Happy Birthday

I have the privilege of being part of one of the most savage group texts in the history of the United States of America.

Theoretically, this group text was started to discuss poker strategy. We’ve spent about 12 seconds discussing poker and 3 years mercilessly making fun of each other. In fact, 40% of the people in the thread rarely or never even play poker anymore.

If one member of this group were to consume too much alcohol at a Christmas party hosted by another member of this group and wind up passed out face down on the floor next to the Christmas tree, he might expect for that to be a frequent topic of conversation in the thread. He certainly would expect that his picture would be taken in that moment and that the picture might be re-posted every few months for no apparent reason whatsoever. Sure am glad I’m not that guy.

There’s no shortage of possible reasons for these fine gentlemen of valor to make fun of your humble author. However, I have to admit that I’m a bit puzzled by the most recent reason I’ve been targeted: They make fun of me for telling people happy birthday on Facebook.

This isn’t a difficult thing to do. I get a notification every morning, it tells me who has a birthday and right there you can wish that person a happy birthday. It takes like 5 seconds.

I’m not claiming to be some kind of saint for doing this. To me, it’s not a big deal. And there are a few people I’m Facebook friends with who don’t get a birthday message. My rule of thumb is that if I walked past you on the street and knew it was your birthday, would I stop and tell you happy birthday to your face? For the majority of my Facebook friends the answer is yes, so I write a a few words and move on with my day. Sometimes I don’t get around to opening Facebook at all and then I miss people’s birthdays, and I don’t carry guilt about that. But if I have 30 spare seconds and know you well enough to give you a hi on the street, I’ll send you a birthday greeting.

When I was growing up, there was an old lady at our church (Draper Park Christian in South OKC) who would call everyone in the congregation on their birthday. They had the birthdays listed in the directory. I always thought it was sweet of her to take a few minutes out of her day to wish happy birthday to punk kids like me who probably didn’t even say hi to her on Sunday mornings. (And this was back when she actually had to pick up a phone and call someone). On my birthday, it gives me a tiny bit of joy to read everyone else’s birthday greetings even though I haven’t physically talked to most of those people in years and very few of them would actually know when my birthday was if Facebook didn’t tell them. So I also like to pass that tiny bit of joy along to those who have friended me.

Anyway, this crock pot of Grinches I’m in a group text with like to make fun of me for this. They’ve been doing it for months. And then recently I accidentally gave them some pretty good ammo.

On Feb. 23 I wished happy birthday to a dead guy.

It was a guy who used to play poker fairly regularly. He wasn’t incredibly old but I did know that he had been sick and I hadn’t seen him in several months. But come on, who’s gonna assume the guy is dead?

One of these Sherlock McScrooge’s figured it out or knew it already and fired that screenshot into the group text. Oopsies.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst — and funniest — thing is that Feb. 23 is also the birthday of one of my best friends. Who also happens to be in the group text. And I DIDN’T wish him a happy birthday.

I’ve known Scott Angvire since before he could legally drink. And now he’s super old. He helped me out big time just a few days before his birthday, and he’s even babysat my kids before. But Scotty Hammersticks isn’t on Facebook, so I didn’t get a reminder there, and this old man’s mental calendar was off by a day. I thought the 24th was the 23rd, so I texted him personally then to say happy birthday. That’s when he told me his birthday was the day before — the same day I said happy birthday to a dead guy and not one of my best friends.

Thankfully, Scott had grace on me for being an idiot. So go ahead and wish Scotty and the dead guy a belated Happy Birthday on here. Hopefully next Feb. 23 I’ll be able to remember which one of them is alive.

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