This was edited in April 2014 from its original that was first published as part of my March 2002 letter.
So, yes, I am now thirty years old. And true to form, I managed to get sick for this momentous birthday! Thirty frickin’ years for me to be sick, and I do it for my birthday. Unbelievable!!! I was so disappointed in myself, but I did try my best to enjoy the moment. And that moment was a surprise party which I almost managed to wreck due to my lack of faith in my wife’s organizational skills. Consider this a relationship rookie mistake as some of the more seasoned veterans within my stable of friends told me afterward. If you hear of nothing regarding a party, that is a good sign!
The first big surprise was the shocking arrival of a close friend from out of province. I arrived at the airport to pick up my mother, whom I knew was coming for a visit while dad played golf in the USA. As I strain to figure out the arrival board a deep voice behind me asks if I’m looking for anyone. I turned to find my friend standing before me. I had NO idea he was coming and I think I looked like quite an idiot for several minutes before it actually sunk in. And yet, despite my friend being there I didn’t even think there was going to be a surprise party. I guess I’m just not quick to deduce the obvious.
All week leading up to my birthday I had been asking people if they wanted to go out for drinks on Friday (my birth day). I wasn’t suggesting a huge whoop-up since I had felt like crap all week. But I was determined to enjoy at least one beer with my western chums on my big day. Unfortunately, this sent most of my compatriots into a mild panic since they were under the impression that they were coming to my house for a surprise party on Friday. I must congratulate them all for creating such wonderful lies to avoid giving away the truth. And even girlfriend was miraculous in dodging this growing conflict for most of the week. However, by Thursday night it was still obvious that I was intent on heading downtown after work on Friday, thus ruining the surprise. Forced to tell me the truth in advance, my girlfriend must’ve wanted to kick me real good right in my ass. But she refrained, and I will be forever grateful for her efforts in giving me the one thing I wanted…..a birthday party. And I promise to be far less a pain in the buttocks for my 40th!!! And if all goes well, I should be healthy by then and can really let loose.
So, despite all the confusion, the party was a wonderful time. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t able to enjoy it fully due to my health, but it was fun nonetheless. And I’ll always find a way to eat my fair share of chocolate birthday cake, no matter how sick I am at the time. Thanks everyone who managed to show up.