Thursday, 5 March 2009

Happy birthday? Baah humbug........

On Tuesday it was my birthday. Well, hip-hip hooray.

I won't reveal how old I am just yet but I had a perfectly pleasant day despite the fact that I spent more than 10 hours of it at work and it rained constantly throughout.....
The truth is, however, when you hit a certain age, birthdays just ain’t what they used to be. I can still remember the thrill of waiting for the big day when I was younger – and to be fair, I still see it in my two teenage children today – but these days it can all just feel like another hurdle crossed on the path to leaving this mortal coil.

It is very much the sign of the times that I received most birthday messages from 'friends' on my social networking site on Facebook. I put the word ‘friends’ into inverted commas because when you add someone to your site who you know, they are automatically classified as your friends. Thus, according to cyberspace, I have more than 200 such friends, but if so, how come I only received about half-a-dozen birthday cards from non-family members?????

To be fair though I was very touched by all their kind messages on tinternet - even the two who said 'happy birthday Adrian' in light of my apparent looka-a-like sound-a-like to Mr Chiles. As you can see here there is no connection.....

Anyway, the truth is, the older I get the more I fail to understand why we even celebrate birthdays at all. Now I don’t want to come over as the birthday equivalent of the ‘bah-humbug-Christmas-deniers’ but I wonder why we should be congratulated and lauded for something totally out of our control?

Indeed, I came to the somewhat startling (and possibly unique) conclusion a few years ago that on our birthdays we should actually have our own individual mother’s days, because it is them who did all the work. Being saluted on your birthdays is a bit like when you go to a social function and win the raffle for a box of Quality Street and people clap as you go up to collect the prize. Why??????? You didn’t achieve anything by buying a ticket and nor did you when you took your first breath after hours of motherly agony. . .

The other thing which I find different now is that I often forget my age or birth date. As I recall, this never happened when I was younger when it was etched on my brain and I started ‘planning’ for my birthday from practically the moment I had unwrapped the last Christmas pressie.

It is because I know how much children take their ages seriously that I came up with my own ‘Dragons’ Den’ idea (just admit it, we all have one!) which I’m now happy to share with you on the strict instruction that you can’t nick it as it is here in print and so I duly claim the copyright.

I was having a chat once with a former colleague of mine – the former circulation director in Bath, Mark Stroud, pictured here somewhat worse for wear. He is a fantastically funny guy who has a wonderful business brain and is always looking Del Boy-like to how he can get his first million.

So we tentatively shared each other’s Dragons’ Den ideas (his was a rubbish one by the way about how you keep your takeaway curry hot in the car) and I told him mine. And I could see him mentally counting the cash we could rake in . . . .

My idea is half-birthday cards. Ask any child of between seven and 10 how old they are and there is every chance they won’t just say eight or nine but eight-and-a-quarter or nine- and-a-half. These things matter to them so I think there is millions to be made (and huge misery to be put on parents and grandparents!) by having half-birthday cards to be sent six months after an official birthday.

Would-be investors can contact me at the Bath Chronicle – but please don’t do so on October 3 because I will be out celebrating my 45 1/2th birthday!

1 comment:

Mark Stroud said...

You........I need a word with you!

Sam - First of all thanks for the credit of the business mind bit (and the flattering picture of me 'in action'). However on a serious note, I think we both know that the half birthday card was originally my idea!! But since I'm currently working on bigger things anybody that would like to take this to market is free to do so (£50k for the business plan + 10% commission for the first 2 years after this this bad boy is all yours, plus, I’ll pass on the contact and update on recent talks with the buyer for Clinton Cards).

Seriously though, I've had enough of sharing my ideas. One morning I was preparing for my 'Interview of a life time', dashing round the house trying to look as good as I possibly could (and those of you that have seen my picture on Sams blog will notice that this isn't an easy task for me). Anyway with shoes highly polished, best shirt ironed, a striking tie and a suit to die for all what was left was the socks. Simple you'd think, but ‘Big Man’ (no not you Sam) has strange ways of working and all the socks I could find were washed out, odd or simply not up to the job. So while working in newspaper and magazine subscriptions I had the instantaneous idea of: if only a regular supply of new, black socks could be delivered to my house, by post and payment taken via a simple direct debit / monthly standing order from a nominated account. It would save disastrous mornings like the one I was currently facing and even better save me from the boring ordeal of sock shopping in M&S on a Saturday afternoon. But Sam similar to our conversation, I once again discussed this with a ‘friend’. You know, bounce ideas off, use as a sounding board, discuss the finer details of a the ‘sockscription’ model. What happened you all ask, well…………….

Summary, one bloke got rich, one didn’t (but he didn’t get bitter either (nor is he a thief), so in my eyes, he’s the better man.

So, with a proven track record, £50k for a business plan on half birthday cards anyone?