I sometimes get requests from Savage Chickens readers to do something special for a birthday or an anniversary, and I always try to come up with something in time whenever I can. But the very first request I ever got was from Karina C., way back in 2005, during the first year of the chickens. I created this cartoon for her birthday (shown here). As of last week, we’ve been celebrating her birthday together for 15 years!
It’s a funny thing to celebrate a virtual stranger’s birthday every year, and I highly recommend it. Every August, when Karina’s birthday comes up, I start thinking about her. Is she happy? Does she feel like celebrating her birthday, or does she just want to ignore it? Is she healthy? Is she in a job that she enjoys? Is her family doing okay? How is her life going?
Because I was always celebrating Karina’s birthday with an annual comic tribute, it became this annual time for thinking about this person that I’d never met and hoping she was okay and happy and having a good life. Which is kind of great. Many of the world’s problems boil down to a fear of strangers, and I wonder if we’d all be a bit better off if we just picked a random stranger and started celebrating their existence.
This year, Karina’s birthday was extra-special because we finally met face-to-face! We met up on Zoom and had a great visit and it felt like meeting somebody for the first time but also like catching up with an old friend. So many laughs! Happy birthday, Karina! I look forward to celebrating with you for many many years to come!
Here are all of the birthday comics I’ve drawn for Karina over the years: