Restaurants’ birthday songs far cry from celebratory bliss

Restaurants birthday songs far cry from celebratory bliss

Ah, the long list of American traditions.Who doesn’t love Memorial Day cookouts, fireworks on July Fourth or turkey on Thanksgiving?

These rituals cut straight to what Americans love the most: the outdoors, things that can violently blow up Porta-Potties and foods high in fat.

There is one custom, though, that mystifies the great majority of Americans: the birthday embarrassment at restaurants.

You’ve seen it too many times before, and it’s pure evil. Someone in the booth next to you has a birthday and the wait staff has to act like a bunch of tweaked-out drug addicts and make the “lucky” patron feel awkward in celebration of their birth.

The situation differs depending on your palate.

Like Mexican food? Then prepare to be serenaded by the restaurant’s in-house mariachi band.

Big fan of pizza? Someone’s going to bust out an accordion and sing an excruciatingly off-key version of “Happy Birthday.”

Ribs more your style? Your waitress will bring out an oversized cowboy hat and a saddle you have to sit on while all cooks emerge from the back to laugh at you.

Happy freakin’ birthday.

This tradition is no fun for any patron, birthday or not. Look, it’s great John turned 21 and is having his first legal margarita, but I just want to enjoy my Grand Slam breakfast in peace in the parallel universe where Denny’s serves margaritas.

If they really want to celebrate John’s birthday, why not just take him in the back and throw him a little party? They can all have a cake and discuss topics of interest to the kitchen staff away from the diners who went out to eat with the hopes of not being assaulted by idiocy.

Managers eat the birthday shenanigans up because they can “boost worker happiness ratios,” “create a cohesive employment environment” or some other corporate buzz phrase they learned at the company conference at the Holiday Inn in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Why not have a wacky T-shirt day or some workplace contests to keep the employees from killing each other?

Stupid songs that peeve the entire restaurant aren’t going to do a thing except make the guy at table six order a Drano on the rocks.

Why not plop down the free dessert and end it there? It’s like a right of passage from a National Geographic special.

Instead of walking hot coals or sticking their hands in a glove full of harvester ants upon the arrival of their 13th birthday in order to earn their manhood, American males must be made a fool of in front of the dinner rush at Chili’s in order to earn cake.

I don’t think anyone’s birthday dreams would be crushed by the absence of an annoying, unnecessary fuss being made about the day of their arrival into this world.

Why this practice was introduced and how it still continues to this day is a mystery.

Just give me the cake and go away.

David Hall is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood. His column appears Wednesdays.