On birthday parties, hashtags and heavages
It was my birthday last month. It occurred to me that no one has ever organised a surprise birthday party for me. And that got me slightly worried because what if in 10 years’ time I’ll feel so deprived, and out of longing I’ll organise one for myself?
The thought niggled at me all week, so much so that I had the most terrible dream about it the other day. I dreamt that Queen Elizabeth II came round for tea and I gave Her Majesty a little tour of my house. At the end, I showed her into the living room where there was this enormous cake with Happy Birthday written in frosted icing.
The minute I stepped in the room, with the Queen by my side, everyone burst into a sing-along of “Hap/py birth/day Kris/tina”. The Queen looked quite taken aback and visibly embarrassed. And what did I do in the dream? I took her hand, gave her a “what-can-I-do-everyone-really-loves-me” look and told her: “It’s OK, you can help me cut the cake”.
I woke up sweating and cringing from this nightmare. The next day I read in the papers that the same thing happened to our poor Prime Minister when he called at Jeffery Pullicino Orlando’s Malta Council for Science and Technology. He ended up as the main guest awkwardly joining in the “Happy Birthday dear Jeffrey” act.
Sigh. As a writer once said, getting older is never to be confused with growing up. My worry now is that come next year, JPO will want something even grander for his 50th birthday. Will he be making the Prime Minister dance the Gangnam Style with him next?
But perhaps we’re still in time to spare him that. Thanks to the Budget, there are now better ways to quench the birthday-seeking attention: JPO should consider shopping for a classic Ferrari – now a bargain – to celebrate and hit the fast lanes à la rebel without a cause.
• À propos de Gangnam Style. Thanks to Psy’s wonder hit, there is now a child in the UK called… you guessed it, Gangnam.
Other baby names this year in the UK include Kindle (for the e-book) and Leveson (for the media inquiry). In Israel, a baby was named Like (for the Like button on Facebook).
But perhaps the prize for the most original name goes to the new parents who came up with the name Hashtag for their baby girl – an apparent tribute to the ubiquitous # symbol in social media.
We can’t even worry that she’ll be up for bullying, because at this rate, it’s children called plain John and Emma who will stand out in playgrounds of weird names.
I sometimes wonder if my parents could have been a tad more original at the baptism fountain. As a child of the 1970s why did they not consider calling me Flower Power? Or Commodore? Or even Pac-man.
• The topic of parents brings me neatly to last week’s Żigużajg children’s festival. There is such a drought of theatrical performances aimed at children that my daughter and myself overdosed and watched almost an event every day. On the whole, this festival was laudable. The only problem, I’d say, were the parents.
Someone has to tell parents that children interrupting a performance are not cute. That children climbing on the stage need to be stopped and that children not following the instructions of the performers are not to be smiled at and patted on their heads.
We’ve gone a long way from the philosophy that children must be seen and not heard, but have we gone way too far now? Or perhaps because there was no theatre when we were young, as adults we have no clue how to behave as an audience?
I am not sure what the reason is but, while we figure it out, let’s stick to a simple basic rule: if your child is misbehaving; showing absolutely no interest whatsoever in the show; or is bawling his eyes out because he is scared/ hungry/needs to pee, then your job is to pick him up and go out.
• And finally, here’s a new word to add to your dictionary: hevage. Which means men’s cleavage. Don’t diss this. I read somewhere (and somehow my mind tends to store this useless information) that up to 75 per cent of men now wear at least three buttons undone on their shirts, showing us hints of their moobs.
A colleague of mine has a habit of turning up for work with said open shirt. Is it because his buttonholes are too big that the buttons get undone? Or is he just following this new hevage fashion? Tsk Tsk. Men and their crisis.