Thursday 13 September 2012

It's My Birthday, and I'll Die if I Want To!

Today is my birthday. I am turning 27.

Looking back over all my previous birthdays and formative experiences, one that stands out is my 12th birthday party...

We lived in a semi-detached house on Davisville Ave, sharing a load bearing wall with our neighbours, an old Estonian couple...The Vahers.

Mr. Vaher and I shared a birthday, 80 years apart, and every year we wished each other a happy birthday. They were nice people, although they would sit in their car in the backyard and look like zombies...which always made playing in the backyard a good training ground for social awkwardness...

So, where was I? Ah yes, my 12th birthday party. In keeping with the style of the times, we went to see a film at Canada Square. Unfortunately, the only film playing was Kull the Conqueror.

Kevin Sorbo and Tia Carrere, together at last...? Classy.

After being steeped in the cinematic juices of Kevin Sorbo, we returned home to find an ambulance parked near our house. My mother realized that something must have happened next door and tried to quickly shuffle 10 or so pre-teens full of soda and popcorn into the house...

But as I was walking up the porch steps the EMTs brought Mr. Vaher out on a stretcher. Obviously dead.

All I could think was: "'s our birthday..."

"He's just sleeping!" My mother said, desperately trying to save my innocence.

"Please mum, I'm 12. I know he's not sleeping."

The other kids didn't seem to notice. We went inside and watched Tank Girl, which is to say I put on the movie and then hid behind the sofa feeling all sad n' stuff.

So every year on the 13th of September, I think back to that party. Over the years I've actually come to appreciate the cyclical nature of Mr. Veher's life and death. What a neat and tidy way to enter and exit the world...dying on the day of your birth.

As a child I became so obsessed with this idea that I planned to make sure that my last word was the same as my very first word: BYE!

Also it's kind of meta and would be hilarious...!

This morning, after a breakfast of tasty baked goods, I walked to work, mulling over Mr. Vaher's passing and the (hopefully) cyclical nature of my own demise. Then a car nearly hit me. Thanks Toronto drivers who try to drive the wrong way up one-way streets!

I continued on, now day dreaming about lying broken and bloody in the street at Queen and Markham (a fashionable place to expire, no doubt). The driver rushes out and runs to my side:

"I'm so sorry! I'm sorry!" he cries, cradling my head.

"This is so fucking cyclical." I mutter.

And with my last breath I manage: "...Bye."

...That's a pretty awesome death I think...and then the rest of my brain kicks in:

The driver is talking to an EMT... "I don't know, she just walked out in front of me. She looked like she was day dreaming about something stupid."

"That's how these hipsters are. See? You can tell from her skinny jeans."

A police officer approaches. "Did she say anything to you?"

My ghost hovers nearby, gleefully rubbing it's ghostly hands together in anticipation.

"Kind of..." says the driver. "Something about fucking popsicles I think."

Goddamn it.


  1. I vaguely remember this happening. I remember an ambulance and "something" happening next door as we came back.

    Just be sure when you say your last/first word that you're really dying, because I don't want to visit you in hospital and have you refuse to speak to me out of a sense of symmetry.

    Happy b-day Claire!

  2. We are scarred for life...high five!