You’re a year older and another closer to the grave. The only thing to make your birthday worse is when your coworkers find out. They always do have their way of finding out too. Blame can probably be placed on human resources for trying to make things more human by denying us our basic rights to behave like the animals we truly are.
As you enter the building you hope something more important happens to distract from the attention you are about to receive. It’s not good attention either, except for maybe the one smile from the cute girl who hopefully dots the “i” in her name on your card with a heart.
All morning long you wait for someone to acknowledge your birthday. Nobody does–at first. They want you to feel that false sense of security that you are in a safe place free of invaders of your personal life. Eventually someone lacking social skills interrupts and wishes you a happy birthday. Afterwards all bets are off and the well wishes begin to surround you.
While you’re busy working, an email has been sent to everyone letting them know to meet at the designated area at 12:30 to cut the cake. This isn’t some profane joke where cheese has been replaced with cake. They really mean people are supposed to stand in a circle, place a sharp piece of metal to a baked good, and slice it into squared triangles. Sacrificial pagan rituals are less brutal than this.
Until the time arrives you pretend you don’t know what’s going on as people who don’t usually communicate with each other get up from their seats all at once. You hear their voices making small talk about the excel files and other things you use to block Internet Explorer on your computer.
The time comes where you are summoned by the supervisor, sometimes under guise that you did something wrong. The only thing you actually did do wrong was existing or maybe it’s writing your correct birthday on your W-4 when you were hired. Whatever your mistake was it’s too late to take it back.
Halfheartedly your coworkers sing “Happy Birthday” and somehow are not sued. You are handed a knife then told to cut the cake. Some coworkers, the diabetic ones, return to their seats almost immediately. Meanwhile others circle around like vultures waiting for their turn at cake to come. And even if you didn’t want the cake in the first place you eat a piece because it’s rude in our culture to make a decision on your own.
Silently you eat your cake back at your desk. By the time you finish the hyenas have gone in for seconds. The day comes to an end and you head home only to search online all night long for jobs you can work from home.