Thursday, August 25, 2005

How to throw a birthday party

Dear Mr. Knowitall,

I am putting on a birthday party for my child. Have any advice?

Well, first off let me inform you that I am categorically opposed to birthday parties. Many people don't know this, but the history behind the birthday party is quite dark. Originally a pagan holiday, (Spanish for "Holy Day") it was a celebration of all things vile and wicked. It was so bad that in 492 B.C. Queen Elizabeth the 13th outlawed birthdays due to the baby shortage. The monk Addleburn issued an official church proclamation that outlawed most of the activities commonly associated with the birthday celebration. But the spirit remains unchanged to this day.

So that being said, if you still want to resurrect the spirit of a brutal and barbarous tradition that celebrates the blood of slain innocents, then here are some ideas for how to go about throwing a birthday party.

The first thing you want to do is take into account the heritage of your child. (This will most likely be the same as yours.) Here is a quick reference guide to some of the local traditions from around the world. If your nationality is not listed here just pick one of the countries that is closest to you.

  1. Japan. Space is a premium in Japan, so when they celebrate birthdays they try to find the widest open space possible such as a baseball stadium, (which over there is only 12 feet by 12 feet.) and proceed to run around in circles flailing their arms.

  1. Italy. Strangely, they don't celebrate birthdays there. I think they may be embarrassed.

  1. Mexico. In Mexico they string up pig corpses filled with little bags of cocaine, and encourage the children to smash them open.

  1. New Mexico. They string up new pig corpses filled with little bags of new cocaine, and encourage the children to smash them open.

  1. France. Most children jump off of the Eiffel tower into vats of cheese and live frogs. Since we don't have an Eiffel tower here in America, the French can't have birthdays, and are thus impervious to aging.

  1. Norway. They have a long tradition called the Jeg jogge om spille bade liker om høson, or, The Burning of the Birthday Tree. Each year they burn down a tree that is their same age. This is one of the reasons they have such strict reproductive laws there.

  1. Germany. Being nihilists, the Germans don't believe in birthdays.

  1. South Carolina. In South Carolina they celebrate birthdays with a tradition called 'back yard wrestling'. It starts by setting up folding tables, chairs, and old cars in the yard. Then they grab a camcorder, blast Limp Bizkit on a boom box, and throw each other off of the roof onto the objects below, cheering loudly when they break through them.

  1. Canada. They like to roll around in the snow when it's 60 below zero, then jump in a hot spring, then jump back into the snow, then back in the hot spring. No one knows how long this activity lasts, as all the scientists studying the phenomenon got board and left after a couple of days.

  1. Australia. They play a game that is similar to 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey'. But it's called 'Steal the Joey from the 'Roo'. This game often ends in tragedy since Kangaroos have very powerful legs and sharp claws.

For those of you who want to spurn tradition and spit in the face of your forefathers, here are some new ideas I came up with to make a memorable day for you young one.

  1. Birthday in Space. Try to recreate the moon in your house by turning all the lights off, cranking the AC to full blast, and dumping cat litter all over the floors. Have the kids put plastic bags over their heads to experience what space is like. For some extra fun, dress up like an alien and jump out of a hiding place to scare the kids. Follow the flow of Hollywood movies as you pick them off one by one. Remember, the coward goes first, followed by the blowhard, etc. etc.

  1. Pirate Theme. This could be done really well if you can rent a boat. Dress the children up in pirate costumes and have them paint a big pirate flag. Then go sailing. Make sure everyone has a sword or knife, or some other weapon. Then attempt to board an unsuspecting vessel. You wouldn't believe how easy this is now a days since no one expects piracy anymore. Make sure you kill all the passengers and sink the ship after you loot it, or you could be in for some legal issues! And most importantly, remember to say "Arrrrgh!" a lot.

  1. Pony Rides. All little girls love ponies. And all little girls love shopping. So why not mix the two. Rent a gaggle of horses and ride them through the mall. But be careful on the escalators.

Many of these ideas are elaborate and expensive. Here are some cost-saving tips for how to have your birthday cake and eat it too.

  1. Celebrate your child's birthday every 1.5 years.

  1. Next time you visit your doctor, check the dumpster out back for discarded rubber gloves. Free balloons!

  1. Instead of party favors, hand out rags and trash bags. The last game will be "Clean the House!"

  1. Instead of those expensive number-shaped candles on the birthday cake, use a road flair.

  1. McDonalds and Chuck E. Cheese wants to charge you money to have a birthday there, but I found a way around the system. Have your birthday party in the play-area tubes. Just don't put the cake too close to the slide.

  1. Children love presents. But they don't need them.

You didn't specify how old your child is so I will give you some tips for "adult" birthday parties. (No, not that kind of "adult" you pervert!)

  1. Grown-ups seem to like different food than children do. So instead of cake and ice-cream, serve asparagus and lutefisk.

  1. Adults are more brave than kids, so instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, try pinning the tail on live alligator.

  1. As we mature, we become stronger, so instead of party poppers, pass out sticks of dynamite. (Quarter-sticks for teens.)

  1. Instead of punch serve adult beverages like V-8.

  1. Other than that, adults are identical to children in every way, so just refer to my first lists.

All in all birthdays can be fun occasions. (Though I've never personally had any fun at them, and I really don't understand what they are supposed to be commemorating.)

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