One of the unfortunate consequences of giving my birth date to Brooks Brothers, the car dealer, my primary care physician, and various websites, retailers and charities is that they send me birthday greetings on a day I’d rather forget.

Actually, the only people who look forward to their birthdays are kids who want toys, teenagers who want a driver’s license and millennials who want to spend the day and night partying.

On the other hand, sometimes my family forgets my birthday, so it’s good to know I can count on my faithful and friendly Toyota dealer to send a greeting, which is the first thing I see when I wake up and check my email.

“Dear Joe,

Happy birthday! Just wanted you to know we’re thinking of you here at Toyota. Your friends in the car business wish you another year of happy and safe motoring.

Peace and love,


I know you cynics are probably thinking, “He’s a jerk if he believes that greeting is sincere. Alphonse only wants to sell him another car!”

Well, let me tell you something, Mr. or Ms. CYNIC PERSON. I was touched by that greeting, especially since I haven’t purchased a car from Alphonse in 11 years. In fact, I don’t think I ever purchased a car from Alphonse. It was Tony of Kent or DeShawn. Now that I recall, it was Bertha. But Bertha probably got fired for not selling enough cars, so Alphonse inherited her birthday list, and the next time I’m looking for a new car, I intend to speed-dial Alphonse because his birthday greeting was heartfelt … and if it wasn’t heartfelt, so what? It was as un-heartfelt as all the other greetings I got. Actually, he should have sent something like this:

“Dear Joe,

Happy birthday! We know this must be a hard time for and you need sympathy. How old are you? Don’t want to say? The best way to deal with the depression another birthday brings is to go on a spending spree, and you can start by buying a fully loaded, overpriced luxury car and pay a ton of sales tax so the State of Connecticut can solve its latest budget crisis and not have to legalize marijuana.”

I didn’t even get a card from the State of Connecticut. With all the taxes I’ve given them over the years, it was the least they could do.

My gastroenterologist never forgets my birthday: “Hey, big guy. I mean, hey, old guy! How are you? Another year come and gone. Time for a colonoscopy, haha! I know how much you enjoy them, haha!”

And my dentist remembered. He gave me floss along with his sincere greetings:

“Hi Joe,

Your friends at Dental Delight wish you a happy birthday. We hope you have a wonderful day and look forward to seeing you again VERY soon. Did you get new dental insurance since you quit your job? By the way, how is that loose crown? And we probably should check out that old root canal. They don’t last forever, you know!

Dr. Goodtooth”

That greeting was warmer and fuzzier than the text message I got from my daughter that said: “Happy birthday, Dad! Have a great day! (Emojis of a birthday cake, balloon, and a gift box.)

I also received cards and emails from several charities and websites. How did they get my birth date anyway? Did I give it to them? I may as well have given them my Social Security number, my credit card and a key to the house.

My favorite greeting was from Sharecare, the healthy living website that features Dr. Oz:

“Happy birthday! We’re celebrating you and the many good years to come. Start looking and feeling your youngest today. Update your real age!”

Then they gave me a quiz to assess the damage I’ve done to my body over the years with my bad habits. The good news is my body is actually 10 years younger than my chronological age … or maybe it was 10 years older. They also sent me a video titled “Habits that age you,” which said, “Ditch these lifestyle pitfalls to add years to your life and take years off your face.”

Now, that’s a birthday greeting I can put to good use … after I have my root canal fixed.