Passive aggression comes in many forms, but I prefer the subtle approach for added deniability. The message is still there, of course, but it's not so obvious as to get you immediately disowned.
"Here's a big dead tree to represent your general state of witheredness.
"Oh, and..." [jazz hands] "Happy birthday."
If she asks, it's a crown. But we both know better.
"No, Mom, of COURSE that's not a hand giving you the finger. It's a crown. Because you are a ROYAL...delight."
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this engagement cake:
Mother-in-Law: + 20
When the subtle approach isn't getting the job done, though, sometimes you have to step up your game. And then put it in quotes:
"Also, I got this off the week-old clearance rack. For free."
"We know; we just wanted to make extra sure you knew you were being excluded."
"No, seriously, we're reeeeally sorry about that. Now, can we get you some cake? Or a drink? Maybe some adult diapers?"
Sarah C. claims she only asked for Happy Birthday, and the baker overheard her saying the rest on the phone to someone else. Riiiiight. How'd that excuse fly with the birthday girl, Sarah?
Of course, when it comes to passive aggressive cakes, nothing can ever compare to the ones mom used to make.
Oops, looks like we just missed Jason - he's gone on a guilt trip. See ya when you get back, buddy! "Enjoy!"
Thanks to Anne M., Courtney B., Emily K., Greer D., Laura P., Jessica S., Jennifer B., Sarah C., & Sue F., who will always still love me. Right, guys?