Then, e-cards absolved us of the oh-shit-grandma’s-birthday-is-TODAY guilt. Plus, phone calls were still valuable emotional currency. And maybe I’m just unspeakably rude, but it’s gotten to the point where I only call blood relatives on their birthdays. Close friends might get texts if I remember, but EVERYONE gets a Facebook message.
Why? Well, partially because without Facebook’s upper righthand corner, I would never know when anyone’s birthday actually was. And also because the Facebook Happy Birthday has become the lowest common denominator of affection. It’s so easy (now you don’t even have to go to the person’s wall–the message box appears right on your homepage!) and you’re already there–so, really, unless you have a legitimate reason to hate the person whose birthday it is, you’re basically obligated to throw your uninspired well-wishes onto the pile.
BUT WHAT TO WRITE? You’ve got some options:
1. THE CLASSIC
(Of course, you can lowercase the B if you want. Get crazy. A single exclamation point is standard. If you don’t use any punctuation, you look like a serial killer, just FYI.)
2. THE INTIMATE CLASSIC
Happy Birthday, Mike!
(This proves you took the time to glance at the person’s name and retype it. This obviously makes you and Mike BFFS, and straight-up schools the impersonal Classic writers.)
3. THE OVEREAGER INTIMATE CLASSIC
Happy Birthday, Mike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope it’s a GREAT ONE, BUDDY!!!!!!!!!
(I pity these fools, but at the same time, I get it. Say you really ARE besties with Mike? How are you supposed to distinguish yourself from the other people who so thoughtfully included his correctly-spelled first name, other than have the most exclamation points, plus a generic message of goodwill? Oh! Maybe…)
4. THE INTIMATE CLASSIC, NICKNAME EDITION
Happy Birthday, Mikey Skidmarks!
(Yeah, in your face, sycophants. Nobody knows Mike like I do.)
5. THE RSVP
[Insert any of the previous greetings here]. Can’t wait to douse you in Jager bombs on Friday!
(Nothing says love like a passive-aggressive intimation that you are invited to someone’s party and the rest of these poseurs aren’t.)
6. THE MINIMALIST
(This is the James-Spader-in-Pretty-in-Pink of FB birthday messages: cool, pretentious, with a cigarette hanging from its lips and a sneer of superiority. What has two thumbs and only had to use one of them to type Mike’s birthday message? This guy.)
7. THE ARTIST
(Someone always has to get fancy. Yeah, thanks for making me scroll down for this vertical version of what everyone else already wrote, asshat.)
8. THE NO-SHOW
(I take it all back. Who says you have to write on Mike’s wall for his birthday? Maybe you didn’t check Facebook today, because you were too busy waiting on line at the post office to send him a card. Retro is so hot right now, just look at Instagram! And hey, when he gets it sometime next month, he’ll know you care the most. Definitely more than that d-bag with the Jager bombs.)
NEXT TIME: How to Memorialize a Dead Celebrity on Facebook and (Maybe) Not Sound Like A Douchebag. Hint: Do not express shock and awe that the person in question wasn't already dead.