I can’t remember if I ever stayed up until midnight to get a present. Probably not as a kid. Possibly as an adult. Birthdays had less excitement than the other gift giving holiday. The Chicago area has awful winters, but it always has pretty good Christmas weather. Even when there isn’t snow, the grey clouded sky, the bare tree branches, the wind threatening. It feels like something foreboding. But harmless. The year you don’t make out as well on presents as you want. If the Matrix had run on brain power and not bodily fluids, they could have just run a bunch of kids through the Christmas anticipation. Maybe in a Disney version if Disney hires Zach Snyder someday. Birthdays don’t have that energy. They have their own foreboding energy—good or bad, they’re the holiday you get to make up yourself every year.

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