Thursday, April 9, 2020

My Surprise Party

Eight years ago, I threw a surprise party for myself. I was more than a little concerned that my family, not inclined to make a fuss about days of note (holidays, anniversaries and other times most commemorate) might allow my 60th birthday to slip by without appropriate celebration of everything me.

As I am one who requires accolades (much like an unnamed person residing in Washington) as others need air to breathe, I dropped hints from dawn to dusk. And to my great non-surprise, as a result of my ceaseless annoying behavior, a party was had. Friends who didn't even fully realize they were so designated, came to fete my semi-accomplishments. It was exactly what was needed to satiate my ego.

But that evening now resides in the deep recesses of my mind and its warm glow has long since dissipated. And my birthday once again looms on the horizon. In these days of isolation, emotional as well as physical, there is nothing I would relish more than another surprise party. I know we all use the Internet as the great substitute, and in many ways it is soothing for our collective soul. In fact, we are likely now in more constant contact than ever with others, some relationships that have grown distant over the course of years, suddenly rekindled. Thus, in a strange way, we may be closer to friends and family since we were compelled to go to our separate corners.

I get all that. But what I wouldn't give to be in a room full of people there for the sole purpose of pretending to focus on the level of my importance. And so I think I will now create an actual, virtual surprise party for myself.

Place cards are set around the dining room table. The guests arrive and congregate to chat. Certain groundrules are set. No politics, no discussion about the virus or any negative topics. As long as I am making all of this up, I am acting as director of every aspect of this production. There is more than enough food for everyone (even as the world believes our family does not actually eat) but, as I am in charge of handing out the drinks, most of the guests seem strangely parched. 

One of those invited is now telling a story that might have been better left an orphan, but I guess that is just who he is.  I am regretting not extending invitations to several who fell just on the wrong side of the line. I wish there was a little more space here. But it is so nice to listen to the sound of laughter fill every chamber of this apartment. If only I could hold onto it forever.

After two hours of frivilous conversation, the important portion of the evening commences. I take my seat at the head of the table, smiling and seeming slightly embarassed by all the attention. And when the first of the many speakers finishes a hilarious recitation about the state of my feet and my absence of any discernible upper lip or eyebrows, I seem aggravated for an instant but then arise and give a big hug to my faux tormentor.

And I can almost feel that hug now. It is basically coursing through me and the image alone has a visceral effect. Oh how we miss all those hugs!! And when the time comes when we are no longer restrained, when we are truly around all those who are not with us today and for the forseeable future, oh how incredible will that seem!!!

Anyway, back to the party. After all the fuss about me has quieted down and the evening has meandered to its inevitable conclusion, I am happier then at any other birthday celebration in my life. Sure it is great to be appreciated, even if it is a sentiment mandated by me, and yes all those presents (I told my wife to tell everyone, wink, wink, that I did not want any) are excellent, but the very best part of it all was to have so many so near.

Thanks to everyone who attended my great surprise. You made it one I will never forget.

PS- for anyone now wondering, you were definitely there. And you were my favorite guest.


Anonymous said...

GOOD NEWS!!! Lady Gaga is throwing a whole concert for your birthday this year. What could be better than that?



Anonymous said...

was i invited? if so Happy BirthdayπŸ˜€


Anonymous said...

“Love it. Happy birthday! We’ll be sure to appear on your screen with all your other friends and family.

Anonymous said...

Why was I put alone at a separate table back near the kitchen?

Anonymous said...

Happy bday
miss you!!
πŸ’•L and J

Anonymous said...

Just you wait...!


Anonymous said...

best line (I laughed out loud):
There is more than enough food for everyone (even as the world believes our family does not actually eat) but, as I am in charge of handing out the drinks, most of the guests seem strangely parched.


Anonymous said...

again i wasn't invited. next time. many, many more birthdays with your wonderful family. lois

Anonymous said...

I love you Robert


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday
Wish you a great celebration when life gets back to normal
G and M

Anonymous said...

I will be there... in spirit.


Anonymous said...

This was great! I think I'll throw myself a faux surprise party. I want my family and friends there, even those I don't particularly care for. Why not? I just hope there won't be too many fatalities(not covid-19 related), when the party ends. I guess I control that since this is my surprise faux party. Now let's see...who should go first.

My conclusion...I need to get the hell out of this house.