Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Greeks Invented Birthdays


I walk into the florist in Astoria. As I enter, I notice a pudgy man standing near the register eating a slice of cake. This momentarily distracts me from the fact that the selection in this store so sparse, I wonder if a) they've changed owners or b) they're going out of business.

Suddenly, Happy Birthday is sung to a female coworker and I have two simultaneous thoughts: 1. Why are they singing after having cut the cake? 2. Should I ask for a slice, having already crashed their impromptu party?

As I search in vain for something presentable to buy as a gift, I overhear the workers talking.

Birthday Girl: No, don't do that! It's bad luck to light a candle with a match! Use a lighter!
Male Coworker: Oh, come on! What are you, nuts? This is old school. This is how we do it.
Birthday Girl: (adamant, crazed, stupid) No, it's bad luck to light a candle with a match!

Cake not lit, the conversation changes.

2nd Male Coworker: How old are you now?
Birthday Girl: 39.
1st Male Coworker: Really? Wow. I wouldna thought that.

Of course, I had to take a look now. Homely, plain, probably unmarried. But that's good news for all the men out there who are into unrealistically superstitious women.

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