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Your birthday is today, and also three months from now

November 3, 2021

I’ve been meaning to post more regularly as part NaNoWriMo this year, but like any good writer I’ve successfully procrastinated for a few days. My first post was going to be an uplifting missive on my ongoing recovery from Bell’s Palsy, but when I was on the toilet this morning I saw Twitter wanted to know when my birthday is. Why does Twitter need to know my birthday? Not for anything good, I’m sure. Maybe it’ll be as benign as them promoting more tweets about snowblowers into my feed, but I doubt it.

What I was reminded of at that moment, though, is that not only should you never share your actual birthday on any sort of social media, but you should also be strategically deceptive about when the online world thinks your birthday is. For example, I belong to any number of “clubs” for various restaurant chains and they also invariably want to know my birthday. In these instances, however, it’s because on my birthday they will send me a coupon for something free. Sharing this information is a good trade, because I like free things, particularly of the food variety. (If they offer me merely a discount — including BOGOs — it’s an automatic cancel.)

Security issues aside, though, you can quickly see the problem with using your actual birthday for these dozens of memberships — all the freebies will arrive at once, and even Joey Chestnut would struggle to redeem every offer, to say nothing of actually savoring them. Therefore, you need to space out your birthday over the course of the year so you have a steady supply of offers from which to choose. To Sbarro, I’m a Capricorn. Corner Bakery knows me as a Virgo. And my local brunch place gets a visit from me late in every April.

The point is, like someone who is recovering from Bell’s Palsy, you have to take care to give yourself regular breaks. It’s ridiculous to stress out over whether you can cash in both that free burrito and an order of falafel at lunch after you already downed a gratis donut from one place and a comped muffin from another for breakfast. That’s the Virgo in you talking, and remember, it’s not real.

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