To protect the birthday person against such awful influences, the tradition of the birthday party evolved, surrounding the individual with love, laughter, music, gifts and entertainment. This works. At least, it has, so far, for me. I’ve tried other methods, but I find that the best way to ward off the “evil spirits” of shock (am I really that old?), stress (shouldn’t I have accomplished more by now?), fear (what’s going to become of me?) and foolhardiness (maybe I should prove I’m still young by climbing to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge again) is to throw a big, balloon-filled, debaucherous, orgiastic birthday bacchanal of love, laughter, music, gifts, entertainment and lots of sexual activity with beautiful people hanging out in their birthday suits.