Small Wonders: Everybody likes birthdays

August 21, 2010

The first one came at 5 p.m. the day before: "Happy Birthday, mate! Go the Leos!"

David's an Australian in Germany, which justifies his use of the word "mate," and the fact that his birthday greeting hit me on Facebook before the actual day. It's nice to know that someone across the pond was raising a pint toward a friend in the West.

There's a notice on Facebook that lets everyone you are "friends" with know when it's your birthday. And all day long you receive both simple and inventive birthday greetings from them. I've used it for close friends as well as those that I probably wouldn't think to send a card to under other circumstances. With the click of a mouse and a few typed words, I feel like a good friend, or at least a better one than I've been in the past.


Puritans of the formal birthday wish would scoff at this virtual and insincere form of exchanging pleasantries. But for a guy who spends so much of his time alone staring at a computer, such "human" interaction is welcome.

Nick: "Happy Birthday Buddy."

Dave: "Many happys on your special day."

Lee: "Happy Birthday PC!!!"

And in keeping with this technological greeting, instead of replying to each and every one of these well-wishes with a written "thank you," I chose to "Like" each of them with yet another easy click of the mouse. A button on Facebook allows you to express your appreciation for something by simply clicking "Like."

This sends a response back to the sender letting them know that "Patrick Caneday likes this." Think about what I'm saving in paper, fossil fuels and government overspending by merely clicking "Like" rather than sending real thank you cards in the mail. It's my way of going green.

Justin: "Hey Birthday bud!! Hope all is well." — Like

Allison: "happy happy birthday!!!" — Like

HaroldandBillie: "Aloha and Hau'oli l?? h??nau!!!" — Like

Besides people's underuse of the comma and overuse of the exclamation mark, I wonder why so many of them are on Facebook during the workday. No wonder the economy is in the toilet. Even if they have a job, no one's working.

I didn't intend on really thinking about my birthday today, but with the constant stream of birthday wishes trickling in, it's hard not to. It makes one reflect on the years past and put things into perspective.

Scott and Kiersten: "Hey neighbor! Happy Birthday! Let's have a drink!" — Like

Chris: "Happy Birthday little bro! Hope you have a great day! I love you!" — Like

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