This weekend my husband and I went out with my friend Sarah to celebrate her husband Keith’s birthday. Naturally, when the cake was brought out, we all felt that inevitable inclination to sing.
Starting the “Happy Birthday” song is one of the most awkward and tedious social conventions there is. Nobody really enjoys singing “Happy Birthday,” yet we all feel like we have to do it. There’s something about that first note, that labored “Haaaaa” that makes it feel like a dirgelike obligation.
Fortunately, however, Sarah and I remembered something. We don’t sing “Happy Birthday” on people’s birthdays. We sing the theme to Greatest American Hero.
I’m not sure how we made this discovery about how the GAH theme is superior to the “Happy Birthday” song. I think we were just talking about how great the song is, were joking about how it should be everyone’s theme and realized it makes a fantastic birthday song. As opposed to the dragging tedium of the “Happy Birthday” song, the GAH theme is uplifting, with a sense of wonder. You—yes you!—have a birthday! Who could believe it? We’re going to celebrate! Plus, it’s much easier and much more fun to sing:
Now, I know we’re not exactly the first people to co-opt the GAH theme song for other purposes, so let me pay diligence where it’s due:
But why should George Costanza have all the fun? Next time you’re at a birthday party and feel yourself drawing in that horrible breath to begin “Happy Birthday,” try something like this on for size instead:
Believe it or not,
Claire’s walking on air.
She never thought she could feel so free eee eee.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just Claire.
(Actually it’s even better if you can somehow have your name modified so that it rhymes with “be,” so the last line should be something like “Believe it or not it’s C.Z.” or “Believe it or not it’s Claire Z.”)
I’m positive that this will result in many a better birthday celebration, and probably make people start looking forward to turning a year older, as opposed to dreading the inevitable march towards the grave.