Tag Archives: birthday

Lame Adventure 322: Cake Chaos

Whenever someone’s birthday rolls around at my company we have a cake.  In departments other than mine, where quantity steamrolls quality in appeal, it’s often a mammoth-sized confection of a dense cheese variety topped with gelatinous uniformly sized strawberries that I suspect are manufactured by Dow Chemical.  Our showroom manager, Coco, refers to these cakes in two words:

Coco: Colon cleanse.

Any cake that can double as colonoscopy prep is not welcome in my department, Design.  In general we prefer delightful treats in bite sized-portions.  I’m thinking that next year I might request a cake so small and luxurious that my sidekick, Greg, will be assigned to stand next to me to hold my candle.  That’s another rule of Cake in Design.  The candle is limited to one.  This probably has more to do with my boss Elsbeth and I being a combined 833 in dog years.  We share a mutual disinclination to blow out a forest fire of eyebrow singeing flames.

This week my buddy and colleague (not) Under Ling (anymore) celebrated her natal date.  (not) Under Ling (anymore) told me that she didn’t want a cake and was more in the mood for a fruit tart.

Me: Could you go for a raspberry tart?

How about a raspberry tart like this one decorated with a single candle?

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Yes.  And don’t worry I’ll act completely surprised like I had no idea it was coming when you guys give it to me.

Me: Possibly you could appear so shocked, you could fake fainting?

I called Le Pain Quotidien and special ordered a seven-inch raspberry tart for my colleague.  Elsbeth gave me the payment in cash.  Greg, who does all the heavy lifting including that of 14 ounce tarts, picked it up. Then, we had to come up with the latest harebrained ruse so (not) Under Ling (anymore) could feign surprise.

Elsbeth sent her to the photo room to take a photograph.  I had the bright idea that if we sent our unpaid Summer Intern to the photo room to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) this might take our veteran staffer off the scent for a nanosecond.  Elsbeth thought that was brilliant.  The boss gave Greg, who was working in our warehouse, the universal hand signal screaming one of two things, “Yes, I have read all three installments of the Fifty Shades of Grey series” and “Get your ass in here now!”  I lighted the candle on the cake and ordered Our Summer Intern:

Me:  Okay, go now — get her!

Greg raced into our office as our Summer Intern raced out.  Elsbeth, Greg and I  waited.  And waited.  We were approaching a ten count when our superior spoke:

Elsbeth:  Where did our Summer Intern go?

Greg:  Wasn’t she just supposed to get (not) Under Ling (anymore)?

Annoyed, I left our office, and thoroughly scoured our warehouse for our missing  Summer Intern.  She was either expertly hiding from me, or she instantly found a paying gig, or she was living my fantasy i.e., she walked out the door and just keep going.  I returned to our office intern-less with this report to my waiting Superior.

Me: I don’t know where she went.

Elsbeth: You took so long I thought you went missing!

Greg:  Like an episode of The Twilight Zone.  Everyone who steps out to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) disappears!

[insert beat]

Elsbeth (to me):  Just get (not) Under Ling (anymore).

I visit (not) Under Ling (anymore) in the photo room, and lamely say:

Me: Elsbeth wants the camera back.  Now.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) (muttering to self):  Finally, I get my cake!

We eat the cake baffled over what happened to our Summer Intern, but not that baffled that we sent out another search posse.

Picture perfect slice (not) Under Ling (anymore) cuts for herself.

Mangled slice (not) Under Ling (anymore) cuts for me.

My phone rings.  It’s Coco’s extension:

Coco:  Your Summer Intern wants to know if she can come back upstairs now?

Me:  Was she down there with you all this time?

Coco: Yeah.  What the hell’s going on with you guys?

Me:  She was supposed to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) – not visit you!

In response to Elsbeth asking me what happened to our missing Summer Intern I calmly explain to my superior that there was a miscommunication.

Then I popped my fork through my plate.

Stabbed plate held by Elsbeth.

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Lame Adventure 318: The Lion in Summer

This week, on Wednesday, my close personal friend Milton bade farewell to the coveted 18 – 49 age demographic six days ahead of his obvious counterpart in the hairline department, Tom Cruise.

Milton.

Milton had a good day.  He had entered the ticket lottery for one of the handful of front row $26 seats to the matinee performance of Wicked, the always sold out musical on Broadway.  He won!

Milton loved the novel written by Gregory Maguire that is the basis for this show, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, but he was certain it would be watered down.  During intermission he emailed me.  I asked:

Me: How’s the show?

Milton: It’s empty, but has its moments.

Me: Oh, it’s the story of my life!

Afterward, when we got together at Bettibar, an adorable theater district pub upstairs from the Hourglass Tavern, Milton admitted that he was very impressed with the show’s overall production.  Had he seen it when he was nine he thinks he would have been in such a state of bliss he would have instantly become obsessed with Broadway shows.  He seemed pretty happy about it at the half century mark or maybe it was the shot of tequila he had just pounded talking?

Initially, Milton was afraid to get together with me for he was with a few other dear friends the night before celebrating at the Cheesecake Factory in Westbury, Long Island.  They arranged to have Happy Birthday sung to him.  He was now irrationally worried that I might subject him to the same fate, something he could not endure twice.  What could I say to assuage his fear?

Me:  Are you insane?  Do you know me at all?  Is this the first time we’ve met?

Only if faced with the prospect of torture that would lead to certain death would I ever subject anyone near and dear to me, or even someone far and loathsome to me (yes, I’m referring to you Dick Cheney), to that dreadful public humiliation.  I would not want to be subject to that pain myself so why would I inflict it upon one of my VIP-level friends?  If I had past lives, I highly doubt that any of them included me being a sadist.

Yet, I will admit I did have one noisy trick tucked in my satchel.  When we had moved to a table, I gave him the sound effect birthday card that I bought for him three years earlier in anticipation of his milestone.  One glance at those glitter-coated Audrey Hepburn eyes and I knew this was the perfect card for him.

Audrey Hepburn eyes.

I had no choice but to get it then and there and proceed to wait over a thousand days to give it.  In the intervening three years I misplaced his card twice and I lived in fear that when I would finally present it to him on his natal day proper the battery would be as dead as Rafa Nadal’s 2012 Wimbledon hopes but fortunately, Papyrus uses some fantastically long shelf-life ultra battery.  When Milton opened his card to read the caption, “The Big 50!”, our corner of the establishment was consumed with the sound of a woman shrieking in terror at the top of her lungs.

He liked that.

I was not feeling so confident about his gift, a DVD of one of his favorite films, Fellini’s Casanova.

A slender slice of snafu?

Although he frequently lamented about it not being available on disk, he is a blu-ray aficionado.  Right now it’s not being produced in blu-ray so I anticipated one of two things – he already had it since it’s release last November, or he’d be disappointed that it was not in his preferred blu-ray format.  Much to my surprise he wasn’t even aware that it’s now available on DVD, and he didn’t care that it was not on blu-ray, he was so elated to finally have it.  Score!

I will end this post with a trademark Miltonian observation he shared with me last weekend. Milton was expounding on one of his favorite topics, the male animal, after reading an article in The New York Times called Normal as Folk written by David M. Halperin.  Halperin expounds that the current generation of gay men are blending in more in mainstream society as opposed to their elders.  Milton observed:

Milton: Gay people are not less gay.  Straight people are more gay.  They know it’s sexy so they’re now embracing it.  You can’t tell who’s gay … You can’t ask anyone out any more!

The next day we were in Greenwich Village waiting for the Pride parade to start when Milton discreetly confided to me:

Milton:  Look at that guy over there.  Oh my God, he’s so gay!  But he’s not; he’s straight — with his girlfriend.  Exactly what I was talking about.

I dyslexically looked in the wrong direction at the wrong gay-looking-straight-guy that was standing with his arms wrapped around a woman wearing a sundress.

Me:  He sure looks gay to me.  I feel for his girlfriend.  What’s that about?

Milton: You’re looking at a woman!

Me:  Huh?  [focusing my myopic eyes better on a very androgynous butch lesbian with her femme girlfriend] You’re right!

Pictured below is Milton’s straight metrosexual guy that personifies someone who’s embraced the gay male style.

“Does this French sailor shirt make me look fat?”

Happy birthday buddy!

Lame Adventure 304: Annual Day of Dread

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.

Ta da!

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.

Excellent seats.

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.

Lame Adventure 185: Starbucks is Watching Me

Last week I had my 364th birthday in dog years.  When I was a teenager, I never thought I’d last much beyond 280 dog years, but now that I’m showing signs of being yet another member of the boomer generation that has failed to die before getting old, I’m not complaining … much.  Everyone nearest and dearest, has showered me with attention, texts, cards, email, phone calls, food, cake, theater, and enough alcohol for outpatient reconstructive liver surgery.

My chief complaint is with Starbucks.

Why?

In general, this coffee conglomerate annoys me primarily because they treat my beverage of choice, tea, like the poor relation that drools and signs her name with a thumb print, but specifically it started back on April 20th, fourteen days before my birthday proper when I received an email that said:

The day before my birthday, it occurred to me that I had yet to receive my “Many Happy Sips” postcard, so I emailed Starbucks:

“On April 20th you sent me an email claiming the following: “You know we’d never miss your birthday. And to make it extra happy, we’d like to buy you a drink. Look out for your Free Birthday Drink Postcard winging its way to you in the mail – and dream up all kinds of delicious and exotic drinks you’d like to try. It should arrive in the next 10 days!”  Tomorrow’s my birthday. I’ve yet to receive my free birthday drink postcard. Am I out of luck?”

The next day, Matt M in Customer Relations responded:

“I checked your account and found that a postcard was not mailed because your date of birth was not included with the personal information provided. To add this information for future reference, please sign in to your account on our website. After you select the “Manage My Account” option, you will see the “Personal Info” page displayed. From there, select the option to add your birth date. Please note this information cannot be changed after it is entered. Once entered, click on the “Save My Changes” key.

In the meantime, I am sending you a birthday postcard which should arrive at the address specified on your account within the next 7-10 business days.

If you have any further questions or concerns that I was unable to address, please feel free to let me know.

Warm Regards,

Matt M”

The process of revising my account page sounded exhausting, so I did nothing, but I did email Matt back:

“Thanks Matt.  How did Starbucks know my birthday was coming if that info was not included on my “Personal Info” page?  Kinda Orwellian from my perspective.”

Matt did not respond.  Instead, exactly nine hours later, I heard from Tracy W, also a member of customer relations, who ignored my question and contradicted Matt.  She also assumed that my first name is the same as the first word in my email address:

“Hello Lame,

Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

I am sorry to hear that you did not receive your birthday beverage postcard.  I show that your card was sent on April 20, 2011.  I will be more than happy to send you a free beverage coupon.  Please allow 7-10 business days for you to receive this in the mail.

Also I noticed an error on your loyalty rewards and to fix it I made you a gold level member.  Please [allow] 6-8 weeks for you to receive this in the mail.

If you have any further questions or concerns that I was unable to address, please feel free to let me know.

Warm Regards,

Tracy W”

Evasion tactic

Then, she did something to affix Starbucks all watching eye to my Gmail.  I have since blocked them.

Last Friday I received my free birthday beverage coupon presumably from Matt and today, a letter from Tracy, apologizing “for the experience you brought to my attention” with two more beverage coupons.

Birthday postcard from Matt M.

Letter From Tracy W wth two free beverage coupons.

I suppose if I continue to ask how they knew about my birthday (including the exact year I was hatched and where – 7,349 miles away from Tehran – what’s next the name of Doctor Aloysius Clapthumb, the obstetrician that delivered me?) since I never revealed any of this information myself, they will continue to ignore my question and the free coupons will continue to roll in by the truckload.  Tempting … On the other hand, three free drinks are two too many to this tea drinker, since all I wanted was my free birthday beverage and an explanation about how they know so much more about me than I volunteered.