Pranks and practical jokes are, for the most part, incongruous little moments of humor injected into an otherwise pedestrian moment in time. Well, at least they’re humorous to one of the people involved. Even a moment like a birthday celebration, for all the emphasis we place on it at varying points in our lives, is not immune to the chicanery of some wise ass with a smirk and an idea.
Of all the silly pranks performed during a birthday, I’ve always thought trick candles were the most nakedly cruel. Most of the moments in birthday celebration are either tolerably boring, mildly endearing, or even warmly appreciative. It’s supposed to be a happy time and while no one really seems to mind a bit of roasted ridicule thrown into the pot, it’s also quite deflating. The trick candles used on a birthday cake raise the stakes and add a moment of public shame to the awkward melange already stewing.