I have just returned from yet another birthday bash, in fact two bashes. As in almost all birthday celebrations, there were cakes (really delicious ones) which were dutifully smeared on the Birthday Boy's face, a number of dubious concoctions pored over his head etc. Amidst all this, there was also another form of celebration; one which seemed to provide the maximum fun to everybody around here; something that I always dread about - BIRTHDAY BUMPS.
Personally, I feel this is one of the most stupid and irresponsible way of celebrating a birthday. I've seen (and also received a few myself) countless 'Birthday Bumps' since the final years of school. In most cases, a couple of guys lift the birthday boy by his hands and legs. The rest of his ‘friends’ take turns to kick his buttocks. The number of kicks will depend on the popularity of the guy. And mind you, these kicks are not just kicks by namesake. They are real hard blows given with shoes. People even run down from a distance to gather momentum and deliver the blow with maximum force.
Today’s ‘Bumps’ were especially more outrageous. There seemed to be complete chaos and everyone was kicking the ‘boy’ from all possible directions.. Many a time, he was dropped by the ‘carriers’. Today, I think he almost got hit on his back rather than the buttocks.
In all these wild celebratory moods, people rarely seem to notice where they are kicking. One small mis-timed kick onto the spinal cord can just cripple the person for life. In fact, even the buttocks may not withstand such forceful kicks. All this fun and frolic can just vanish in a second. Then no amount of guilt or remorse or anything can alter things. It will not only cripple the boy, but will forever change the lives of all those present.
I might sound so very ‘un-cool’ or just plain boring. But I definitely do think that people should take this seriously. There are 1000 other harmless ways to have fun. I too take part in all the cake smearing, concoction pouring exercises. But I’ll definitely not take part in such a mindless stupid violent activity just in the name of fun. Imparting pain (potentially tragic) to someone, especially on their birthday, is not fun for me.
I found this blog on the net, describing the fate of a young boy who received one such ‘mis-timed’ kick on his back: Please refrain from giving Birthday Bumps
A small historical note: ‘Birthday Bumps’ seems to have originated in Ireland where it was believed to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck. But back then, it just involved ‘bumping’ (swinging) the person up and down. The number of bumps given is equal to the age of the person plus one for luck. In the US, the birthday boy (or girl) was spanked on the back. Somewhere down the ages, this has taken this more violent form.