Birthdays suck. Nobody wants to get old. And most of the time? You get awful gifts you're going to forget about tomorrow.
We have an unhealthy obsession with birthdays in America, and I blame the greedy greeting card lobby. You may know about the oil and health insurance lobbys, but the greeting card peddlers are the ones you need to warn your kids about.
There will always be birthdays. The same can't be said for oil or health insurance. Ever wonder why Time Warner shells out millions to protect the copyright to "Happy Birthday"? It's because if they don't, the greeting card lobby will strike in the dead of night and steal the song and Jeff Bewkes's first born.
Sadly, some people still like it when you remember their birthday. They may not like getting older, but they like to know others were thinking of them.
What can I say? We're a needy species. Without constant reassurance that we're special, we'll crawl into the first unlocked McDonald's freezer we come across.
So, as long as we have that need, you can swing in and be a hero by remembering when people's birthdays are. It's easy too. Just log into Facebook, the Internet's creepy uncle. Among whoring out your other personal information (without your permission), Facebook has a reminder right on the front page for your friend's birthdays.
If you can find creative ways to wish someone a happy birthday, you may endear yourself to that person ... or totally butter them up to get what you want. I don't know you or your goals.. But it's best to steer far away from a "Happy Birthday" and go right for a "Happy Birthday! Here is something extra awesome to celebrate the day you joined the human race! Have a cookie!"
You don't even need a cookie. If you're talking to an attractive member of the opposite gender, you can always offer sex instead. I'm told birthdays are awesome days for hooking up. Either way, come prepared with a special birthday greeting and gift. And don't repeat gifts for different people. You don't want to be that guy.
The trick is to be prepared, be consistent, and be creative. And if you can't do that with the limitless resource that we call the Internet, then I'm going to buy you a coloring book for your birthday. No crayons though. Someone else will need to get that. I'm not going to be responsible if you eat them.
Follow Brandon Mendelson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bjmendelson