bette Midler. Who are much funnier than World AIDS Day.

  13. November 30, 2012 5:29 pm

    Happy Birthday Angie! Sadly I spent all the money for your present on your Christmas present, which I then lost.

    I had to watch the video a second time, just for the glimpse of that pizza. I didn’t realize that sewage and lawn clippings were popular toppings back in those halcyon days.

    My birthday is also close to Xmas, but on the other side of the holiday, and it truly sucked. Luckily I’m so old now that birthdays are best ignored anyway.

    • December 2, 2012 11:04 pm

      You and your funny comments. You never disappoint.

      I’ll point out that the sewage and lawn clippings pizza was often local and organic. Years ahead of its time, that ShowBiz.

  14. November 30, 2012 5:49 pm

    Happy Birthday! When are those straight legged zip Guess jeans coming back?

    • December 2, 2012 11:02 pm

      When donkeys fly! And when Flo from Alice is back on TV and saying, “When donkeys fly!”

  15. November 30, 2012 6:51 pm

    Happy Birthday BBFF!!!! That video scared the shit out of me.

    • December 2, 2012 11:00 pm

      Thank you, BBFF! Yes, the video scared me too. Especially the part where the large yellow block letters come twisting through the screen to tell me that ShowBiz is America’s #1 Family Fun.

  16. November 30, 2012 7:25 pm

    Happy Birthday!! I’ll put on my acid wash for you tomorrow.

  17. November 30, 2012 7:30 pm

    Happy birthday, Angie! I hope it’s the best one yet.
    The entire description of the diary episode is so funny and creative. I don’t know how you think of these things.

  18. November 30, 2012 9:13 pm

    Nope. I am not sorry for you. I never had a slumber party. Never. Never got invited to one either. Never. So I have even tinier violins than you. But I did have a little diary in fifth grade (my writing skills lagged behind yours) – and it had a little lock. So there! But the only thing I remember writing in it – “Eleanor Roosevelt died today.” Cue the violins.

    • November 30, 2012 9:14 pm

      Oh and Happy Birthday from your slumber-party-deprived friend.

    • December 2, 2012 11:06 pm

      I still remember watching the Brady Bunch episode where Marcia has a slumber party. That is probably where it all got started. I don’t think slumber parties existed before then. They were invented for the sake of situational comedy.

  19. December 1, 2012 6:51 am

    Today is December 1st. Happy Birthday, Angie!
    Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Angie! Happy birthday to you! Hope you have a magnunderful birthday!

  20. Tony permalink
    December 1, 2012 8:26 am

    I remember reading your diary too, sis. I knew back then you were destined to be a writer (and love stinky boys.)

  21. December 1, 2012 8:35 am

    If you don’t have your diary read aloud I hear you don’t graduate adolescence.

    December birthday’s are the worst. My birthday is in perfect August but I can speak for my sister who has a December 31st birthday. Now THAT is disappointing. She couldn’t hold off to be even be a contender in the “World’s First Baby of the New Year” contest and I wasn’t allowed to go to any New Years parties growing up since birthdays were “super special” in our family and we had to devote all our time and energy to the birthday person for 24 hours. I think it was just a way for Mom to keep me from canoodling with any of the local boys.

    Have a fantastic birthday!

    • December 2, 2012 11:09 pm

      Your poor sister! And, unlike the summer vacation birthday, December 31st is the kind of poorly timed birthday you don’t overcome as you age.

      I think diaries were invented by older siblings as an espionage device.

  22. December 1, 2012 11:23 am

    First – Happy Birthday. My birthday is late November so while i don’t get forgotten as much, I am stuck in Thanksgiving land. And every 6 or 7 years I eat Turkey for my birthday and get a pie instead of cake (I hate pie). I also longed for the Showbiz party but no, mine were usually in our cement walled basement or at some family members boring house in upstate New York. So today I think you should go to Chuck E. Chesse and have the mouse sing to you while you eat some really bad pizza and a store bought cake, celebrate with the other birthday kids that are getting the dream you didn’t and do try not to get arrested in the process. Have fun!

    • December 2, 2012 11:17 pm

      Thank you! Happy belated birthday! :)

      Cement-walled basement? With like a gimp and everything?

      Sadly, I never made it inside Chuck E. Cheese yesterday. Something about a height requirement that I had apparently exceeded.

  23. December 1, 2012 2:06 pm

    I am cringing for you and your diary-read-aloud moment. I would die if my diary was ever read out. Fortunately my brothers were too busy pulling my hair to bother rooting around under my pillow.
    It might be a bit belated but “Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you.” I’m sending you a cake with a candle, blow it out, make a wish, hope it comes true. Have a great year.

    • December 2, 2012 11:13 pm

      Yikes! I hope your hair grew back! Fortunately, my diary at that time of my life was relatively benign. Now my diary in junior high on the other hand…whoever read that would’ve hit the jackpot.

      Thank you!

  24. December 1, 2012 5:24 pm

    Ummmmm….happy birthday? I’ve dug up some acid washed jeans, sprayed my bangs way up high and am crunching pop rocks in your honor!

    • December 2, 2012 11:10 pm

      Ummmm….thank you? I want a picture of that, Peg — that’d be a great present!

  25. Emily permalink
    December 2, 2012 8:43 am

    I feel your pain. My birthday is June 16th, which was fine in elementary school, but in high school, it got swallowed up by prom, finals, and other end-of-the-year stuff, in university, it was smack in the middle of the “summer” (that went from May through August), and when I lived in Australia, it always fell during study week/exams/run-up to mid-year break. Luckily, I’m really not much of a “party person,” so it works out okay, but it’s getting to the point where I’d rather just ignore the whole thing.

    • December 2, 2012 11:12 pm

      Aw, I did always feel for the summer vacation birthday kids. I remember in elementary school the kids whose birthdays were during the summer would always get these “half birthdays” celebrated during the school year. That must’ve felt completely lame.

  26. December 2, 2012 11:35 pm

    I’m so sorry about your birthday, but go for the alias birthday, like an aka name. Focus group all your friends so you can find a lull in the birthday lineup and schedule yours for your very own week of festivities. Hope you had a great birthday.

  27. December 3, 2012 1:08 pm

    Oh man, is it December ALREADY?? I guess I should turn that calendar over then, huh? Wait, what’s this? Looks like someone’s birthday was a few days ago. Oops. Oh well, maybe I’ll catch it NEXT year.

    Hope you had a very festive day, full of acid wash, pop rocks and inappropriate partying. As it was meant to be.

  28. December 3, 2012 9:36 pm

    Holy hell, that animatronic devil thing popping up first thing? Yikes. NIghtmare fuel. My brother’s birthday is Dec 23rd – he was brought home in a stocking – cause the hospital was ready to kick my mom out and go home. He has complained ever since.

    • December 20, 2012 10:42 pm

      Yes, I think I just nightmared-up pizza all over the foosball table.

      Your poor brother! It gets even worse as you get closer to Christmas. Darn it all to hell.

  29. December 4, 2012 5:49 pm

    Happy belated! Interestingly enough another blogger that I follow (I’m only following 5 right now) had her birthday on 12/1 AND it was my brother’s bday too. Don’t feel bad about writing about it – the other blogger did as well!

    As for Garfield, I had that Kliburn or something like that cat one and my friend was always reading it without asking -what’s with that indeed!

    Hope you had a great birthday and I probably would have attempted to attend your 80’s party during a blizaard had I been invited – I love the 80s and LOVE theme parties!

    • December 20, 2012 10:38 pm

      Wow! Popular day, I guess. Garfield, the punk. I’ve never trusted him with another secret since then.

      I think I need an ’80s party do-over.

  30. December 5, 2012 9:55 am

    Happy belated birthday, Angie! Hope it was rad/neat-o/gnarly/awesome/dyn-o-mite, etc.!

  31. December 7, 2012 9:04 pm

    Angie, happy birthday to you! Hope it was as amazing as you are, and that all your dreams come true. Never change. xoxo PS. Remember that birthday at the lake?!

    (i like to comment on your posts like it’s a yearbook).

    • December 20, 2012 10:35 pm

      Thanks, Simple Life! It was a great birthday. Wait, you were at the lake? I don’t remember that night very clearly. Too much booze. Can you believe we’re finally seniors?

  32. December 10, 2012 12:20 am

    Crap! Don’t I feel terrible, not reading this post until a week+ has passed since your birthday. I wasn’t even going to leave a comment due to the overwhelming sense of guilt and shame, but then I figured that prolonging the attention you receive WAY beyond your actual birthday could maybe be construed as a good thing. (Maybe?)

    I hope you had a great birthday and that acid wash jeans somehow managed to weasel their ways back into the good times. All the best for the year ahead! :)

    • December 20, 2012 10:32 pm

      Aw, Dana — no time like the present! Thank you for your kind wishes. I’ll take ’em! Acid washed jeans is all I really need in life.

  33. December 15, 2012 3:54 pm

    Angie – I got here via Elyse’s place. Very cool that you got together! Dont feel bad about that birthday thing – we share it. I’m also Nov 30 and my two younger sibs, twins, are Dec 7. We didn’t get a lot of BD love either – it was all about T’Day and Christmas. Anyway, a belated Happy to you and I’m fierce jealous that you got to hang out with Elyse!

    • December 20, 2012 10:30 pm

      Thanks for visiting . . . and thanks for commiserating with me, Moe!

  34. December 25, 2012 10:24 am

    Happy birthday & merry Chistmas! I was going to write you separate comments for both, but it’s, like, practically the same day.

    • January 1, 2013 6:32 pm

      Indeed they are. And I’m practically the same person as Jesus, you’ll find. It’s easy to see why our birthdays are one in the same.

      • January 6, 2013 2:59 pm

        I always sensed that … though I’m glad you made a different call on facial hair, and have decided to share your wisdom for more than 33 years.

  35. January 2, 2013 10:59 pm

    I love so many things about this… including that the little girl with the bowl haircut, prairie dress, and smock means I’m not the only one who looked JUST LIKE THAT then. Seriously. I have a birthday party picture somewhere to prove it.

    And you think Dec. 1 is bad? Try Nov. 23. It’s during Thanksgiving/ School holiday. Bleh.

    • January 10, 2013 5:13 pm

      That haircut was the best. I wish I could claim it as my own.

      Thanksgiving-ish birthday = Suckage.

      • January 10, 2013 11:34 pm

        Yeah, especially when your mom refers to you as a “turkey.” Repeatedly.

  36. January 2, 2013 11:12 pm

    Okay, so it wasn’t a birthday. It was a school picture. Same dif:

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