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Monday, 30 October
My Girl Wants To Party Every Year

Sunday was truly a day of rejoicing, as the wife rolled over another birthday on the ticker, edging us ever more inevitably on towards our forties. And so we threw a little tapas-style shindig at our apartment and invited our pals over, asking them to bring some kind of finger food or snack or whatever. We're throwing a party; please supply it with food! People fall for this.

In preparation, the wife went into gear, and began fussing with the Kitchen Aid I got her as a gift. She made some loaves of bread, suitable for slicing up and stacking crap on, and also a flourless chocolate cake, which she later halved, slathered some chocolate goo in the middle and frosted. It was, it must be said, not the most attractive thing at this stage: it was a lumpen, misshapen, sad little thing, and it seemed to emit little hoots of gloominess as it crouched there on the plate. We were moved by the poor thing, and as the wife stared at it, she began singing in mournful tones, "Happy birthday to me," and suddenly, I was further moved to gales of laughter. At any rate, the wife soon enough pounced again on the Kitchen Aid and promptly churned up a nice bunch of Frangelico-laced whipped cream, which she then plastered all over the sad cake, and then gave it a final dusting of cocoa powder. After this bit of cosmetic foodery, it now resembled, as a guest later observed, "a giant Deviled egg." Every confectioner shoots for this sort of culinary camoflage: for instance, I like my pies to be shaped like Balkan states, and I prefer lollipops that take the shape of the bones in the human ear. Anyway. The happy news is, the cake ended up being delicious for all that.

Our guests certainly did not disappoint, apart from the fact that nobody showed up for the first 45 minutes--"Nobody likes me!" moaned the wife while I helpfully watched football--but when they showed, they brought the goods. Either we're accidentally hanging out with a higher class of friends or we're getting older, because the food that came with them, rather than being bags of chips or store-bought salad plates or half-eaten bottles of cocktail onions, were good. The first guy to show up--looking a little haunted by the fact that he got stuck with the "first arrival" tag despite his good efforts--brought prosciutto-wrapped figs. Figs? Prosciutto? Later, others brought things like Pecorino skewers with marinated vegetables; mozarella, tomato and basil salad; and wine! People brought wine! Nobody brought bottles of apple liqueur, say, to be hugged to one's body greedily, as if anyone on the planet has any desire to take it from anybody. Nobody hid a six-pack of Schaefer's in the dryer. And most importantly, I didn't see one person taking long pulls from my premium bar liquors. Who the fuck were these people, and what had they done to the rapacious, destitute booze jackals that we remembered so clearly?

There was one food item I did feel a deep, cellular desire to distance myself from, though part of it might have feeling a bit cheated. I was half-hoping that my friend D., who had so heroically showed up at last week's football fest armed with a crock pot filled with Li'l Smokies, would repeat this performance. Alas, it was not so. What he did bring was a shallow dish containing what appeared to be shrimp atop a layer of cocktail sauce--fine so far--but then layered over a substrate of cream cheese. This I gave a wide berth from where it lay malevolently on the counter, and made vague warding gestures at it, complete with subvocal invocations to the Elohim, asking for protection. Sorry, D., but that stuff terrified me. Others, however, seemed to not notice this challenge to the Forces of Goodness, and merrily ate away. I assume they are all now dead.

The rest of the evening went just swimmingly, with the usual things happening: the boys hunched in front of the (muted) TV, eyeing football games, murmuring in wonderment at how enjoyable the games can be without the inanities of the booth crew; the girls chatted amiably about . . . well, how would I know?, and occasionally rapped us on the foreheads when they felt we should be doing anything but watching football; and of course, we all talked smack about people who were not right there in the room to defend themselves or punch us for slagging on them. (This of course is the reason why parties inevitably drag on longer than anyone ever intends: everybody knows that once they leave, the conversation in the room will instantly turn to the urgent topic of why that person is such a boob.)

And of course, during all this, our guests unconsciously and wonderfully revealed their clear roots as stage actors by absolutely demolishing all the food in the place. Spend a decade or so in crushing penury while working on shows with titles like That Which Divides: Septumescent Moon, and pretty soon, you become programmed with this ineluctable imperative: When food is present, fall upon it like a starving bear. It is really something to watch a roomful of actors go at a spread of chow; it makes a plague of locusts look like a calm, methodical group of careful hostage negotiators.

Alas, all good things. As we escorted our friends out the door, drunkenly hurling depleted wine bottles and vicious imprecations at them as they fled, we were filled with warmth and cheer for our friends. For their company, for their good taste and generosity, for their simple friendship. And also, now that everyone had left, we could finally rip on each and every one of them.

Thanks, everybody! We had a great time, and we hope you did too. Maybe next year, we'll all be even older and wiser and fairer, and maybe when you leave next time, we won't have to crow, "Did you see her shirt? It looked like a rugby team fucked it and threw up on it." And maybe when you leave, you won't turn to each other and say, "Jesus, those guys throw the shittiest parties."

Anything could happen.


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Comments

This is why the only parties I throw are for my kids. I can't EVEN deal with the fuckers I used to hang out with, and people my age are bo-riing. So nice that you were able to keep your buds as you moved thru life. Note to wife...mmmm-mm. Caaaake sound gooood.

Comment number: 008759   Posted by: Alyxmyself on October 31, 2006 08:16 AM from IP: 67.155.164.227

the cake WAS good.....AND SO WAS THE SHRIMP DIP, JERK!!!!!!

Comment number: 008766   Posted by: D on October 31, 2006 11:05 AM from IP: 167.88.201.100

Skot,
Thanks for giving me a pre-sugarcrazed kid stampede laugh. I needed it.

And, I love flourless chocolate cake, but, dude -- you bought her a cooking appliance for her birthday AND you made her make her own cake? Tsk.

:~)

Comment number: 008767   Posted by: Robin Grantham on October 31, 2006 11:23 AM from IP: 24.11.249.7

Skot,
Thanks for giving me a pre-sugarcrazed kid stampede laugh. I needed it.

And, I love flourless chocolate cake, but, dude -- you bought her a cooking appliance for her birthday AND you made her make her own cake? Tsk.

You must be a good, um, actor.

:~)

Comment number: 008768   Posted by: Robin Grantham on October 31, 2006 11:24 AM from IP: 24.11.249.7

D'oh. I thought the first one didn't take. :(

Comment number: 008769   Posted by: Robin Grantham on October 31, 2006 11:25 AM from IP: 24.11.249.7

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