For better or for worse, birthdays are some of the most important days in our lives. At their best, birthdays let people be the star of the show for one glorious day each year. When things don’t go so well, birthdays are full of horrible surprises, terrifying “gifts,” and memories to repress until you kick the bucket. Truly memorable birthdays run the gamut from amazing parties and loving family memories to get-togethers so traumatic that you wish you’d paid Pennywise the Clown to kidnap your guests.
So light some candles, blow up some balloons, and enjoy these stories about the very best–and the very worst–birthdays ever.
1. Simple and Sweet
When I was a kid, I had a tiny nine-inch television in my room with a Super Nintendo hooked up. On my 12th birthday I was having a sleepover with a bunch of friends, so my dad let me hook up the SNES to our 32” TV downstairs. I walked in from school to find my dad playing Super Mario World on the TV and it was freaking glorious.
Mario looked life-sized compared to before and the colors were amazing. I was blown away. I still remember watching him play in the forest level with the angry caterpillars. Then later that night, my friends and I stayed up all night eating pizza and having Street Fighter II tournaments. I can’t imagine any birthday matching that now.
2. Driving Me Up the Wall
For my 16th birthday, my mom gave me a brochure about rock climbing. Not a rock climbing gift card or the plans to go rock climbing, just a brochure. I don’t even like rock climbing.
3. Gotta Hand It To Her
I had recently moved as a child and had a really rough time getting friends. On my first birthday party in our new town, I had three sorta-friends come over to our house. It was the first time I ever had my own friends over. During the “happy birthday” song, my oldest sister came downstairs, shoved her hand into the middle of the cake my mom made, then left.
I don’t remember the consequences or if she even got any, but I remember that sinking feeling of embarrassment and hopelessness. In the years to come, those friends did, in fact, become my best friends for a while.
4. Best Gift a Kid Can Get
My mom and dad divorced when I was a baby. After their divorce, my mom did the typical single mother thing, working crazy long hours to make ends meet (zero financial support from her ex-husband, my dad). I was happy enough but also kind of lonely. After several years of living like this, my mom met this single guy with two kids my age (literally we were all born the same year).
They fell in love and got married. They didn’t do a fancy church wedding. Instead, they went down to the courthouse, got a marriage license, and then came straight home. We packed up the truck that afternoon, and headed to the beach for a camping trip. The day they got married was my sixth birthday. I was just thrilled to have a dad, a brother, and a sister.
What blew me away that evening was a surprise birthday cake, party, and presents at the beach next to a campfire on the shores of Lake Superior. That birthday, those feelings, those smells, and images will probably be with me the rest of my life. That guy my Mom married would later go on to adopt me. BEST. DAY. EVER.
5. A Series of Unfortunate Events
My birthday was last month. It was…not a great day. Everyone forgot about my birthday. I got my period without any pads available. I forgot my lunch at home. When I texted my friends asking if they wanted to hang out, they said they weren’t available. So, I took a bath, which broke the freaking faucet somehow, and then went to eat some of my birthday cake (made the day prior, and of which I’d had only one slice) only to discover that my brother ate it all.
I know it’s not super deep or anything, but that was a crummy day lol.
6. Thief Afoot
On my sixth birthday, my mom got this incredible Batman cake: multi-level and enormous so that I could share with my whole class. But before we could pack it up and put it in the car, my mom heard a bump on the dining room table and the noise of shuffling feet. She discovered a huge chunk missing from the cake. She grabbed her disposable camera and bolted to the spare room, where she found me building my Thomas the Tank Engine tabletop set.
Confused, she explored the house until she found my four-year-old brother crying in his closet, scraping cake off his face, and into his mouth. She took several pictures that I will treasure forever.
7. Creature Discomforts
I had just turned 11 and had friends over for my birthday party. I brought people upstairs to show them my hamster. I get to her cage, look inside, and she’s dead. Devastating for little me, SUPER awkward for all my friends.
8. Hit the Showers
On my 18th birthday, I had a home basketball game. Afterward, I was taking a shower in the locker room, as you do. But every time I went to get out of the shower, three or so people would throw soap at me. It was funny at first, but after like the fifth time it was kind of annoying. Finally, my friend and I were the last to leave the locker room.
My pal offered me a ride home and when we walked into my house, it was just my parents in the kitchen. Then like 35 people jumped out, and surprised me. It was amazing, and I was actually very surprised. Afterward, they told me that they kept throwing soap at me so my girlfriend could finish getting everything ready. It was a blast.
9. You Have the Bank of Dad’s Interest
For my 11th birthday, I got my first camera. My dad took me to Argo’s to pick one out. He said the limit was £70, but the camera little me wanted was £85; it was this little Canon digital thing. He bought it then just came out with, “Happy birthday Johnny! Because that camera was £85, you owe me £15.” He said this in front of all of the staff, and continued to pester me for the money for another month before my mum found out what was going on and told him to stop.
In retrospect, it’s kinda funny but at the time, it was so awkward.
10. Hug it Out
My best birthday was when Barney the dinosaur came to my school and gave me a hug. Tears of joy, man. Mother Goose was there too but I didn’t give a snot about her.
11. 98 Cents and a Pizza
Eleventh or twelfth birthday present from my uncle’s family: Giant heart-shaped “crystal” (plastic) necklace on a gumball-machine-quality ball chain. The whole family had spent the day complaining about whether or not we would celebrate my birthday, culminating in “just order a darn pizza and we’ll go eat it at Grandma’s,” so I was already feeling extra special that day.
On the way out, my cousin let slip that they had gone out and bought it at the 98 cent store. My aunt looked mortified.
Shutterstock12. The Unhappiest Time of the Year
When I was little, one of my “friends” literally threw a screaming fit and clung on for dear life when her parents tried to get her out of the car to attend my birthday party. When I was 18 years old, my mum forgot because it was also Easter, then I got stood up by friends who were supposed to meet me at a bar. One year, I’d just moved to a new city and didn’t know anybody, so I took myself to the cinema for a Keanu Reeves film. The projector broke about ten minutes in.
13. Dad’s Too Tired for Christmas
When I was 10, I was at the age where you get unbelievably excited about birthdays because you are getting closer to being a teenager. I could barely sleep all night and when I woke up it was about six. I had to wait two hours (and when you are equally excited and frustrated time goes unbelievably slow) before being able to go into my dad’s room and open my presents. So finally after what seemed like years, I rushed to my dad’s room.
He was half asleep as I cuddled him and asked if I could open my presents. He replied with “I didn’t get you any.” After that I had to walk back to my room and try to get back to sleep because dad was too tired. 3 weeks later he got me a DVD.
14. Private Penguin Time
So, I’ve always had a deep manly affection for penguins and one day, my local aquarium put in a penguin encounter thing where you could pay for 45 minutes with the penguins. The first day it was open happened to be my birthday, so my mom paid for us to go. We show up, and there are like 60 people there, no one is 100% sure how things are supposed to work, and the two teenage workers ask if we’re there for the tour. We were like, heck no we wanna play with the penguins, so it was just my mom and me with three penguins for 45 minutes.
It was fun but the best part was when the keepers turned their back, I would give the penguin a hug. When would I have another opportunity to a hug a penguin? (Penguins as it turns out do not enjoy hugs). Well, it turned out that they messed everything up. We were definitely supposed to be part of the 60-person group, but because of an error we got the penguins all to ourselves.
15. Good News, Bad News
My wife was acting suspicious. She was closing windows on her computer whenever I’d glance over, she was keeping secrets, she was being gone at mysterious times. I was worried she was cheating, so I did some snooping. It turns out she was throwing me a surprise birthday party, in my home state with all of my closest friends who I haven’t seen in years!
And also having an affair.
16. Cleanse Your Demons, Keep Your Pals
For me, my worst birthday, by far, was my 23rd. Invited small friend circle only to spend some time at my apartment with food, cake, and drinks, and later on we had plans to go on a local pub tour. One friend arrived with some booze as present. The two of us spent most time alone because only three hours later, the other invited guests arrived.
The later guests were all drunk—really drunk—but they were all close friends of mine. Nevertheless, all the drunks did was eating the cake and vomit in the bathroom. After they were done with their exorcism, they left due to their lacklustre conditions. I was left with two friends, who I invited to an all you can drink for free local pub tour.
17. To Infinity and Beyond!
When I was a kid I would watch Toy Story religiously. If you had to babysit me, you would just have to play that movie on repeat and I would be in a trance. So on my 4th or 5th birthday my parents threw me a party and invited my friends and family over. At the party I was playing with my Buzz Lightyear action figure, until my mom approaches me and takes it. I watch her carry it up the stairs, and for a moment I had my eyes glued on those steps.
Shortly after, she walks down, stops halfway down the steps, and calls to me. When I looked up, I dropped my jaw because I was watching a life-size Buzz walk down the steps behind her. He lifted me up and wished me a happy birthday. I couldn’t say anything because I was still trying to digest the moment. The other kids were also in shock and awe. Eventually, he went back upstairs, and my mom returned the action figure to me. For a while, I was wondering how my folks did that, but I didn’t pry for answers. I was just happy that it happened.
18. Like a Phoenix From the Birthday Ashes
On my 21st birthday, my girlfriend left me, I got fired, and my parents kicked me out of their house. It was mostly my fault, but that didn’t make things any better. My life pretty much fell apart for a while after that. I’m 23 now, almost 24. Thanks to my biological father, an actual social life, and a new circle of friends I wouldn’t trade for anything, I’m doing pretty well nowadays.
19. My Birthday Was a Hit
On my 10th birthday, my mom got a pinata. My best friend was trying to hit the pinata, as you do. On his backswing, he clocked me right in the forehead, but on his forward swing, he broke open the pinata. All of my friends saw the candy and immediately rushed to it while I was laying on the ground bleeding with a huge gash right above my eyebrow.
I had to go to the hospital and get five stitches.
20. Celebrate Good Times
This past March I turned 60. This has been the best birthday so far because I was so grateful to actually have a birthday to celebrate. I had been battling stage three cancer for one and a half years prior.
21. Electric Surprise
I tried to make plans with friends for my 18th birthday but I left it to the last minute (10/10 procrastinator here) so when I asked around, they all said: “sorry, busy, maybe tomorrow?” It left me feeling really frustrated. So, I went to a friend’s house (the only one available) only to have my mom call me saying that she was feeling sick. I was like, “Ok, that’s it, this is the worst day of my life.”
My friend’s mom drove me home to help my mom. I got there, and there were all of my friends, my parents, my family…and a real-size electric guitar cake. Best night ever!
22. A Bleeding Good Time
I had a few bad birthdays when I was younger. On two separate birthdays, relatives passed away just a couple days prior. Those were not fun birthdays. At my 17th birthday party, my mom slipped on a rug and hit her head on the floor. She had to be rushed to the emergency room with blood covering one side of her head.
Fortunately, the last decade or so of birthdays have all been pretty good.
23. Lose Some, Lose Some More
My biological father died in a car accident on my second birthday while driving home to the birthday party. Then, on my 16th birthday, my mom and stepfather decided that it was an appropriate time to tell me that they were splitting up.
24. A-maze-ing Birthday
When I was seven or eight, my dad had a large garden in his backyard. I asked him if we could do a corn maze there someday and he said maybe. I didn’t really pay much attention to what he did in the garden but come the next year, 90% of it was sprouting giant, tightly packed corn stalks. I’d mostly forgotten my wish by then, being a kid who was busy building lightsabers with PVC pipe.
The day of my birthday, I came home from school to see a big, freaking corn maze. Even better, my mom had turned our entire house into a haunted house. The school was small enough that everyone rode the same bus. My parents had arranged for everyone to get off at my place so we could get right to playing.
Best. Birthday. Ever.
25. The High Cost of Celebration
Having a party the night before (to be like YAY happy birthday at midnight) and having my wallet stolen. I spent the entire next day, my birthday canceling my cards and calling my friends to make sure no one had seen it anywhere or has it or know who might have it. As a bonus, my birthday is September 11, so you can imagine how EVERYONE likes to point that out like I had no idea it’s 9/11.
“Hey, your birthday is on 9/11.” Oh, that’s right! I forgot!
26. Sister Surprise
When I turned 30, my sister and I went shopping. It happened to be a Saturday, and Saturday shopping was a regular thing for us at the time. We’d get out early and come home early, but I was kind of grumpy that day so I was ready to go home earlier than usual. Even so, she wouldn’t take me! I was like, “WHAT THE HECK Sissy, I’m over it and I want to go home.”
I fussed, and she came up with excuses, but I persisted, and that went on because I’m a grown stinking woman, and I wanted to go home, darn it. So then she pulled the Sister Card, and starts telling me that she’s feeling blue, doesn’t want to be alone, and can’t we just go get lunch, or something, and hang out a little? Oh for Pete’s sake, YES, of course we can go get lunch. I was so difficult.
Finally, she takes me home, but doesn’t just drop me off, (oh Jesus Christ she is super needy today). I open the door, and see all the decorations a split second before SURPRISE!! I turned and looked at my sister, the designated distracter. She’d been waiting all day to say, “You’re a real pain in the butt.”
27. The Birthday is Right
My best birthday was my 23rd birthday. I was on The Price Is Right. I won a trip to Vegas, but I took the money instead because the “trip to Vegas” was actually just like $1,000 in Travelocity dollars which is nothing, especially in Vegas of all places. The check they sent me was for like $800. I bought a laptop with it. The whole crowd sung me Happy Birthday as I walked off stage.
28. Who Doesn’t Like Parties?
Oh man, this is like one of the worst gifts I ever received. A little backstory: I had told everyone that year that I did not want a birthday party. I hate being the center of attention, so I genuinely meant it. One of the crowd, a woman whom I did not know very well and who couldn’t imagine anyone being such an introvert, decided she had to throw me a party because clearly I was lying about not wanting one. She baked me a cake, got together a few of the people I knew the least, and knocked on my door and told me to come next door to where she was holding the semi-party (I don’t react well to surprises either). It was very uncomfortable. And then she gave me her gift: a cubicle photo holder themed with the Disney princesses. I was in my mid 20s and had never expressed any particular interest in Disney or the princesses thereof. I made my escape as quickly as I could.
29. With Disappointments Like These, Who Needs Party Guests
On my 17th birthday, I found out that my girlfriend of two and a half years had been cheating on me with my best friend. She was sitting next to me on her phone when a notification from him came up, which she quickly swiped away. Later she left her phone at my house, and after just taking a glance, I knew what was happening.
On my 18th birthday, I had plans to see a Megadeath concert with my dad. This was supposed to be a surprise, but my dad kinda ruined it when he blatantly asked, “Would you prefer floor or balcony seats?” I just found out three days ago, though, that Dave Mustaine, Megadeth’s lead singer, had been diagnosed with throat cancer and that nearly all of their upcoming shows were canceled.
30. Sometimes Coming in Last Isn’t So Bad
I went to Disney World in Orlando for my seventh birthday (I’m British, so this was quite the trip). In the Magic Kingdom, you can go and have breakfast with people dressed as famous Disney characters. We sat down, and I don’t really remember much, just my family buzzing around (aunts, uncles, nan…all there, it was a large family holiday). Next thing I know the lights go off and I hear my name on the loudspeaker. They’re saying it’s my birthday and then the music starts playing.
Me and my family (and everyone else at this point) look around to see a large line of Disney characters walking out the kitchen following a birthday cake to my table. It was pretty amazing. It turns out that other kids got one character each if it was their birthday, but since my mum brought the cake herself they decided to go all out and leave me until last so that all the characters would be available. EVERYBODY was extremely jealous. I absolutely loved it. It’s still making me tear up writing it.
They stopped doing it the year after too, so I got a once in a lifetime experience that day and one of very few fond memories.
31. Party of Five Isn’t so Fun in Real Life
Every birthday I’ve had has been shared with my four siblings, so it’s never really been about me. All of my friends used to talk about how their birthdays were a special day for them, but I never got to celebrate on my birthday, we all waited til summer to have a big party. I shouldn’t complain, having a birthday party for five kids at once is cost effective and easier since we didn’t have a ton of money. Oh well.
32. Birthday in the Hospital
After three rounds of IVF, my daughter was due to be born in February this year. My birthday is in late January. Things didn’t quite go to plan and my wife’s water broke four weeks early while I was out of town for work. There were phone calls, and tears, and fear, and helplessness, and a four-hour drive to the next available flight home. I got the call at seven AM, finally made it to the hospital about nine PM. Baby arrived mid-morning the next day, screaming her lungs out (we were very glad to see they worked).
The next couple of weeks spent in the nursery were challenging at times, but I got to spend my birthday with my wife and daughter in our double room at the hospital where I was born 33 years earlier. We were even surrounded by the nurses who had worked with my mother when she was a nurse there. It was a pretty great birthday.
33. We Can’t Build Everything
It was probably my first party with friends. I’d like to say I was probably seven, and I was addicted to Legos. I had Ninjago sets that I liked a lot and at the party I let people in my room and I don’t think that I’ll ever forget how devastated I was when I found out they’d destroyed all the sets and built other things with them.
That was the last time I let friends over for my birthday for a while.
34. Some Branches of the Family Tree Aren’t Worth Saving
My older cousin’s birthday is three days after mine, so my family tends to just skip mine and focus on his. I decided one year to throw a party for my birthday at my house. I paid for all the food and drinks and decorations. Had my mom help me set everything up. Had a bar set up with drinks. Had a buddy of mine DJ. Everyone shows up. Most of them didn’t even bother saying happy birthday to me.
And my aunt (not my cousin’s mom), who didn’t even say anything to me upon arriving, gifted my cousin a two-week trip to Europe, fully paid for, and then made MY ENTIRE PARTY sing Happy Birthday to him and not even acknowledge me. And mind you I threw this party for me because I have always been the outcast of my family and thought hey, if I throw it for myself maybe they will actually be nice to me. And not in a material way. I just wanted some attention from my family who has always shut me out from everything.
Needless to say, I don’t talk to any of them besides maybe once during the holidays and it’s always the obligated, “Hey how you been?” Sometimes life is better when you’re completely alone and accept it.
35. Weird Flex But Okay
My best birthday was my 40th. I wanted something special. Something nobody had ever done or seen before. So not only did my 40th celebrate my time on the earth, it also celebrated the death of my youth. So all guests were instructed to dress nicely or in black (or both). The cake had a tombstone and grim reaper on it, and I took one of those cardboard Halloween coffins and filled it with stuff from my childhood, teens, and twenties. Lastly, I had my best friend, a real Roman Catholic priest officiate the wake and funeral.
It was the coolest.
36. A Day of One’s Own
Every. Single. One. The reason was that my uncle, with whom I happened to share a birthday, was an enormous man-child who insisted on having a bigger birthday party than my own. I was his junior by at least 30 years. That’s three decades. Why have a stick measuring contest with someone that much younger than you!? But that’s not even the worst part.
He died a couple years ago. My first “party” was when I was 30 and I insisted on no party. I had one imposed anyway and his granddaughter took it upon herself to proclaim her sexuality to everyone there like it’s a coming out thing. All the while, his widow (my actual blood relative aunt) was crying the whole time and belittling said granddaughter that lives with her!.
This past year, nearly same exact scenario. Next year, who knows? I don’t want to. I’m going to head for the hills when it comes and take my immediate family with me. My wife, my child, myself, no one else. I can’t stand my birthday!
37. Driving a Matchbox Car
My sucktastical gift was given on my 16th birthday. I’m the oldest cousin, so I was hoping for a car. Not holding my breath, but hoping. I open all my gifts from the family and we finally get to the last. It’s a keychain! With an old Ford Escort key on it. Yay! I ask if they’re serious, get all happy, giggly, hug everyone and run to the garage to see what it was.
It was a bit smaller than I expected, for in the garage, all by its lonesome, sat a wee Matchbox car. A toy. There was no car.
38. Celebrate By Yourself
Today is my birthday! It has been an introvert’s dream. I have the house all to myself this weekend. My husband and kids went to visit my in-laws. I slept in until 8:30, and I got all my work done by 11:00. Then I went to the nail salon. There was a language barrier between the manicurist and myself so there was no need to carry a conversation. She did understand, though, when I told her it is my birthday. She gave me a 10% birthday discount!
I picked up lunch on the way home. I ate lunch and watched a documentary. I then took a nap listening to the rain. My husband surprised me by ordering dinner to be delivered to me at 7:15. He said he did this so I wouldn’t have to interact with anyone. He knows me well. After dinner, I did a little online shopping, and now I am watching The Office and eating a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Since getting married, I don’t have a whole lot of alone time. I love my family to death, but I find that I am my best self when I have a chance to recharge. I’m thankful to have a husband who understands that. When my husband and babies get home Sunday, we will go to dinner to celebrate.
39. Family Summer Time
My best birthday was my sixth birthday. My dad was a software engineer working in the UK at the time. His company acquired another company and sent him there under the guise of it being a temporary assignment, but they kept extending it, much to his displeasure. My parents had just divorced and my mom was working long hours to pay the bills, so the timing was bad and things were generally pretty rough.
My birthday weekend fell in the middle of my dad’s stint in the UK. Without telling his boss, he flew back to spend the weekend with me (we’re from California so it was a ten-hour flight). This also happened to be the Fourth of July weekend so he took me, my sister, and my grandparents to the family cabin deep in Wine Country to celebrate.
Friday, we had pizza and cake and I opened presents, the marquee gift being a gigantic super soaker that I’d been pining after for months. Saturday, I got to run around, play catch with my dad, and shoot my sister with the super soaker. Sunday we went swimming in a nearby creek and watched the fireworks our neighbors set off.
I just remember it being the pinnacle of carefree childhood fun. My dad risked his job and traveled thousands of miles to make it happen which I’ll never forget.
40. Block Out Time For Nothing
My significant other and I have been together two years at this point. She’s from a nice family that celebrates everything and enjoys doing things. So when my birthday rolled around, she tried to go all out and throw me a BBQ at home with friends, which was wonderful but exhausting. This year she planned nothing–as in she blocked out the calendar so she could do absolutely nothing with me.
It was the best. There was no timeline, no plans. We slept in, drank at home before going to lunch, had some afternoon delight, met friends for dinner and then played video games together until falling asleep. She’s amazing and I couldn’t think her enough for understanding that I hate pre-set plans for parties, holidays, etc.
41. Something Smells Fishy
I worked as a cashier/delivery driver at this Japanese restaurant when I was in college that had this really mean owner named Carol. I’d worked there for about five months when she started to teach me to make sushi rolls. I wasn’t that great at them and had to take it really slowly to do them right, but I could make the really easy ones. I was working there on my birthday one year when a customer came in for simple avocado rolls, so Carol tells me to handle it while she goes out back and has a cigarette.
I take care of it, but after Carol leaves, we get a bunch more people walking in asking for more complicated rolls. I go try to get Carol but she’s nowhere to be found. Just vanished. I had to go back out there and struggle to make the rolls while apologizing profusely to the customers. About 15 minutes later Carol comes back and instead of being sorry for stepping out, she yells at me for being too slow. When she makes the orders, she starts belittling me by saying stuff like, “See that wasn’t so hard.” I was so embarrassed and mad at her; I was so close to quitting that night.
I didn’t speak to her again all night, and she could tell I was upset and asked why I was mad. I told her it was my birthday and she made me feel like complete garbage, which I didn’t appreciate. She laughed and told me to learn to take a joke and then told me to come tomorrow, which was my day off, and she’d make it up to me with a free sushi dinner for me and my girlfriend.
Free sushi was not enough to make up for making me feel so bad on my birthday.
42. Adventure Time
I flew from Pennsylvania to Oregon to meet one of my online friends for the first time. I spent four days with him and he took me sight-seeing, adventuring in nature, and we just had general wholesome fun. My birthday was the third day I was there, and he bought me an ice cream cake. We put it in the freezer at the hotel and went out for more adventures. We had loads of fun. When we came back, I went to get the cake out, and it was melted. We laughed hysterically and ate the melted mess anyways.
It was honestly just such carefree and innocent fun the whole time. He also honestly took the freaking time to plan things out for me before I even got there and genuinely enjoyed just hanging out and taking me to do things. I haven’t had a lot of that in my life, and I know it sounds awful… but just the fact that someone went through that much effort just to simply have fun with me still makes me so happy today.
43. The Real Pain was With Us the Whole Time
On my 22nd birthday, my housemate’s girlfriend insisted we go out. She kept badgering me about it until I named two options: a local place that was semi-expensive and Chilis. She kept pushing for the more expensive place insisting it was my special day. We got there, she looked at the menus and immediately threw a fit, complaining she couldn’t afford anything. When her boyfriend attempted to buy her meal, she declined multiple times and refused to share his as a compromise.
For the rest of the night, we ate in silence interrupted by her complaining about hunger pangs and how anyone could afford the place she had insisted we all go to.
44. No, Everything Is Better Under the Sea
On my 21st birthday, a family friend who is an old lady invited me and my family to a dinner with her and her family, because by the Lunar calendar her birthday was on the same day as mine. Her family and my parents can all speak Cantonese. I cannot. They decided to go to a seafood restaurant. I am allergic to most seafood.
I spent my 21st birthday sitting at a table full of people not saying anything and not eating anything, because I couldn’t do either.
45. Dream Girl, Dream Birthday
My best birthday was probably my 22nd. Even though I hate celebrating my birthday, my then-girlfriend really brought her A-Game. I got home from class and inside my bedroom was a big pillow and blanket fort. I knew she’d be inside. And I was right, but what I didn’t expect was to get handed a nerf gun and then shot in the face.
So, we chased each other around the room for like half a minute shooting each other, before settling in the fort where she presented me with my favorite burrito from my favorite local restaurant. I thought that was all, but after we hung out for a bit she took me to the arcade. She got me $50 worth of tickets, we played House of the Dead, and a bunch of other games with me, and she supplied me with drinks all night.
You may notice, I said my “then-girlfriend” at the start of my story, but don’t worry. She’s my wife now. She proposed (very much her style) to me a few months later, and I’d have been an idiot to say no.
46. When the Stepmother Thinks She’s Cinderella
My fifteenth birthday was on holiday with my bio-dad and step mum, who despised me and my sister. My dad wished me a happy birthday and asked me what I would like to do. Before I could answer, my stepmother insisted she needed a new pair of shoes. I spent my fifteenth birthday sitting quietly in the corner of a shoe shop while somebody who hated me and wanted to alienate me from my father tried on endless pairs of shoes that he would buy for her.
47. High Times
My best birthday was sometime in high school. I had a few friends over, we smoked a bunch, and played video games. My brother brought KFC home for us since the parents were away. At the end of the night there was four of us and a chocolate cake. We just cut it in four pieces and ate the entire thing. Being high as a kite, eating chocolate cake, while playing video games just a little too close to the TV is a memory I’ll never forget.
48. Half in the Bag and a Whole Lot of Trouble
I have a half-sister who is known in the family for being an absolutely horrible person, all day, every day. My other siblings and I, for various reasons, have pretty much alienated her as we’ve grown to adults. My 18th birthday was intended to be a huge surprise, one that had been planned by my sister, mother, and grandmother for weeks. The eve of my birthday, my half-witted-half-sister over our family dinner explained to me in great detail everything that was planned for my birthday, as if I was supposed to know.
The worst part was, she continued to talk over my family members as they tried everything to shut her up. Huge family fight erupts, leaving my mother and sister crying over their failed surprise. Icing on the cake: On my actual birthday, said half-sister shows up three hours late to the party, after all the “surprise” is over.
Then, as I’m opening presents, she decides it’s best to share how she had found a pair of a young girl’s underwear in a sketchy alleyway near her work, and how “she can only imagine the worst.” The uncomfortable vibe couldn’t be broken after that and the party quickly died down.
49. This Bowl is Super Empty
My birthday is at the very end of January, so it always coincides with the Super Bowl. On my 16th birthday, I went with it and planned a Super Bowl party. Gave out a ton of invites, paper and verbal. Had a bunch of people say they would swing by either for the whole thing or for the first half. Blah Blah Blah. Put out snacks, had the game on the big screen. Only had two people show up, and they didn’t even come inside. They just dropped off a small cake on their way to a different Super Bowl party.
At halftime, I finally gave up hope that anyone else was showing up and told my mom to put the snacks away as I was going to bed.
For my 12th birthday, I had a bunch of friends over to my house for a pizza party. When I went to unwrap the gifts, I noticed one that was rectangular, and when I picked it up, it weighed a lot. Excited, I decided to save it as the best for last. When I finally got to it, I ripped it open with the vigor of many Spartans. It was a brick.
51. Wu Tang Nation
Wu Tang Clan happened to be playing a show on my 30th birthday. So that ain’t nothin to…you know the rest.
52. One Birthday and One Funeral
My best friend’s brother died suddenly. She asked me to throw a party to make her forget about it, and she was thankful though I felt bad about it. She shared a room with him, so she stayed with me for three nights and I had to hold her as she cried. After she left, I took down all my birthday cards and refused to open any presents.
After the weekend, someone had a go at me for being selfish. It was pretty awful.
53. Our Happily Birthday Never After
My wife hates going to the movies, so for my birthday one year, she relented and took me to one I had been dying to see. This was all her idea and when she told me what we were doing, I was super excited. As we are pulling up to the theater, she starts guilting me with, “Do you REALLY want to go see this”? and guess what, we didn’t.
Two years ago, she was going to cook my favorite meal for me but put it off until the last minute and so then made some BS excuse about how she had plans to take me and the kids out for dinner. We get all loaded up in the car and she says, “Where do you want to go?” She had no plans. I was pissed but I picked a place, but the wait was too long for her, so we fought, and I ended up eating a bowl of Chex for my birthday dinner.
54. Love At First Birth Date
My first date with my fiancé was on my birthday. It was pretty much love at first sight when we met. Also years later on my birthday, my fiancé blindfolded me and drove me to the animal shelter. We found my beloved dog Rowlf. Apparently there had been a dog house in the back yard for two weeks without me noticing (which he knew I wouldn’t. I’m a “stay in” kind of girl.).
55. Parental Guidance Heavily Advised and Intoxicated
On my ninth birthday, my mum took me and six girls from my class to the cinema. About 10 minutes into the movie she says, “Gonna go get another Coke, you guys want anything?” We said no thanks, we’re fine. She doesn’t come back. Movie ends and I can’t find her in the lobby, the bathrooms, outside, anywhere. It’s dark, I’m miles from home with no way of contacting anyone and my friends and I are all really scared.
I ended up going into a toy shop beside the cinema, crying my eyes out and asked the manager to please help me. He calls the guards (Irish cops) and my friends and I get taken back to my house in two squad cars. My stepdad was absolutely horrified to see us coming home like that. I was really upset and in no mood to celebrate. We did the cake and presents routine, and my friends’ parents picked them up soon after.
My mum eventually showed up later that night, drunk as all heck. I didn’t even bother yelling at her; it was a familiar situation and I knew there was no point. I cried myself to sleep that night. Then Monday arrived, and the girls had told everyone in our class what had happened, and nobody would talk to me. I was the most miserable moment of my life.
All their parents found out as well, nobody was allowed to come to my house anymore and I didn’t get invited anywhere either. It remained that way for the next three years of primary school. Kids can be so cruel. Also, my dad died eight days before my fourth birthday, and my granddad died on my 21st.
56. First Gig
I had a super huge party at a friend’s house and the band I was in made our first appearance, while one of our other friends had his DJ setup for when we weren’t playing. I’d say about well over 100 people came and went during the whole evening, and the dance-floor was constantly packed. People were constantly shoving shots and joints in my face while we were playing.
57. Princess is in Another Castle
I was really excited for my 19th birthday. I was going to have lunch with my girlfriend, hang out with friends after, and end the evening with pizza at my parents’ home (as is family tradition; screw cake). The gf’s mum picks me up (no car at the time because I was living with the gf and paying rent) and we go down to her university to get my gf. She has to pick up some books so we go to the bookstore. She kills two hours in line and then shopping for clothing.
But we couldn’t get all the books she needed, so we went to an off-campus book store and spent another other hour or so in line. I texted my friends and cancelled our plans. We then go to the Olive Garden, and my gf spends the whole time talking to her mum about something that the mum’s most recent boyfriend did. When the server came by, she started chatting with my gf’s mom, who mentioned that it was my birthday.
Yup, she wished me a happy birthday. My girlfriend looks at me all puzzled. She had totally forgotten. After a very awkward dinner, her mom drives me home and we get stuck in a soul-crushing traffic jam. When I finally got home, I burst into tears. Broke up with her a few weeks later because she was cheating on me (for months now) and I was still salty about her forgetting my birthday and ruining that day. I hope you have a happy birthday! May it be less awful than my worst.
58. Magical Creatures
I was 10 years old and I got to swim with the dolphins in Mexico! Dolphins are my favorite animal, plus I was on a cruise for the first (and only) time.
59. More Time With Mom
On my 23rd birthday, I told my mom, “Don’t get me anything. Just stop drinking soda.” She used to drink two to four liters a day. It’s been almost four years now and she hasn’t had any since. The best birthday present I ever received was a much longer and healthier life for my mom.
60. Of Fingers and Felines
On my fifth birthday, my cousin got her fingers severed in a door while she was playing hide and seek with my younger brothers. She was behind the door and had her fingers in the crack and someone entered the room, and closed the door shutting her fingers in it. They were able to reattach them, and she is just fine now. I personally hid underneath a table while they took her to the hospital and cleaned up the blood. I was scarred for life.
Fast forward to my 13th birthday. My friends and I saw the Chronicles of Narnia for my birthday. My father picked us up after the film was over and we headed back to my house for a sleepover portion. As we pull into the garage door, we see our cat run across. My friend jokingly says, “Hopefully you don’t hit the cat!” As the car pulls in, we hear “thud thud.” We all look at each other, dead silent. My two friends get out of the car and one of them makes a blood curdling scream. He yells, “It WAS the cat!” My other friend screams, “It’s pancaked!”
I jump out and my father is trying to hide the body from us. He cleaned up the mess and buried her in the backyard while my friends and I all cried in the basement. My mother called each of my friends’ parents explaining what had happened and informing them that their son may be a little sad tomorrow. So, whenever anyone asks me if I have a cat, I say, “Well I did…”
Fingers and Cats: Beware the 20th of December.
61. A Ghosting of a Gift
21st birthday. The week leading up to it my (now ex, thank goodness) boyfriend had been ignoring me, typical stuff. So, the day comes, we take a boat ride (not my idea but hey, who cares it’s only my birthday). Naturally after we end up at the bars, working our way back home and surely enough I’m drunk off my ass by the time we get there.
So, seeing this, he decides that now would be a good time to pick a huge argument with me in the middle of the bar, followed by a dramatic exit so he could smoke a cigarette, or so I assumed. It wasn’t until I realized it had been like 20 or so minutes that I walked outside to realize he had left me there. Yeah. That one definitely takes the cake for me.
62. Sharing a Birth Day
This was my best birthday ever–no contest. I’m technically four and a half hours away from my birthday (I’m turning 34). I’ve got my husband, two-year-old son, mom, and dad sitting with me in my post-partum recovery room eating pizza. My newborn son is snuggled on my chest sleeping. My heart is bursting with love, and I’m grateful for every second of it.
63. Exchange Your Dad for Store Credit
On my tenth birthday, I received a total of $200 from my friends. My neighbor had those electric pocket rockets that I always wanted for myself. So me and my mom went to the store and finally bought it. But when my dad saw it later that day, he said, “What the freak is this trash?” “Return it NOW!” He returned it and kept the money for himself.
64. Party for None
My mother had just moved us in with our stepdad. It was summer; they met that winter and we moved in in the spring. Yanked us out of our schools and we went to tiny horrible local schools. It was a miserable time and my new stepdad was VERY unpleasant
So, they tell me I can have a small birthday party and invite my friends, the ones I miss and grew up with. I’m so excited. They make plans. I make plans. My parents have me clean the entire house and I do it all, happily! The day before, my mum calls me out to the garage and says she’s sorry, but the party won’t be happening. She’s contacted my friends’ parents and it’s all off. Why?? My stepdad is having a friend to visit that day. On my birthday. I was gutted.
On the day, my birthday isn’t acknowledged beyond a “happy bday” at breakfast. When it finally came up during the visit with stepdads’ friend, this friend looked pretty appalled. He said, “I didn’t know it was your birthday” and seemed so sad and confused. That night, my mum said she and my stepdad were going to a coffee place. I asked to come; maybe a donut? No. “You can stay here, right?” That stupid pleading mom face where they ask your permission not to prioritize you. It sucked. A super sweet 15 lol.
65. Disney Dad
I love going to Disneyland for my birthday, but I had never gone with my father EVER in my life. It was just me and my parents, and we had a blast. My dad hates rides, but he really enjoyed everything we did. Best of all, we ended the day with some pineapple whip. I would love to repeat that day.
66. Dads Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up to Be
I was 15. I was supposed to hang out with my two best friends and go to the movies. My dad, who has never been in my life, showed up and guilt tripped me into coming with him so he could do something with me for my birthday. He promised a dinner and to bring me back so I could hang with my friends. We ended up going to some dudes’ house he lived at, where my dad proceeded to smoke crack and fall asleep.
So, I spent my birthday sad, hungry, and basically babysitting my 39-year-old dad. Screw that guy.
67. Quality Alone Time
My best birthday was my 28th. I took the day off work. My daughter went to daycare, my husband to work. I had bought special fancy treats (shortbread cookies, cheesy chips) and had myself a fancy tea and a long bath. Then I watched The Man Who Knew Too Much the whole way through. Then I got my first massage ever. Then I had dinner with friends, and went axe throwing. And I spent the whole weekend after with my husband and daughter, completely relaxed.
68. Man of Steel, Skull of Glass
On my tenth birthday, I broke my arm in P.E. from supermanning into the cinder block wall. I might have had a concussion, but when I went down to the nurse, she sent me back to P.E. with an ice pack. Luckily, since it was my birthday, my mom was at the school to eat lunch with me and diagnosed it in two seconds from asking me to hold her car keys and me not being able to. I had gone into shock and was pale as a ghost at this time.
Every year on my birthday, my mom gets a Facebook memory of a picture of me and the nurse, at the hospital, with my arm in a soft cast. Other than breaking my arm, my birthday was pretty good though!
69. Vitamin C for Concussion
So I had this friend over to my house for my 13th birthday. Well, my brother, who was 17 at the time, asked me to make him a shake, and I thought it would be funny to mix in all the worst things I could find. It had ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, and plenty more. By the end, it was a brown that visually passed for a chocolate shake.
Well, I gave it to him; he took a sip and started gagging. My and my friend think it’s hilarious—until he decides he is gonna beat my butt. Me and my friend take off running into the kitchen where we are all running left and right around an island. My family keeps a centerpiece of apples or oranges or whatever we feel like putting in a fairly large bowl in the center of the island, to which my brother decides he is tired of chasing us and just grabs an orange.
I don’t notice this yet and he launches one at my head, smacking me perfectly in the temple. Orange busts on impact and I got knocked out on the spot. My friend is scared for his life and, at this point, I’ve unconsciously pissed myself. I come to and my mom is losing her mind at my brother, who feels pretty bad now for knocking me out, then embarrassing me in front of a friend on my birthday. We all look back on it now and think it’s pretty funny but my mom still wants to beat my brother’s hide for it.
In short: I “pranked” my brother and he knocked me out for it.
70. Birthday on a Plane
For some reason I have always loved being alone on my birthday. Last year, I happened to be flying home from Alaska with multiple stops and layovers totalling about 16 hours. I made sure I bought myself a beer and a treat in every airport, and on the flights watched movies I was really excited about. I’ll always remember managing to have a really nice birthday in a bunch of airports.
71. First(born) is the Worst
Family forgot my 14th birthday. I quietly told them at the end of the day. My dad yelled at me for not speaking up sooner, while my mom denied she forgot and was just “waiting” for the surprise. The surprise was $10 in a brown sack lunch bag. For context, that same year my sister’s 15th birthday took place in a country club, and she got a brand-new car she wanted even though she couldn’t drive for another year.
I got the last laugh though because I’m 100% independent from my family and happy, while my sister is 39, divorced, and has been living with my parents for the past four years to “save up” although she still spends all her and my parent’s money on designer clothes. Anyway, I have a fine relationship with my family now because I never made a stink about this stuff and just moved on.
I eventually figured out I got the better end of the deal.
72. Birthday Bakery
I was on my first holiday with my boyfriend to another country. We went to Toulouse, France and stayed in a crappy two star hotel during the hottest part of the year. My birthday just happened to be on the last day of the trip and I woke up to find that he had woken up early to run to the nearest bakery. But that bakery had been closed, so he ran another 15 minutes to another all so he could surprise me with a birthday pain au chocolat. It meant so much to me.
73. In the Nayborhood
I had this awful neighbor but, because I’m a giant sucker, I was always pretty nice to her. She asked me to come with her to dinner because it was her birthday, and I knew I was the only person on the planet who would go with her. So she and I brought our kids (all girls, one mine, two hers). She makes her oldest do her math homework right there at the table. When the child asks her for help (mind you this is like third-grade math), the mom says it’s too hard. I end up helping.
The waiter is just fine. He comes by and takes our orders. She is already acting weird, but she always acted weird so I didn’t think much of it. Waiter comes by again and asks if we need anything. She dismisses him, waves him off, and tells him no. Then like 30 seconds later, she turns to me and is like, “Can you believe how awful the waiter is? He won’t even refill my drink!” and just goes on about all these “issues” that literally don’t exist.
I’m like “He just asked if you needed anything…” she cuts me off “I’m going to talk to the manager.” Oh God…She talks to the manager like this is the worst experience she’s ever had in the history of her miserable existence. I’m in shock. Her kids have their heads down. Mine is oblivious. The manager gives her like half off the meal. Oh, and the kicker? “That’s my half so you only need to pay the rest!” OH, GEE THANKS!! I left a big tip and a note on my receipt telling them the waiter was great and apologizing for the complaints that were totally not warranted.
74. Birthday Tunes
A classmate (a friend who I happened to have a crush on at the time) was turning 18. I’d been talking a lot with her, things had been going surprisingly well out of nowhere really, so I jokingly said that since I hadn’t come up with an idea for a birthday present, I’d sing for her in front of class. She pulls the old, “well now you said you’d do it so I expect you to,” and having a crush on her didn’t make it easy to say no.
Eventually, her birthday party arrived and I figured I was gonna need a fair bit of booze to get singing. She kept asking when I was gonna do it, so she was obviously looking forward to it. Eventually I decided it was time and I sang for her. Firstly: I can’t sing for spit. But I did, and for a guy who’d been struggling a lot with self-esteem for various reasons, that in itself was a victory. Some even claimed that I sang well, and I still claim they’re wrong.
Secondly, making a girl I liked smile like that, and making her birthday memorable was possibly an even bigger achievement in my book. Considering I was terrible when it came to girls, and also at making people smile. It was more than worth the hangover. So yea, ironically enough my best birthday experience wasn’t even my own birthday.
75. More Than Enough
My father was dying of a brain tumor. He was ambulatory, but just barely. He asked me if I’d like to have a birthday lunch with him. We drove to a really lovely restaurant he had chosen and sat fairly close to the door because it was such a struggle for him. After we ordered, he began to cry, saying he wanted to do so much more for me.
I told him I loved the place. It was next to a lake and it had a great menu, but all that was secondary. I told him that being with him was the best birthday gift I could ever hope for, and the best I ever had. We talked about all the wonderful things in life and I got him laughing about some of the crazy things he had done as a young boy.
It was the best birthday ever. Nothing will ever compare. It was so good to see him happy.
76. Not the Most Romantic Exit Strategy
My first boyfriend and I started dating in high school. We were absolutely inseparable, as we’d been best friends for years before we started dating. We were there for each other through the death of a parent and a sibling, and so many firsts. Our senior year, I decided I wanted to go to prom with some random guy that I’d developed a crush on during our senior trip.
Because we’d been friends so long, I decided that instead of breaking up with my boyfriend (which felt cold-hearted), I’d soften the blow by just being incredibly mean to him. This way he wouldn’t be as upset when I finally told him. Bad idea, I know, but I was 17 and so freaking dumb.
I was HORRIBLE to him for DAYS. Everything he did was wrong. Nothing was funny. His new haircut was ugly. When he finally asked why I was being so awful, I told him I was breaking up with him. He started sobbing, which my teenage brain could NOT understand. I kept asking why he was so upset, but he wouldn’t tell me. It turns out that after years of friendship, I’d blindsided him with the world’s worst breakup, on his birthday, which I’d completely forgotten.
20 years later, I still wake up in the middle of the night feeling guilty about it.
77. Special Delivery
A girl who was enamored with my neighbor showed up at his house on her birthday to give him a present. So he, not wanting to see her, sent his mother to the door to make her go away. My neighbor’s mom didn’t have the heart to be rude, so she politely accepted the gift. When he later unwrapped it, in front of his mother, it turned out to be a pair of her panties.
We were 16 years old at the time, and the girl in question was 13.
78. Unexpected Trip
After a really hard year, my two closest friends and my mom said they were taking me to London for my birthday. Bizarrely, they wanted to fly, and since I only lived in Liverpool, that seemed odd. It wasn’t until the airport when I heard a security guard read the ticket as Liverpool to Barcelona that it clicked. They took me to the opera, the magic fountains, and Las Ramblas.
There’s like a million pictures of me constantly crying in happiness from that trip. It was just so kind to go to so much trouble, just to cheer me up.
79. Making up for Lost Time
Growing up, my birthdays were kind of trash. We weren’t poor, but my parents would say things like, “we’re going to Hawaii for your birthday…” I was so excited, until: “Oh sorry, not you, just your stepfather and I.” Cue 12-year-old disappointment. Since my beautiful wife found this out, she has gone out of her way to make my birthdays amazing.
From a surprise trip to San Diego—from Northern Canada—to eat sushi at Nobu, to a surprise party with my friends, even though we all live and work in different cities, she’s totally gone the extra mile. Because of her, my last seven birthdays have been more than enough to make up for any disappointment that I might have felt as a kid.
80. What Friends Are For
Last year for my 24th birthday, four of my best friends and I rented a cabin up in the mountains to celebrate for the whole weekend. Just having them set aside time and money for my birthday trip meant so much to me, but they went beyond that. Two of them managed to get me out of the cabin for a few hours while the other two stayed behind, just to cook our dinner, I thought.
I came back to a fully decorated cabin with balloons and confetti everywhere, my favorite cake, champagne, and Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” playing as I walked in. I felt so, so loved.
81. Eating His Words
An ex-friend of mine was given a puppy at his seventh birthday party. He publicly threw a tantrum because he didn’t like the breed. Thankfully, the puppy was given to his aunt and the little brat was told he would never receive another pet. Cue epic tantrum saying he changed his mind. Nope. Didn’t work. Take that, kid.
82. Did We Just Become Best Friends?
I lost my mom to lung cancer in June 2006, one month after graduating from high school. I am an only child. That August, I moved an hour from home to attend university. Without fail, in every class, we were asked what memorable thing we did over the summer. I spent my time telling people I had planned my mother’s funeral.
One girl I happened to share several classes with ended up being my across-the-hall neighbor. That following January, she showed up at my door with a cupcake and a candle on my mom’s birthday. Not a single person I was close to remembered, but she did. She held me while I cried, and we stuffed our faces with cake.
She stood up at my wedding as a bridesmaid several years later.
83. Fake Out
I was on an overnight class trip that hadn’t to take place on my birthday. I was just sitting on my bed when a friend came up to me and just said “happy birthday” like it was nothing. Okay, then, that’s the first and only person to wish me a happy birthday this year, I thought to myself. We chatted for a bit and he said, “Hey, let’s go get you some food at the Denny’s next door.”
On the way there, my friend realized he didn’t have his wallet and panicked. We went back to the room and found nothing, asked the concierge if they had a lost and found, called our teachers and made them ask around. My pal was tripping at this point. A few minutes later, we get a call from the program director saying someone found it. Relieved, we head up to the teacher’s room to get it.
I follow my friend inside, and it’s completely dark except for this huge birthday cake with a bunch of candles and 60-plus people yelling “SURPRISE!!!” I was so shocked that I just started bawling, hard. Everyone came up and group-hugged me. It was a feeling unlike any other. Up until that point, I’d never had a surprise party before in my life.
I guess while we were running around “looking for my friend’s wallet,” everyone was making their way to my teacher’s room. That’s one of my favorite memories from high school.
84. Not Counting The Candles On The Cake
I worked as a server at an Italian restaurant. A few years ago, a coworker tried hitting on a guest who was celebrating her 14th birthday with her entire family. Her friends were telling him not to try anything, but he still asked for her number and her mom overheard everything. The mother quickly informed our GM who confronted the server and fired him on the spot.
He was around 20/21 years old when he pulled this stunt.
85. A Tad Overboard
We took my friend out to the casino for his birthday. He and his girl were having problems at the time, so she told him he could only stay out until 10PM. 9:30 rolls around and she starts calling him to remind him that he needs to head home. One of my friends takes birthday boy’s phone and turns it off. This is when the stuff hits the fan.
She proceeded to start calling all of our phones non-stop, from one friend to another, constantly. Anyone who would answer their phone would be met with an instant “Put birthday boy on the phone…” and a series of screamed profanities directed at the person who answered the phone. So, we all turned off our phones.
At about 10:45, she started calling our families, screaming at them telling them how terrible we were to take birthday boy out on his birthday. To stop the madness, we took him home. When we got him back to his condo, his girl was gone but she’d pulled some crazy stuff before she headed out. She pulled all the bedding off the bed, sliced up the mattress and pillows, and broken all the mirrors. I helped my friend clean and lock his place up. He called a locksmith to re-key his place the next day. A week later, she moved back in with him.
86. Birthday Button
If it’s your birthday at Walt Disney World, you get a button that says “Happy Birthday [Name]!” so everyone says happy birthday to you (and you sometimes get free things). My birthday is in a quiet time during park season, so the one time I went, characters on the floats in the afternoon parade were yelling happy birthday and I got a massive cupcake for free. Also, a number of drinks with dinner.
87. Fun But Not Fancy
I grew up in a village with rich kids though we were definitely NOT rich. At every birthday party, the kids would have themes, hire professionals, plan transport so parents didn’t need to pick up their kids–the works. We did not even have a car, so my mom wrote on the letter that parents had to drop off and pick up their own kids. Somehow, kids still wanted to come to my house and celebrate my birthday.
We played outside and honestly, everyone was having such a blast that my mom had to call us five times to eat the food she prepared. We just ate quickly all the food my mom made and went to play outside. There was no theme, no face painting, pottery, clowns, or magicians. It was simply playing outside with a ball.
Everyone was sighing when their parents came to pick them up and asked to stay longer. I’ll never forget that the next school day kids came to ask to play with me.
88. Missing a Key Ingredient
My fiancée was setting up for my 30th birthday at a bar. She was blowing up balloons with her mouth and taping them to the wall on the outside deck the bar had. She asked me, “Why aren’t they floating up?” Oh, honey.
89. Car Trouble
On my friend’s 16th birthday, her step-dad gave her his one-year-old hummer. She full on cried when he tried to give her the keys, because it was both used and “the wrong color”. Naturally, they went out and bought her a brand new one in the color she liked that same day.
90. Happy Nothing Day!
A child who was a guest at someone else’s birthday party threw a tantrum because she wanted presents too. She got her way—her parents took her shopping right after the party and she got a brand new Gameboy.
91. Older Bro Comes Through
Everyone has a story from their childhood that still pisses them off, this is mine. I was 5 years old and my snotty older cousin was over at our house. I had just gotten a copy of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out for my birthday. He was getting his butt kicked by King Hippo and he got so angry he rage quit. But he didn’t just rage quit, he ripped the cartridge out of the Nintendo and spit into it. Then he threw it across the room and stormed out.
I told my parents what happened and they told his parents and they made him apologize, but the game was ruined. It would kind of play but would freeze up all the time. My family barely had enough money to get me the game for my birthday, never mind buying it again. I was sure I would never be able to play it again.
Then for Christmas, this little jerk got Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. So my older brother went over to his house and switched our ruined cartridge with his. It was awesome.
92. Losing Trust in Man
It was my birthday. My fiancé’s ex called me to tell me she was his mistress since the very beginning of our relationship.
I took the train back home. Didn’t cry. My mother told me “I’ve never seen you this angry in your whole life.” I did everything for him. I really gave it my all because isn’t it what you are supposed to do when you’re getting married?
It’s been a year. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust a man again.
93. Surreal Birthday
Girl I work with has the same birthday as me, which is not strange really. What is strange is that her spouse and my spouse have the same birthday as well and even work in the same industry. Was seriously the most surreal conversation I’ve ever had.
94. Getting the Rat Home
I was walking to my bus stop after work one day when a mentally disabled man ran up to me. He said his name was Ron and that he needed $0.50 for bus fare so that he could get his pet rat home and celebrate its birthday. He then opened a leather briefcase he was carrying and showed me that inside there was, in fact, a rat and a couple of rat toys.
I don’t normally give money to panhandlers, but this guy seemed pretty legit. It was his rat’s birthday. He needed to get home!
95. A Bad Time to Have Doubts
“I don’t think I ever loved you,” she told me on my birthday after admitting she’d been cheating on me with some guy from one of her classes.
That was a bit of a rough semester.
96. Sweet Estrangement
My… let’s call her “strange” ex girlfriend once bought me a 20-square-foot cinnamon pretzel for my birthday. She was kinda crazy but that day was good crazy.
97. Hardly a Wholesome Breakfast
Two years after me and my girlfriend broke up, I was finally feeling better. It was my birthday so I let myself sleep in, got some old-school sugary kid cereal, and sat down to enjoy. When I looked up, I see my ex staring at me through the screen door crying. Not my idea of a good birthday present.
98. Fast and Furious
My ex-husband started taking shots of Patrón, after popping a handful of percocets, while we were out to dinner with our children to celebrate his birthday. During the “celebration,” he had his phone up his butt, and had been texting his brother the entire evening. On our way home, he decided it was a brilliant idea to throw his phone out the window at a stop sign. I put the car in park, retrieved his phone, and put it behind me so he wouldn’t do it again on the ride home.
You would’ve thought that I had shot his mother. He tried to turn off the car, started hitting the steering column, screaming at the top of his lungs. It was… manic. When we got home, he jumped out of the car, sans phone. I was freaked out. I told the children to stay put and started backing out of the driveway. The guy came hauling down the driveway like a banshee. He tried to BEAT OUT THE DRIVER’S WINDOW of my car.
At this point, my children were screaming and crying, so I hit the accelerator. He flew off the truck and I took off and didn’t stop until I got to my mom’s. He called the police and told them I tried to run him over and asked them to do a welfare check on the kids at my mom’s. The police talked to the kids and saw the obvious marks on my window from his face and fists, and knew his story was trash. I left that day with the clothes on our backs. I’m now remarried to a much, much better man. He’s a much better role model for the kids.
99. Sneak Attack
My best birthday was my 17th birthday. No one really gives me gifts, which I don’t mind. But every birthday, I would love to spend my money on all of my friends. I don’t care if I go broke, as long as I see them happy. But that day was different. It was just a normal day at school, no one really greeted me except for my friends. It was lunch when my friend playfully grabbed my bag and took it with him in the car.
It took him a few minutes before he got out so I got suspicious. I immediately checked my bag after retrieving it from him. When I opened it, there was a small white box inside. I almost cried right then and there. He gave me a wooden music box to the tune of Hedwig’s theme from Harry Potter. He had saved three months of allowance to buy it. I didn’t know what to say. I was so flattered by the fact that someone had actually saved up to give me a gift on my birthday. I was so happy, but it doesn’t end there.
Later that day, all of my friends went home except for him. We were talking, as usual, when all of a sudden he started fidgeting which he rarely does unless he’s nervous or something’s bothering him. This is really cliché but he confessed how he feels about me, or I guess we both confessed how we felt about each other. We’ve been dating for five months now. He helped me with my depression and I’ve been clean for almost two months now because of him. I guess that would be the best birthday ever.
100. Money Can’t Buy Class
I have a particularly wealthy aunt who spoils the piss out of her own kids, taking them on expensive trips and buying them every new gadget available. When we lived closer, she would join us for birthday parties and kick in for something: dinner, lodging, etc., so I didn’t complain when she invited herself because otherwise parties would be at our dull lifeless house with a few friends.
For my 18th birthday (a pretty big one IMO) she bought me a thrift-store Flintstones t-shirt. That’s it. A big ratty t-shirt with Fred Butthole Flintstone and his stupid grin. The woman took her kids to Paris that same year but bought me that as a gift for turning 18. Thankfully I’ve had better birthdays since and without any entitled extended family butting in, but seriously, screw her and her money.
101. Eat Your Words
A while ago I decided to treat myself to some Burger King. I was having a bad day and had a headache coming on. So I was waiting in line at the BK, when suddenly this woman comes in with a monster of a child. He was out of control, screaming, punching his mother, throwing things around. The mother didn’t pay any attention to him and he continued yelling, “I want a PIE.”
My headache turned into a full-blown migraine. I calmly turned and asked if she could please calm her child down. Immediately she got up in my face, telling me to mind my own business. I nodded and turned around, when the child cried out again how he wants a pie. I then decided to ruin their day in the most devious way I could think of.
When I got to the front of the line I asked the person at the register how many apple pies they have left. They told me and I bought all of them. I ate one and made sure the kid saw me throw the rest in the trash.
102. Was That Really Appropriate?
I was living on the West Coast and her birthday was coming up the next weekend. The call came on Wednesday that Grandma was in the hospital and had 24 to 72 hours to live at best. I immediately called work and let them know I will be out Thursday and Friday and maybe some days next week. Bought a one-way plane ticket and called my girlfriend who seemed understanding.
I get back to the Midwest and got to the hospital in time to see my grandma, she died that night. I was asked to write the eulogy. Checked in with my girlfriend and she asked if our plans for her birthday were going to be affected. Erm, yes honey, the funeral isn’t until Monday. I’ll be back on Tuesday. She hung up on me.
She picked me up from the airport and didn’t even get out of the car to embrace me. The drive home felt like ice water was in my veins. I was so in love and was writing off the red flags.
Two weeks later, it was my birthday. I knew things were on the outs and was preparing to break up but she invited me out for my birthday dinner. I show up at our favorite place and wait 45 minutes at the bar for her to arrive. She texted me a picture of her and her girlfriends out at a concert asking how I liked being ditched on my birthday.
Tears streaming down my cheeks on the car ride home I calmly packed up her stuff, let myself into her place with my key and left her belongings on the floor along with the key on top and locked the door behind me on the way out. Blocked her number on my phone and social media. And changed the locks the next day at my place.
The next weekend I am watching TV and it’s late. She tries the door and I hear her key trying to work the lock. She’s sobbing outside my place, I just poured a stiff bourbon and turned up the volume on the TV until she left.
What a waste of a year. Looking back, I can’t imagine how I put up with her selfish antics that long, life is too short to deal with people like that.