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Tuesday, 28 June
Failure Is So Totally An Option

If you're anything like me--and, you know, God help you--then you too are probably a big favorite of arbitrary milestones. And passed one on Friday! (They're like kidney stones, only conceptual!) On Friday I turned 36.

Thirty-six! The year of . . . before thirty-seven! The year you start to think, "I should have things looked at. Unpleasant things. Like this mole that looks kind of like Ed O'Neill." The year where, when you stare yet again at your battered 20+-year-old Honda, you find your cheeks moist with grief. Sort of because you know it still has more energy than you. The year that you realize that 40 is right around the bend, and your awareness of your prostate starts to move from being "Uh, that thing that is important for coming, or something?" to "Glandular minefield."

With these happy thoughts in mind, I did what any responsible mid-30s kind of guy would do and threw a party, got wrecked, and in general behaved like a Hun at a bikini party. Huzzah! Huzzah for the not-that-elder drunken statesperson!

Well, I had a little help from my friends. Is it actually possible to stay sober at an event (celebrating one's own birth) where a friend brings you a powder-blue t-shirt with big block printing on it thus: "ASK ME ABOUT MY THEATRE PROJECT"? (Because, of course, spelling it "theatre" makes it extra ghastly. Let's not say anything about the powder blue.) Or the person who brought me a card encouraging me "not to smell like pee" during the coming year?

And then there were the fellows who showed up a bit later carrying--I swear I did not know this kind of shit existed--a six-pack of something called "Brutal Fruit." The specific flavor was "MANIC MANGO," which makes me want to alliteratively Murder Myself Mightily Much. Of course, by this time, to be honest, I was far gone, and heaped vituperation upon them anyway, which is possibly why they revenged themselves by leaving a few bottles of this noxious elixir in my fridge. (These guys actually kill me. The "bring horrid undrinkable poison" strategy is a charming holdover from the "how will people not drink our booze?" years in which they would show up to parties armed with bottles of vermouth.)

For all that attended, take your pick: 1. It was great to talk to you! 2. It was great to rail incoherently at you! 3. I'm sorry. For what it's worth, which I suspect is nothing, I had a great time.

On Sunday, the wife and I traveled to the in-laws' (mine) place for a belated Happy Father's Day gathering and also so they could give me some birthday love. The in-laws, in usual fashion, had procured a truly Brobdingnagian amount of food for the event, leading to questions like, "Do you want chicken? Or steak? Or both? I think we have a sack of dead raccoons in the garage that we could blend into a nice shake for you too."

We were kindly given a ride to and over on the ferry by the wife's brother I. and his fiancee S., who are really lovely kids--I. is a big fellow and thinks nothing of eating an entire sack of dead raccoons, so it's always entertaining to watch him eat. After the preposterously large meal, we all retired into the living room, where, after a nice gift exchange--we got the wife's dad a pretty hot DVD called What Hump? about the erotic adventures of a randy French bellringer--we settled in to play a nice family game called "Scene It!"

"Scene It!" is a board game/DVD trivia game about movies: sometimes you watch a scene from a well-known movie or whatever, and then answer questions. Like, for example, one that came up for us (we all played teams), which said something like, "This '80s thriller involved an icepick, a novelist and film history's most notorious snatch grab." (I may be paraphrasing.) My mind was electrified, and I of course couldn't help yelling out the obvious answer.

"Fatal Attraction!" I howled in complete wrongness. What the fuck? My awful brain had subbed in one horrible, insulting '80s fuck/stab film for another. S. looked at me sadly, as if she suspected my prostate was starting to atrophy. "Basic Instinct," she corrected me gently.

"FUCK!" I screamed, momentarily forgetting the company I was in. The room fell into a gloomy silence. "Pardon my French," I said lamely. I should note here that the wife's father is a pastor. He looked down at the game board dismally, and my mother-in-law coughed politely and spun a few cookies on the rug with her little scooter (she has horrible arthritis), as if to distract from the fact that I had just displayed my utter worthlessness as a son-in-law.

It was right about then that I had wished I had worn a certain powder-blue t-shirt so someone, anyone could clear their throat and say, "Well! Tell me about your theatre project!"


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Comments

Vermouth. Nothing says "you suck at drinking" quite like vermouth.
Happy belated birthday Skot, you're older than me so I'm dancing a little in my chair.

Comment number: 005875   Posted by: Lala on June 28, 2005 04:58 AM from IP: 198.103.172.9

y'know...birthdays are a tough one.

i had one last week (whats with all the June-Bunnies?) and hell yeah. if i had in-laws, i'd swear at'em too.

Comment number: 005876   Posted by: della on June 28, 2005 06:53 AM from IP: 84.66.243.173

That's the same sort of logic that led my friends in high school to put EVERYTHING on their french fries at lunch (gravy, salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, mayo) to prevent others from eating them. *Shudder*

And I didn't know that there was such a difference between spelling it "theatre" and "theater" - I just figured that one was Canadian and one was US spelling.

Comment number: 005877   Posted by: Ryan Waddell on June 28, 2005 06:55 AM from IP: 205.207.164.81

"Brobdingnagian?" Glad to see that the M-W "Word of the day" is working out for you.

Comment number: 005878   Posted by: craig on June 28, 2005 09:10 AM from IP: 207.58.210.186

Whippersnappers and your Manic Mango. Bah.

Comment number: 005879   Posted by: laura on June 28, 2005 10:55 AM from IP: 71.40.125.185

Whatever! Brobdingnagian is a great word! You're just jealous, Craig. Don't listen to him, Skot. Triple word points for you.

Comment number: 005880   Posted by: david on July 8, 2005 12:29 AM from IP: 12.216.247.37

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