Today is my co-workers birthday. What’s the appropriate show of support?

I’m always at a loss when it comes to these types of events. Frankly, I hate them. I know when my birthday comes around I don’t want a big deal made out of it. My boss can buy me lunch and I’ll consider the whole thing taken care of. The last thing I want is to make my co-workers feel like they have to make some sort of big show of celebration because I just happened to be getting a year older.

What makes this even more challenging is that I barely know this lady. She’s young, turning 23, and has zero work-related interaction with me. As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s an open concept office, so everyone shares in each other’s misery. She walked in this morning and immediately had to go around to each of us showing off the wonderful box of crap that her boss gave her. Ooh, look, a wind up dancing toy thing. IDGAF! OOH! A bag of candy! OMG! A mug with her name on it!! Big Flippin’ Deal! Who cares?

Are we so needy that the office needs to celebrate our birthdays like we’re in the 5th grade? Seriously! The Boy stopped wanting a big party around the time he hit middle school. The Girl doesn’t want us to even acknowledge that she’s 16 and still hasn’t decided what to do to celebrate (her birthday was in February!). Why are my co-workers so desperate to be recognized on the anniversary of their birth?

Maybe it’s just because I’m older than the rest of this rabble. Is this some sign of my “maturity” that I don’t jump for joy whenever it’s a co-worker’s birthday? Or, am I just evolving into that curmudgeonly old man who wants everyone to get off of his lawn and to turn their damn music down?

Of course, the big plus is that while the rest of the office is celebrating, the guy killing both his and my hearing by blaring his speed metal beyond the bounds of his headphones will turn it off long enough to scarf down a slice of Costco birthday cake! My wife always tells me to “look at the bright side” or “find the silver lining” in every situation. So, there you have it, my bright spot today will be the 30 minutes I’m not subjected to death metal.