Apr 23rd, 2012 | By | Category: Columns

Recently I celebrated the 29th anniversary of my birth, and my mother took it upon herself to to embarrass me at work. So, the day before my birthday, a family friend/co-worker wheels a giant SpongeBob cake back to my cube and proceeds to sing “Happy Birthday” loudly and off-key (bless her heart). Clearly, my mother doesn’t know me as well as she assumed as I thought the SpongeBob cake was pretty freaking sweet. In fact I have placed the plastic effigy of Mr. SquarePantaloons that adorned the cake on top of a cabinet in my cube. Anyway, this family friend was followed by a handful of people also coming to wish me well on my day of birth. Such great comradery right? Wrong. Been at my current job for a little over a decade and I made it my mission to ensure none of them knew when my birthday was and I assure you, outside of one friend, all of them are working under the assumption that I’m still 18.

So you’re probably thinking, “Well, Chris, it’s obvious that upon seeing the birthday cake they figured it out and wanted to wish you well.” Oh, if only I were that naïve. True, it is the cake that prompted their “Happy Birthday” wishes, but they weren’t there for the sake of being personable or polite, they were there for the free cake, and are working under the assumption that the birthday boy would gladly share his said cake with them.

“Gladly” is not a word I would associate with “share.”


Hands off, bottom-feeders


Yes, we were all taught about the merits of sharing from various sources when we were growing up: parents, teachers, Sesame Street, drug addicts, the list of influential sources go on and on. Now, one could argue that we were educated about sharing at such a young age in hopes that it established a “do for others” type mentality, to take it upon yourself to share what you have with those who are without. That, my darlings, is a crock. It’s quite possible this could be one of the emotional/social shortcomings of being an only child and you could go so far as to label me as “spoiled,” but the concept of sharing is a total load. I don’t understand why I need to forfeit a tiny piece of my happiness to appease you. I have no problems cooking for friends, or attending potlucks and all those sorts of things as everyone is getting something out of the deal. But me giving something up because you asked? No way. That sharing lesson we were taught as wee tykes wasn’t to help build a strong foundation, but to keep the adults happy. We were taught to “do right” not for the sake of doing so, but because it meant less noise for them.

Case in point: all of us have at one time or another received a toy that was so incredibly awesome that all other toys paled in comparison and were nothing but cheap hunks of plastic or overstuffed cloth pieces, so naturally, being the little bastards that we were, brought it in to show everyone:

“Hey, my mom bought me this shiny new R/C car for my birthday! Watch what I can do with it!:

The other children gather around, watching in awe as you flip the car over, and gleefully run over to it to place it right side up. One child in this rabble of booger-eaters decides he would like give it a whirl and asks as best as a six year old could, which translates to asking permission while reaching for the controller. You quickly realize that if you don’t act, not only will he get a turn, but it’ll be passed around the entire daycare, its batteries drained, robbing you of the tiny slice of sanity you brought to your baby bumper prison to get you through the day. Mustering as much civility as you can (in an effort to not end up on the “Naughty List”), you jerk the controller away as you boldly exclaim “No!” Should be end of it, right? Nope, he then proceeds to assertively reach for the controller, and his single utterance of “Please?” has shifted to “GIMME!” with the distinct possibility that stupid or doodie-head was said right along with it, and as we all know “dem’s fightin’ words.”

So, you shove him, he shoves you, a few kids in the group start crying, and the child care overlords come rushing over to separate you two. You’re both placed in time-out and the oppressors proceed to question the children as to why the fight started. The have-not simply states that he wanted to “see” the toy, so, the teacher then comes over to you, meets you at eye level, and admonishes you as you weren’t willing to share, and what happens? That have-not gets to play with your toy, it’s passed around the day care and its batteries aren’t simply drained, the car itself is broken. So, because they didn’t want to deal with the headache that comes with someone whining about not getting to play with someone else’s toy, these jerks forced the owner to “give up the goods,” and when met with objection form the rightful owner, abused their power and punish the child further as he “wasn’t playing nice.”

Fuck that.

As a result, we all have become jaded to the very concept of sharing and view it as a necessary evil. Sure, sharing meant shoving matches behind the swingset, time-outs and a few toddler knife fights, but not-sharing means knowing that what’s yours will still be yours when all is said and done.

Which brings me back to the birthday cake. In all my time at my job, not once did I engage in conversations with those well-wishers for any longer than I was forced to. I was cordial and respectful when necessary, but I didn’t go out of my way to do so. Now, at nine o’clock in the morning, here they come to wish me a “Happy Birthday!” while reaching for a plate in the process. I’d like to say I threatened them while brandishing a plastic fork, but I didn’t, I allowed them to partake in the cakey goodness. I could’ve easily said “No” without batting a beautiful eye, but I am an extremely lazy man and I was going to have to carry this cake out to my car, then up to my apartment–the simple fact of anticipating having to do all that already drained a portion of my energy.

Indeed, my openness to sharing is an attempt to lessen my load or rid myself of it all together, not to spread the love.


Chris hates anyone or anything which goes against how he feels a sentient being with more than three brain cells should act. He hopes to use his “Encyclopedia Douchebag…ica” as a springboard into becoming a full-fledged, tax exempt religion complete with holidays and greeting cards, mainly so he can steal from its coffers. His hopes are…not that high, knowing that those who needs his guidance most, are unable to read his words… what with the extra flesh from their sloped, ape-like foreheads blinding their eyes from the truth.

When not acting like a complete bastard (which is not very often), Chris writes about all things video game related on his blog iNOOBriated, and his Twitter. He also offers his services as a freelancer for Beckett’s Massive Online Gamer. Yep, he’s a neeeeeerd.

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