Therapist: Please put that out. You know there’s no smoking in my office.
Happy Birthday Song: Fine. Sorry.
Therapist: It’s fine. You seem irritable. What’s on your mind?
HBS: I’m a terrible song.
HBS: It’s true. Everyone hates me.
Therapist: What makes you think that?
HBS: I was at Benihana yesterday for dinner with Elaine—
Therapist: How are things going with Elaine?
HBS: She’s maniacal. I’m pretty sure she’s trying to kill me. But the sex is great, so I’m just gonna ride it out, I think. Anyway, so we’re at Benihana, I’m enjoying my Sapporo, and all of a sudden I’m flying out of people’s mouths left and right at the table behind us. And no one is on fucking key. NO ONE. Everyone’s got their own key center of a song that’s only seven notes in the SAME FUCKING OCTAVE. Half of them aren’t even in the same key they started in by the end.
Therapist: How did that make you feel?
HBS: Besides being used? Embarrassed. We went from a nice dinner where we weren’t even arguing to me apologizing for something that isn’t even my fault. And Elaine kept telling me, “It’s not your fault baby, it’s not your fault! Let’s just enjoy our dinner.” But I couldn’t stop. I kept saying, “You don’t know what it’s like to be abused like this every day, every time you go out. You have no clue, do you?”
Therapist: Why do you somehow feel obligated to apologize for the behavior of others?
HBS: You know, at least when we go for dinner at her parents’ house and their family sings it, they manage to do a nice little vocal harmony at the end. It reminds me of how proud I used to be of myself. I wasn’t a hack way back when… I was an integral part of every birthday celebration. I was honored daily. Now I go to Beni-fucking-hana and they sing me off-key and totally disinterestedly, then they have the GALL to sing some alternate version – which is NOT Japanese, by the way. I know. I called up Tanjyoobi-Omedeto over in Kyoto, he doesn’t sound anything like that chorus of cat electrocution that they call Happy Birthday, which is just an overglorified jibberish version of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”
Therapist: It sounds like you have a lot of inner anger related to this.
HBS: You think?!
Therapist: I can’t help but think of the incident you told me concerning your 12th anniversary of being written—
HBS: Don’t even think about bringing my mother into this. I know where you’re going with this, and don’t go there. This has nothing to do with her.
Therapist: You know I don’t buy into Freud.
HBS: Well you can bet your ass I’m right there with you.
Therapist: We’re out of time anyway. I think we made some real progress today.