My brother Axel perfectly captures how I feel.
I know many people embrace their natal day with euphoric glee, but if you’re like me, you take this day off work, sleep in and wake thinking this uplifting thought:
Me: Wow, I’m officially seventeen years shy of seventy. Is 9 am too early to down a fifth of gin and call it breakfast?
Fortunately, I have only gone partially to seed and I’m confident that I can still pass for 48 ½ at least in low lighting when around the clueless and anyone blind.
Sure. That’s me.
My friends, family, boss and colleagues have all treated me well.
My father called me last Sunday morning to ensure that he was the very first to re-remind me of my birthday before rocket-launching into a tirade about my sister, Dovima, who hit a milestone involving a six and a zero last month.
Box of hand-picked all dark chocolate See’s candy from Dovima.
Dad: I can’t believe how old your sister is now. Can you?
Me: You’re 85! What’s there to believe?
Dad: Why are you talking about leaves?
My father has all of his marbles but he’s extremely hard of hearing, something I inherited from him along with a degree of wit, narrow feet and a propensity for whining.
My long-time bud, Martini Max, hell-bent on not screwing up on this date for the twentieth year in a row (not to imply that I keep track of this sort of reliable snafu), sent me a card that arrived in Tuesday’s mail.
Trademark Martini Max-style card.
He also emailed me the following:
Martini Max email: I have your b-day listed in neon on my desk calendar so I don’t forget!!!
At The Grind, my sidekick, Greg, took it upon himself to get me a modest cake, a dense, gluten free, dark chocolate concoction with a thin layer of raspberry jam under a layer of semi-sweet chocolate glaze dusted with edible gold.
I have no idea how he knew exactly what cake to get.
Don’t screw this up.
The bakery asked him if he wanted it inscribed and sprinkled with edible gold stars. He knows me well so he knows my aversion to ostentation and artifice. He declined. While we were eating the cake he mentioned the stars and how he figured cheesy decoration might make me recoil prompting me to bleat:
Me: Oh, that’s too gay?
Our boss, Elsbeth, and colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore), howled at that one. I noticed that Elsbeth, who always writes our names on the envelopes of birthday cards in her elaborate art school-style script, had left mine blank.
For no name me.
I protested this indignity:
Me: You left the envelope of my card blank!
Elsbeth: You don’t know your name by now?
All that was missing from that response was a snare drum rumble and cymbal crash.
My superior has been on a roll with me all week. On Tuesday night, I ate an Ataulfo mango for the first time.
Warning: Ataulfo mangoes.
I have always been an ambitious eater and I thought:
Me: Huh. Something different. Sign me up!
Yet I was unaware until after I ate my Ataulfo mango that it’s a puck of pure acid and it left me feeling like I was reenacting the meltdown at Three Mile Island inside my very sensitive guts.
When I shared the news of my brush with accidental death by mango with Elsbeth, she listened attentively to my horror story. Yet, I had the distinct impression that my superior was repressing gales of laughter when she observed:
Elsbeth: That happened because your body is so pure now.
On the woman-front there is some validity to that these days for I am once again single although I will be suffering my birthday with my dear friend, Milton. We’re seeing a play, End of the Rainbow, on Broadway tonight. This is the story about the last six months of Judy Garland’s life, and unfortunately, it’s not being performed Carol Burnett sitcom-style. What I anticipate will be the even bigger tragedy though is our seats. We have okay seats in the mezzanine, but we could have had terrific seats in the center orchestra at a deep discount if I didn’t blow that opportunity.
Last fall, I got involved with a dame with an ass that was worthy of display in the Louvre who earlier this spring lured me away from pouncing on those great seats with a link to a fantasy costume site and this promise:
Pick one out and I’ll wear it for you on your birthday.
I felt like I had won the Powerball lottery or at the very least was a disgraced politician. The choices were so extensive I could not stop drooling and had to invest in a bib. I also had difficulty making up my mind – did I want her to go in the direction of animal, mineral or Bettie Page? Then, something unanticipated happened, this femme fatale kicked me to the curb via G-chat. Poof. No tantric sex with a knockoff Bettie Page for me.
That ain’t happening either.
Adding injury to insult, our great End of the Rainbow seats on my birthday were history. Milton the Infinitely Patient Friend claims that he’s fine with our mezzanine seats since he’s too kind to say out loud what he is surely thinking:
Milton: You and those fuckin’ dames! Will you ever learn?
Now that I’m seventeen years shy of seventy, maybe I’ll finally start catching on.
Classic birthday card to me from Milton.