Birthdays and Buffets


Add this one to the ever-growing list of strange but not necessarily unpleasant birthday stories—

This year I’m turning 25. A quarter of a century.

In the same year that I was born, way back in 1988, the Winter Olympics were held in Canada (which likely explains at least part of my affection for all things Canadian, eh?). The first McDonalds to ever open in a Communist country opened in Yugoslavia. And Mehran Karimi Nasseri began his 17 year long stay in Charles du Galle Airport in Paris.

I’ve noticed that one of those cliched truths that your parents espouse about growing up is, shockingly, true. They said that family will always be the most important thing in my life. They said to always stick together. They said be nicer to my brother. All these things they said, which were easily dismissed when I was 16-21 and happy to be doing my own thing, were completely true as I move further and further into “real” adulthood.

I have a huge, hilarious group of siblings. I refer to them at work and outside the family circle as “my clan of siblings,” because there’s 5 of them (and there’ll officially be 6 once my sister gets married, because my pending brother-in-law has been around so long that he’s practically got tenure) and that’s not counting boyfriends/girlfriends/significant others, current or future.

So my birthday is August 3rd and my future brother-in-law’s is July 31. We’re both rabid fans of the Barona Resort & Casino buffet and me, being the brilliant guy I am, suggests that me, him, and my sister truck out there for a delicious, if extremely fattening, birthday buffet night. See, I can share like a good boy…

While we’re discussing this my other sister asks if she can come too, a little indignantly, because there we were planning this elaborate dinner scheme in front of her without inviting her. Poor form on our part, I confess, but two sisters and one fiancé are on board with the Birthday Buffet at this point so attendance is shaping up nicely. I call my brother and ask if wants to come too. Brother says no, he has work, and I don’t really push it and leave it at that because I was a poor college student once too.

This morning, I’m at work, and my phone angrily explodes with activity. I’ve missed three texts and one call from my youngest sister—who’s pissy because I didn’t invite her on the Birthday Buffet excursion. I cover my ass by saying that I thought she was out of town (that’s what my parents told me) and, of course, invite her along too. The more the merrier, right? She not-so-suavely fishes for an invitation for her boyfriend, which I don’t have a problem with, and they’re set.

So at this point I’m up three sisters, one boyfriend, and one future brother-in-law that I’m sharing this Birthday Buffet with, so this is a pretty good group already.

Sometime after lunch my phone goes off again. It’s my brother asking if we can go somewhere else because Barona is expensive. I offer to pay for him because I’m nothing if not my siblings’ piggy bank and he, unsurprisingly, is in. 6:30 pm rolls around and I’m done at work—I call my sister because they’re all meeting in San Diego and leaving from there while I drive down from Carlsbad. My sister answers and promptly informs me that we’ve also picked up my youngest brother, who is 8 and the life of any party, and that he will be accompanying us to the Birthday Buffet Extravaganza.

If you’re having trouble keeping count, here’s the final tally: three sisters, one boyfriend, one future-brother-in-law (who I’m sharing this Birthday Buffet Extravaganza with, mind you), and two brothers (one of whom is 8 and, I’m not ashamed to admit this, is totally my favorite).

If there is a God, then I’m pretty sure that he’s ashamed by the things we did at that buffet. I mean we were just indecent at certain points. Maybe it was the gluttony? I had two entrees and three deserts. Maybe it was using the Lord’s name in vain? My sister shouted “Walk with Jesus!” at me as I headed for the desert stand. Maybe it was lust? Our waitress actually trotted out a pitcher of Diet Coke for us.

In the end, we won’t know for sure exactly how disappointed God was this evening until we die—which could very well be tonight, given how clogged our arteries must be. I don’t regret a minute of it and, for what started out as a three person excursion that expanded into a group of my favorite people on Earth, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Happy Birthday…to me…and also to Steven, I guess…

Taylor and Steven, David, Alex, Amanda and Daniel, and Logan…you’re my favorite human beings in the history of my life. Thanks for a great 25th birthday!


2 thoughts on “Birthdays and Buffets

  1. Nina Nena

    Love, food and Bubba! Happy early birthday and tons of love to u Bren, great piece. You truly are a voice of your generation.

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