“There is always someone “better”” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Darren Gothard by © Camila Gargantini

“A monkey on a unicycle pizza cutter. A birthday gift that Darren got from his girlfriend Jane in 2014 (since his speciality is making pizza from scratch), which he accidentally left behind in England when he moved to Toronto in 2015…. but finally and recently reunited with when his parents came to visit this past May. I thought the story was a nice touch… the monkey makes a cameo in the photo. And Darren did make pizza dough for lunch that day. It was fun! ” – Camila G

Image by © Camila Gargantini

An Interview with Darren

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. I spent my 21st Birthday in Italy on a field hockey tour with my University team. It was 2 weeks before our final exams, so I knew it was be the last time we would all hang out together as a team and as friends. Also – my 25th Birthday was in Barcelona with my girlfriend. She flew into Europe to meet my family (for the first time) and attend my Sister’s wedding. We spent the day on a Hop On/ Hop Off bus in the glorious Spanish sunshine.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I remember at the age of 9 or 10 I had a “football” (soccer) party at my uncle’s sports ground. We were divided into small teams, perhaps 5-a-side, and I remember getting really upset that my team didn’t win… There was cake though, so I guess the birthday turned out fine!

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that surprised you most?

A. My girlfriend isn’t very good at surprises – but this year she smashed it. We got on a streetcar in the early afternoon and I had no idea where we were going. Turns out she took my hints about loving BBQ food, and we had an amazing meal at: Smoque N’ Bones BBQ n’ Bourbon Bar. We then went onto our friend’s house party, where they had bought me a mini cake to celebrate.

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

A. Cake. I think there has to be cake on a birthday. Any type is fine – but just something that can hold a candle, and allow for a quick wish.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. Having spend the last 6 years travelling with my job, I think the most important this is about WHO you spend your birthday with. I could be in Italy, Spain, England, Toronto or Miami – as long as I’m with some friends/family, then I’ll have a good time.

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

A. Growing up I always liked to include sports in my birthdays. We would play football, or basketball – or anything really. It’s a great way to bring loads of friends together. As an adult, I think the sports theme is still there. This year I went to the Blue Jays home-opener. A few years ago I went to a Marlies game.