“It’s a birthday business,” she said. “I sign people up for birthday rewards, and then they get free stuff on their birthdays.”
“What kind of stuff?” we asked.
“Oh, lots of stuff,” she said. “There are over 53 businesses in our area that offer birthday freebies. Free burgers at fast food joints, discounted steaks at restaurants, and complimentary banana splits at ice cream parlors.”
I wondered if the stomachache would be no charge as well.
“But it’s not just food,” she went on, “There are free lip glosses at the beauty store, trial periods at the gym, and no charge eyebrow waxes at the salon. If you have a dog, it can get a free trim, if you have a car, you can take it for a free wash, and if you have hair you can get a free perm. Swimmers get a free swim at the pool, hikers get a free hike at the park, and readers get their library fines paid for the duration of their birthday month.”
We all marveled at the free things available to us just for being born.
April is my birthday month, so a few weeks ago I received coupons in the mail for my favorite shoe store. After reading the fine print, I was delighted to find I could use all three coupons together and looked forward to a significant discount off my next purchase of footwear.
Of course, we all know the end of the story, because it’s happened to everyone I have known, met, or heard of. After driving 30 minutes to the store I was told I was mistaken, that the phrase on the back of the coupon saying “you may use this with up to two other coupons” actually meant the opposite, and that I would have to spend twice as much in order to use my birthday coupons. I walked out of the store empty-handed.
While businesses try to suck money out of you on your birthday by offering “rewards” and “freebies,” the government gets right to the point. Between taxes, driver’s license renewals, and plate updates, my mailbox has been bursting with notices commanding, “SEND ME ALL YOUR MONEY!”
If they took time to acknowledge my birthday at all, it would go something like this:
(to the tune of Happy Birthday)
Of course, the government’s extraction from my wallet and businesses’ attempts to do the same is to be expected. Besides, don’t the best birthday gifts come from those who love us unconditionally, giving freely with no expectation?
Take my mom for example. Last night she told me she has the Monday after my birthday off from work and suggested we celebrate as a family, including a meal of my choice for dinner. Thanks Mom! I plan to skip out on the salon, ignore the shoe store, and pay my bills early, because I can’t think of a more lovely thing to do for my birthday.