From piñatas to skating to beer for breakfast, birthday parties go downhill fast

Sunny Astorga

This happens to me every year. It starts in about July. I start telling myself, "Self, your birthday is in a couple of months, and maybe you should have a party. You know, a nice little jamboree with all the pals. We can have beverages and music. All your closest pals will show up. Heck, maybe you'll even get a gift or two."

I finally come back to reality and realize it is hard enough to try and get my friends to meet me at the UC on time. A little more reality kicks in, and, if I may steal one of Jesse Handy's phrases, "a Benetton ad from hell" would best describe a room full of my friends.

It would be nothing more than people staring at each other wondering why I would have invited a person like that. Selecting music to keep people dancing would be an arduous task in itself.

I had several birthday parties in my earlier years, and the problems I think about now had no chance of occurring back then. It's all so complicated now.

I've gone through several phases of birthday parties. I've done the skating rink thing, I've been to Chuck E Cheese's, and my parents even splurged one year for Malibu Castle.

In the early years, say the first seven of my life or so, the parties were always at home. I remember I always had a piñata.

Imagine this. Here I am, in an all black neighborhood, and Daddy throws some rope over the tree in the front lawn. Some of the black kids from the other end of the street ride their bikes nearer to see what in the world was going on.

Inquisitive stares come from the kids on bikes that were now circling the party scene. At the first crack of the piñata, as the shower of candies began, they suddenly feel invited and are fighting for their share of the stash.

That's just how it was back then. Who cares about invitations? It didn't take anything to get kids to come to your party.

Since about the age of 18, and due to the combination of work and school, I usually only have enough time for a family dinner on my birthday.

This year was no different, even though I was turning 21. That's right - it happened again. I chickened out around the end of August even though everyone was pushing me to have a party. After all this is the "big" birthday right?

Just one small problem - those same people hooting and hollering about a party will be the main ones that don't show up. Unlike in the olden days, it takes more than the lure of candy to get people to come to your party.

Needless to say, when I awoke yesterday it was a typical day - late to class, playing catch up with reading and trying to comprehend how I could be behind in only the third week of the semester.

Okay, so maybe it was a little different. I just might have awoken yesterday morning knowing that, if I wanted to, if I really wanted to, I could have legally purchased an alcoholic beverage for breakfast. I couldn't have done that the day before.

So now what? Is it all downhill from here? Will any of the other birthdays give me an open invitation to do something I couldn't the day before? Well, I can always look forward to 25 - I've had my eyes on a mean-looking rental car.

Sunny is a junior journalism major who felt it was time to get rid of the mugshot in which she looked like a 12-year-old.

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