“You can always tell artists—they do their work every day whether they get paid or not”from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Eric & Luke Foster by ©Kaja Tirrul

“Eric and Luke are hilarious. I think everyone who has ever met them would whole-heartedly agree with this statement! While photographing the Fosters I had moments of laughing so hard tears came to my eyes, not only because of the jokes that came out of their mouths, but because of the way that they speak to one another. They constantly say little quips and jabs, finishing off on jokes that the other would start – they really need a travelling show of some kind!” – Kaja T

Image © Kaja Tirrul

An Interview with Eric & Luke

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

Eric: For me it was when we turned 19. I remember coming home from work to a house full of friends and family, and pools full of people, and smaller pools full of beer. We marched down to the lcbo to buy our first “legal” case of beer, and partied all night. It was a pretty typical 19th birthday, but when I think of which one was the best my memory always goes there. We were together, which changed over the years as life got in the way. My Opa was there, (my grandfather) and all of our family. It was an entire weekend affair. I think It wasn’t the party itself that made it special, it was that it was the last of our young life and the first of our adult life.  

Luke: As a triplet, whenever the three of us get together it’s special. Turning 19 with was a blast. We had a pool party with everyone we knew, and a smaller kiddy pool full of booze. We partied all night at the local pub, had friends, friends of friends, and old high school teachers come out. If all three of us get together it’s a great Birthday. There’s been a few occasions where there’s only two of us. Recently my sister and I celebrated our Birthday in Seoul and stayed out all night behaving terribly. Then we stayed in a Hotel room and beat Halo 4.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

Eric: Most of them are pretty good, my family usually makes a birthday pretty special. But there was one or two when my brother and sister (I’m a triplet) were out of the country and I had to celebrate them by myself. It was still a lot of fun, but its not the same when a birthday party is missing 2/3rds of the party.

Luke: Our most recent Birthday was the worst, because all 3 of us were in different parts of the world so we couldn’t celebrate together.

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

Eric: Once, my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) got me a card that totally blew my mind. My wife is the sweetest woman you’ll ever meet, very polite, friendly, and on the quiet side. It was just a card, that’s it. All it said on the front, in beautiful, cursive letters was “I Fucking Love You”. I literally fell to the floor laughing, and I still do when I see the card. It’s in my bedside table for when I need a laugh.

Luke:  Hmmmm…. presents aren’t usually a big focus of our Birthday. My dad used to get us potato guns when we were kids. We’d shoot each other and leave little pieces of potato all over the house.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

Eric: Bbq’d anything, ice cream cake, and liquor. In that order.

Luke: An Ice Cream cake from the Downtowne Ice Cream Shoppe in Merrickville. I’ll kill people for that cake.

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

Eric: Family getting together to celebrate that person (or people). Doing whatever they want for their birthday, and putting on a smile even if whatever they’ve chosen is actually awful. That day is about that person, so its always worth the effort to make them feel at least a little special.

Luke: Being with family and friends. I’ve always shared my birthday with my brother and sister. If all three of us get together, behave badly, and sing happy birthday to each other then I think it’s the best Birthday it can be. I think birthdays should be a time for people to stop and feel good about themselves. Take stock of your accomplishments, have a party, or take yourself out for a fancy dinner. Or buy yourself a motorcycle. People should do something special on their birthday.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

Eric: When cake is served, my Opa (grandfather) would always fool the new people at the party. Whether it was some of my parents friends who hadn’t been around in a while, or new girlfriends or boyfriends, it didn’t matter. Anyone was free game. He would innocently say “mmm this is good cake…but it smells bad…” to the person beside him, they would think hes just a sweet old man and play along. They would usually offer to smell his to see if he was right, and then when they got their nose good and close he would push the cake up with one hand and their head down with the other. Coating their entire face in icing. Every member of my family says this whenever there is cake around, but especially on a birthday. That, and bad, bad singing. My parents would call and leave messages of them singing happy birthday horribly off key. Even as a large group, when cake is served the entire party does their best to sound especially bad. Somehow the especially bad singing makes it seem especially fun.

Luke: We go to the pub in the small town we’re from, and have a beer. As is tradition. If all three of us are there it gets wild.