Big news this week: Mark Zuckerberg is getting one whopper of a birthday present. His Facebook IPO could make him worth about 100 billion buckaroos. Not bad for a gift. Psbbt. [shrug] I guess.
But it pales in comparison to all the gifts I got when I turned 28 years old. It was a long long time ago and my memories are a bit foggy, but for your sake, I’ll dig deep and bring them into sharper focus so you can all revel in my good fortune and swim in a cesspool of jealousy.
On my 28th birthday…
I still lived alone and had two tabby cats. They were both indoor cats (due to a rather misfortunate run-in with a could-be-rabid-but-probably-just-drunk-as-a-skunk skunk). I woke up that morning and had to clean up their litter box. And boy, howdy! They left me quite the present. I think between the two of them, they joined forces and managed to use up every last speck of litter with what they left behind for me: the world’s largest clump. Took me two shovels and a rake to get that sucker disposed of properly. Happy birthday to me! My special day was starting off with a bang!
After the kitty cleanup, I had to go to work early. When I was 28, I was working three jobs–each one was exhausting in its own way. One was as a special ed educational technician, one as a developmental therapist for autistic children and the third job to help me barely make ends meet (…hell, sometimes the ends still wouldn’t meet but go in opposite directions) was at a candle store, which shall remain nameless but it rhymes with Hankee Candle Company. I don’t know about Mark Z., but when I turned 28 years old, I had to do actual work on my birthday. Overtime. Loading candles off a truck. Sweating like a pig. A pig that was dipped in french vanilla scented candle wax. I had worked there for years so I was oblivious to the smell but it was basically oozing out of my pores. At one point you probably could have lit a match under my nose and I would’ve burned for 12 to 18 hours straight. After a long 12 hour day, I got off my shift, stopped at the local Shop N Save, still wearing my work clothes. People in line started wheezing, coughing, gasping for air. One guy yelled out, “Holy crap! What is that stench? Make it stop, for the love of God, make it stop!” So I grabbed my six pack of Ballantine beer, Extra-Super-Clumpy cat litter, brand new shovel and economy-sized bag of cheese doodles, gave them all a dirty look and cried, “It’s my birthday! Why must you be so cruel?” Then I ran off and left them behind, choking in a pungent cloud of Gardenia mixed with Spiced Pumpkin.
After that sad display, I came home and realized a few things. It was my birthday. I was 28. I had two cats. I lived alone. I had exactly 12 dollars and 58 cents in my bank account, my fridge was stocked with nothing but YooHoos and frozen burritos, and I drove a 1992 Ford Festiva that was powered by a lightbulb. I still slept on a futon and my stereo sat on a milk crate. So I began reexamining my life. Finally, I said, what the hell, and went out on a blind double date with a strange guy with a goatee who I met at the candle store. Which leads me to my best 28th birthday present ever.
My husband (not the guy in the above picture) who not only moved in with me, but took over the litter box cleaning, threw out my futon, built me a real nightstand, married me and then got me pregnant so I eventually quit all three of my jobs.
So happy birthday, Mark Z. Kudos to you on the IPO thingy dealio. I hope your 28th birthday was as good as mine. I hear 100 billion can buy you a lot of cat litter.