By the time you read this, it’ll be my oldest daughter Sasha’s fifth birthday. And thank God, too, because I’m sick of hearing about the plans for it.
I’m not kidding. I think my wife Evi started talking about this shit in February. Over the months there were mentions of a Disney trip, a ‘Princess Party’, a kids’ talent show, and even renting an actual unicorn. A unicorn! I thought those were fictional! How powerful is the children’s birthday industry anyway? Can they create a whole species? Should we be fighting Big Birthday?
Periodically, she would ask me opinions on how we should celebrate. Suffice it to say, none of my ideas made it to the final ballot. I can’t help it; I think all of this is ridiculous. I know I’m ancient, but I remember how much simpler birthday parties were when I was a child. When all the kids arrived, you ran around the house until the host mother said it was time to come play a game, which prompted us to immediately ignore the fuck out of her and run around some more. She’d call out a few more times, which encouraged some of the nerdy kids to comply, but most of the rest of us would still be running and climbing on everything until something got broken. Then we’d all blame the fat kid.
Eventually, the host mother would wrangle all of us together to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The way this game worked was the host would hang a picture of a donkey with no tail on the wall, give a paper tail taped to a thumbtack to a blindfolded kid, spin him around several times then say, “now pin the tail on the donkey!”
You can imagine the exhilarating fun of watching a dizzy, awkward seven-year-old stumble and spin around with a razor sharp implement until he finally makes his best guess and–talk about beginner’s luck–stabs his friend Johnny Newhouse. Now that was excitement! Bloodletting aside, I don’t know why a party like that can’t work today.
Well, I guess, Evi is one reason. When I married her, I never really took her for being the event planner type, which is pretty stupid of me because of course she is. She owned her own tour guiding business! She had to plan clients’ entire vacations! This shit is literally child’s play to her.
I have no idea what Evi’s final plan was, because Hurricane Ian destroyed all of it. I know it involved using our backyard, and unfortunately, due to Ian, a good part of that is still orbiting the Earth. So no party. Sasha’s birthday had to be greatly simplified. As of now, she and a friend of hers are going on a “Princess Spa Date” (they really call it that) then having a small dinner and cake with friends afterward. Evi is still in charge, so I know Sasha will love it.
That reminds me, we had a little gift-wrapping drama tonight. Evi had put Sasha’s gifts in gift bags for her to discover tomorrow morning. The biggest present stuck outside of the bag because it was so tall. I put my foot down that this gift bag bullshit is just laziness and that that present needed to be wrapped with actual wrapping paper like God intended.
“Well, nobody’s stopping you,” she responded.
“Fine, I’ll wrap it!” I said, then started grabbing all of the different wrapping paper we had in the house, every single one of which was Christmas paper and summarily rejected by Evi. I already knew why. Evi was picturing this as a Facebook post and would be embarrassed if the wrapping paper wasn’t event appropriate.
“Evi, it doesn’t matter what the wrapping paper says. Fuck Facebook! I’m not taking away her gift-unwrapping joy over a social media post.”
Evi just sighed and shook her head.
“Look,” I said. “She can’t read. Besides, when I was five-years-old, the wrapping paper could’ve said ‘Happy Holocaust’ for all I gave a shit. Let’s just give her the thrill of ripping open a present.”
She acquiesced. So if you’re a Facebook friend and see the post of our darling daughter’s birthday, please try not to mention if you notice that the wrapping paper says “Joy to the World” or something on it. At least she got the LOL Dolls she always wanted.
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