Sometimes Birthdays Don’t Suck
I remember as a kid I always looked forward to my birthday. First off it was awesome to see my little brother cry because he wasn’t getting the attention he wanted. Second, I usually got really cool stuff for my birthday. There was the baseball gloves and bats, the toy guns that always seemed to shoot some kind of projectile that would be banned using today’s standards, and then there were the bikes. Early on it was a sting ray with ape hanger handlebars and a banana seat. Then it was a Schwinn 10-Speed road bike. Finally it was a carbon fiber downhill mountain bike. And then there were the cakes. My mom always made awesome birthday cakes with cool decorations. There were car cakes, baseball cakes, a Spiderman cake, and countless other shapes and sizes. About the only time I had a bad birthday cake was the year I wanted to make my own cake.
I wanted a marble colored cake and my theory was that if one color difference was cool then 10 color differences would be awesome. So manned with boxes of food coloring and a white cake mix I went to work. There were two problems with my baking abilities. First I didn’t read the directions real well so when it asked for Baking Powder I used Baking Soda. Then realizing the mistake I made I added Baking Power. I guess I didn’t even think that too much rising agent might be bad for a cake. I poured the first color into the pan then drizzled the other nine colors around in it. I took a knife and stirred it slightly then tossed the pan into the oven. We had one of those ovens that had a window on the front so I pulled up a chair to watch the cake do its magic. What I had not expected was that the cake would slowly rise then plop over the side. Half way through the baking cycle I had more cake at the bottom of my mom’s oven than I did in the pan. What was left looked like someone had gutted an armadillo. That was the last birthday cake I ever made.
As I have gotten older birthdays have kind of lost their luster. It is now a constant reminder of how old I am getting. It’s even worse having smart aleck kids. They are now in countdown mode to when dad will soon need to break into that third box of birthday candles. They insist on an accurate candle count so that by the time all the candles are lit the first few are but wax stubs and the whole cake top is covered in a light coating of wax. Yeah birthdays just aren’t what they used to be. This year though Trina must have sensed another melancholy attitude coming because she went all out. Not only did she allow me to get the wheels for my Harley but she had a few other special gifts set aside too. I am a big camera buff and have been longing to get my hands on the new Nikon D300 digital SLR. Trina somehow managed to keep it secret for as long as she could then broke down and asked me to help her pick out just the right one. I not only got the D300 but I also received the new Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens that I have been interested in. It is not as fast as my Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 lens but is a little more versatile especially since the 18-200mm includes Vibration Reduction. That gift alone would have made it worth the ridicule of another candle countdown but Trina was not done. She and the kids had ordered a new Harley-Davidson leather jacket for me to wear on my newly customized motorcycle. It is awesome. The front and rear panels of the jacket zip off to reveal a mesh under jacket for those days when the temperatures stay in the triple digits. The jacket includes flexible body armor at both the shoulder and forearms just in case I somehow can’t stay on the bike due to my feeble old age. They can joke all they want but this jacket is pretty cool. Every time I wear it I will remember the love and jokes that we given at my expense. I guess birthdays aren’t so bad. At least not until they have to break the seal on that third box of candles.