When all you need is an ‘8’

Without getting into the specifics, Suzi and I are well past the age where we’d put one candle for each year on our birthday cakes or the cupcakes we usually eat now.

There are way too many to fit them all easily or get them all lit without any melting, plus the ol’ lung capacity isn’t what it used to be.

Plus it would really suck to explain that our house burned down because of birthday candles.

Instead, we get numbers for our ages, and since Suzi’s birthday is four months before mine, I needed to grab an “8” candle at the store … for the last number, not the first.

Shockingly, there’s no entry on grocery store aisle signs for “birthday candles,” so I had to deduce they were in the baking goods aisle. (Talk about putting that master’s degree to use.)

It actually took a few seconds to register that the empty hook between the “7” and the “9” was the exact candle I was looking for. It never occurred to me that they wouldn’t have the candle. It’s not like they’re on weekly grocery lists, and they’re not even easy to find!

That would be like figuring you’d never run out of spaghetti sauce at home because your wife picked up a jar every week until she stopped because there were already six in the cabinet and didn’t think about it until she was making pasta and realized there was no sauce, necessitating and emergency run down the hill to the grocery store.

Or so I’ve heard.

Hey, it happens, right? (And if you don’t do the grocery shopping, it’s not like you have any reason to complain.)

Who checks on individually numbered birthday candles? Could most of the employees even find them?

But at least if it’s spaghetti sauce, or bread, or toilet paper or most of the hundreds of other things in the store, barring an impending-winter-storm run on the shelves, there’s always some on display, probably more stored in the back and the next shipment likely not more than a few days away.

And if any of those things were actually in danger of running out, someone would probably notice, and I imagine the store would put out an urgent request to get more as soon as possible.

Who checks on individually numbered birthday candles? Could most of the employees even find them? How long have they been out?

Plus, how do stores refill them? I can’t imagine a panicked message to whoever the supplier is because the “8”s are all gone … although “1,” “2,” “6” and “0” also look like they’re running low, so someone might want to get on that.

But there’s a bigger question at play here.

Why “8”?

Did something happen to cause a run on 8-year-olds, 80-somethings or birthdays ending in “8” in January 2020?

I’m not going to research the entire history of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century — although if the British House of Commons agreeing to allow Sunday sports on April 20, 1931, didn’t inspire amorous feelings, I don’t know what would have — but I was curious to see if there was something in the water in 2011.

Was the “Game of Thrones” premiere on April 17 that exciting?

We may never know.

Cupcakes with candles

So, anyway, about the candles … I texted Suzi a photo of the shelf, which she thought was funny, and bought a package of regular candles in case we didn’t have any at home.

Suzi had already arranged the cupcakes in a pleasant display — for the record, I don’t bake, but I offered to buy her a cake from the local bakery and she said no because she wanted to bake a recipe with Nutella that’s in one of her cookbooks — and we just added a few candles to the middle.

The cupcakes were mighty tasty.

And the store has to stock up before May.


“Did you see the ‘8’ I bought?” Suzi said after reading this post.

She had gone grocery shopping (at a different store), but I hadn’t seen it when we put everything away. We went digging through the grocery bags, and there it was.

So now we’re all set for my birthday in May, our birthdays 10 years from now and when we’re in our 80s, except for when we’re 88, because we’ll need two.




15 thoughts on “When all you need is an ‘8’

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