I am not much of a birthday person.I rarely post HBD on peoples walls on Facebook since I find it too plastic.But then there are birthdays that I cant dare forget for the sake of my peace. First is the birthday of the First Lady of my house.It is written ” remember her days and keep them holy”. I always follow that commandment.
Second,I do not forget the birthdays of the young Kenyans in my household who call me dad.The flipside of forgetting is getting ulcers from their constant nagging. I reckon that a cake is cheaper than ulcers medication and thus give them a treat on their birthdays.But the tricky part comes from the youngest of them all who demands a ” happy birthday” each time a neighbours kid hosts a birthday.
That said,I cant begrudge anyone who celebrates his or her birthday in style- to each his own.We cant all be Uncle Scrooge.
Birthdays are not always exact.Take for example those kids who turned up for Standard One recruiment without birth certificates in our village primary school back in our days.All puffy cheeks covered with woolen mbocoris and pullovers smudged green with avocadoes.
The mwalimu then,a seasoned class master called Mr Kibebe Macharia, frowned at one pencil-thin lad with knees like door knobs and mucus thicker than porridge then blurted out-“You,Kamau wa Njeri wa thoko,you were born on August 2!” The day of the coup. Then he squinted at another unkempt lad who looked like a seasoned mango thief at only 7 and told him:” You,Cege wa Gicheru wa ng’ombe-you were born on 22nd August.” The day Jomo died.Bad boys are born on bad days.And vice versa.
After that he told some other boy that his birthday was on 31st April.Which doesnt exist.Finally, he smiled at the well groomed Vicar’s daughter who had North Star shoes and hair shaped into ponytails and told her softly “Leah Njoki,you were born on Christmas day”.The happiest of all days.
He asked the new learners after assigning them birthdays.
“Yesssah! ” They chorused back in English.
Then marched of to class happily,leaving behind a myriad of unwashed scents.
Anyhow,thats how some people from the village ended up with cooked up birthdays.Which,after coming to the city and hitting it big and buying Harriers,they celebrate with Moets and other fine servings.
Talking of modern birthday celebrations,I find them divisive.They divide us into those that can afford fine champagnes for the day and those that can hardly afford a mwitu half burnt cake baked by a struggling pastry student in a home made oven.
Despite my cynical views about birthdays,deep down,I know the day I was born was special.It produced me.But after I reached that particular age when one realizes one is growing old instead of growing up,I stopped doing birthdays altogether.
Instead,I opted to be going for an annual health checkup on that day.And get tested for things like blood sugar,hypertension,cholestral levels and most importantly,prostate cancer.
My first such check for prostate cancer was a disaster.I queued at the doctors then when my turn came,I pretended to be receiving a call and headed for the gate.I had heard nasty stories from fellow men about how doctors inserted a naughty finger into your Gate B to test for prostate cancer.Then they twirled it inside there,like a lover searching for the elusive G- spot in a man.This left many men with nightmares of being raped.Bar room stories can be very misleading.
Instead,I found out that they no longer test for prostate cancer by probing your plumbing with a naughty finger.Instead,they do a test called PSA test which involves taking a blood sample from your body and testing it for antigens.Easy,does it?
The beauty of it all is that the comprehensive annual checkup is free if you have an NHIF card as the main contributor.Other insurance covers cater for such services too,but men rarely utilize them.
To all the men out there,ignore those rumours about prostate cancer tests being intrusive.Far from it.Go see you doc,get tested,thank me later.
Passing shot now.There’s that middle class nonsense of growing a beard in November to raise awareness about prostate cancer.Its complete hogwash since it doesnt pass any information along about cancer.
Thanks all for happy birthday wishes yesterday though.