words like awesome, terrible,
once reserved for mountains and thunderstorms
now describe pizza

The Birthday Song

I can’t think of anything I love more than my 93-year-old grandmother singing ‘happy birthday’ to me on the phone. The birthday song is one of the only songs some people ever sing. People who don’t consider themselves singers will usually give it a try, and practice it over years and years at the birthdays of people they love. I’m not much enthralled with that song but I appreciate that it serves that function–I’ll get to hear someone sing, and even forget to be self-conscious, because the birthday song itself is a toss-away behind the impulse to wish someone something good.