40

I'm 40. Fuck you.

OK, so let’s get this over with, shall we?

I’m 40.

Four. Zero.

Or, as the balloon says, “Oh NO … the Big Four OH!” (because this balloon apparently was designed by someone who thinks turning 40 is so universally awful that people will actually pay money to decorate their celebration with an enormous Mylar blimp that basically says “Embrace the dread, you ancient fuck!” … which would be funnier if not for the fact that we bought one).

That show “Thirty Something” that I never watched when it was on, because it was about old people? Yeah, well, it’s about young people now.

The good news is that I spent so much time during the past few months (years?) dreading my 40th birthday that I was sort of over it by the time the day actually arrived. OK, so maybe I’ve since gone back to lamenting my decrepitude and mortality, but on the actual date of my birth, I was feeling rather upbeat.

Now, as those of you who were here last year know, the Surprise 39th Birthday Celebration Gone Awry left me, shall we say, underwhelmed … and, sure, that mostly was because I’m a grumpy asshole, true … but it also was because it actually was planned by, and for, my children, and didn’t much take into account what the birthday dickhead boy himself would really want to do.

In retrospect, it was a good call for everyone to learn that lesson on my 39th birthday rather than on my 40th … because I really needed this one to keep me from crumbling into a weeping, geriatric, broken-hipped heap on the floor … and so it is with great joy that I tell you that, on Jan. 17, 2010, Wonder Woman hit one right out of the park.

This year, my wife and kiddos threw me a “Guitar Hero”-themed birthday party, which was beyond perfect, because, since I’m way too much of a pussy stand-up guy to have a proper midlife crisis marked by purchasing a convertible and running off to Mexico with a younger woman, I have instead taken to soothing my inner adolescent by playing a video game that showers me with canned applause and assures me that I “ROCK!” Yeah, baby!

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But it wasn’t just the new copy of “Guitar Hero: Metallica” that made the day a success; it was the copious amount of tequila I drank:

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I kid … sorta. I really did drink lots of tequila … but, actually, the thing that made the day so memorable was the fact that my nearest and dearest family members all went out of their way to be with me … and gifted me tons and tons of alcohol.

I kid some more … sorta. They really did give me tons and tons of alcohol … but they also treated me to the most touching tribute I’ve ever received.

My parents busted out the baby photos …

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Here, take a closer look:

Baby Scratches

You see, back when I was an infant, baby formula was made with whale blubber and cream cheese. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s history lesson.

Wonder Woman then unveiled a trunk she got for me as a kind of 40th-birthday time capsule, and my family took turns filling it with various photos and memorabilia, to include tributes many of them had written and read aloud, and, like, wow.

My late grandfather once said to me something along the lines of, “You know, you go to a guy’s funeral, and everybody says all these amazing things about him, and all I can think to myself is, ‘Well, you shoulda told him all of that while he was still here!’” Well, I am happy to say that I have now been fortunate enough to experience my own funeral. Wait, that didn’t sound right. But you get the idea: my family told me how they truly feel about me — and I didn’t even have to die for it! Thanks, family!

First up was my Dad.

And I quote: “As a young baby, you were very precocious, talking at 9 months old … and you haven’t stopped since. Although, blogging has taken the place of the spoken word.”

Then came my Mom, who not only exumed a shadow box containing some delicious 40-year-old Froot Loops, but also one of my first baby outfits.

Hearing your parents talk about you being a baby when you yourself are a parent of two young children is a perspective you can’t even begin to appreciate until you actually get there. It’s almost worth turning, you know, FORTY.

My siblings then took turns feting me, with my sister reading from a book she made that contained some of her memories about my childhood (let’s just say that the word “breakdancing” was invoked), as well as some remarks she had secretly gathered via email from a number of my childhood friends.

My brother and closest cousin each also said some incredibly flattering things about how much they looked up to me when we were younger, and since we usually show our love by simply busting each others balls, it was very touching to hear their words. (My brother also reminisced about as an ass-whupping I once bestowed upon him, of which I’ve no recollection whatsoever, and by which he was greatly traumatized, so to him, I say: thank you for your touching words, and sorry for beating the shit out of you.)

My favorite uncle gave me quite a tribute, during which he read from a list he had made of all things 1970, to include:

  • Nixon was President
  • Bread = 25¢ a loaf
  • Milk = $1.25 a gallon
  • Gas = 35¢ a gallon
  • Stamp = 6¢
  • Minimum wage = $1.60
  • No microwaves, cell phones, computers or cable television

I think the only thing he forgot was the part about dinosaurs roaming the earth. (Meanwhile, he also gets line of the night for the following tribute-list item: “There was no Jeter, no Tweeter … and no Peter.” Peter is my sister’s husband, who wasn’t yet born in 1970, you see, so … oh, nevermind. Sometimes I have to include stuff that’s just for me, OK?)

My Dad’s wife bestowed upon me a poem (which I believe was written by the late James A. Michener):

The master in the art of living
makes little distinction between his work and his play,
his labor and his leisure,
his mind and his body,
his information and his recreation,
his love and his religion.
He hardly knows which is which.
He simply pursues his vision of excellence
at whatever he does, leaving others to decide
whether he is working or playing.
To him he’s always doing both.

Surely words to live by … and I like to think I have been.

Meanwhile, Zan and Jayna, who live for bithday parties, had a ball, and their excitement for me was very sweet … especially because it didn’t involve freezing my choochas off at an indoor waterpark. (Yes, folks, if you have a deceased horse that needs some pulverizing, let me know, for not a person on this earth can beat one quite like yours truly.)

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My 40th Birthday Cake

Of course, my deepest thanks and appreciation for what turned out to be the most meaningful birthday I’ve ever had goes to Wonder Woman, whose Facebook status message on that day read:

Happy birthday to the most passionate, dedicated, hard-working and loving man I know. Looking forward to the next 40, and then some! XOXOX

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Me too, babe. Thanks for my amazing birthday.

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PS: Turns out I actually am running off to Mexico with a younger woman in honor of my 40th … but more on that later …

(See what I did there? It’s my job to suck you in … and boy, am I ever good at sucking, right? Wait, I mean … oh, nevermind.)

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38 Comments

  1. Posted February 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Awwww, they done good. Happy birthday, old timer!
    .-= RuthWells´s last blog ..Blah Blah Blah =-.

  2. Posted February 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    That’s absolutely lovely and makes me want to throw a tribute party for someone.
    .-= Helen Jane´s last blog ..Lost party =-.

  3. Posted February 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    What an awesome birthday party. I remember you writing about the Coco Key incident last year; that had me in stitches for days, as most of my neighbors have regaled me with horror stories about it! You deserved all that tequila this year for surviving that.
    .-= Meg at the Members Lounge´s last blog ..I Can’t Help Myself Friday. Spring is on the Way Edition. =-.

  4. Jamie, Mom of 3
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    How wonderful! What a lucky man you are!

  5. Posted February 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    See, 40 isn’t so bad after all! You wouldn’t have had such a wonderful celebration if it hadn’t been your 40th birthday!
    .-= Stephanie~LittleInsights.com´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday (posted on Thursday WITH…dare I say it…WORDS!!!) =-.

  6. Posted February 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Looked like a great 40th, WW did a nice job making this mild stone memmorably for you.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Energy Audit =-.

  7. Posted February 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Wow what a great party. I’m planning my big 50 (sorry, that probably scared you) I have a couple of years though so I’m taking notes on all the good parties I hear about. Nobody ever throws me a party (that doesn’t just involved my kids) so I’m gonna thrown my own.
    .-= Rustys Mom´s last blog ..Pit Bull Blues =-.

  8. Posted February 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Oh Half way to 80 ain’t so bad surely???
    This comes from someone only half way to 66! lol!
    Happy Birthday mate

  9. Posted February 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness that baby picture. I actually laughed aloud. One might even have called it a “guffaw”. The cuteness and ridiculousness of your little baby face was just astounding. Sounds like quite a scratch-bash, if you will. Happy 40th!
    .-= Greer´s last blog ..a book =-.

  10. Posted February 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Wow, your family did a great job! Thanks for paving the way – I’ll be joining you in about 6 months. Happy Belated Birthday!!
    .-= Dcan´s last blog ..You Capture – Faces =-.

  11. Jen Tullis
    Posted February 6, 2010 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday! Looks like you had a great party! I turned 40 last July, not so bad!

    Jen

  12. Posted February 6, 2010 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    You really don’t look a day over 39. Honestly.
    .-= The Domestic Goddess´s last blog ..Lost in Austen =-.

  13. gail
    Posted February 6, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Happy belated birthday! Have a great time in Mexico. The important words to remember…”una cervesa, por favor” or “una mas” (for the 2nd and all following), and remember the kids on the beach are so cute, but you can end up with enough stuff that you have to leave them or leave your clothes there. The word for them is “nada”.

  14. Posted February 6, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Great post. You have a wonderful family!
    .-= Stephanie Z´s last blog ..How do you deal with profound sadness for people you cannot help? =-.

  15. Posted February 6, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful party! I hit 40 last week and also enjoyed the love of my friends and family. These milestones are tough to hit but they also serve to remind us to be thankful for the love and support that we are surrounded with.
    .-= Kat (@kathym425)´s last blog ..One of "Them" =-.

  16. Posted February 6, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Oh my God. Honest to goodness, I spit a gummy bear at my screen when I got to the baby picture. I didn’t know chins could get that, you know, doubly.

    Happy birthday, and an early bon voyage.
    .-= Kate at And Then I Was a Mom´s last blog ..Well, at least we’ll go down smelling nice. =-.

  17. Jenn
    Posted February 7, 2010 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Awwww, congratulations on turning 40, and thank you for sharing details about your birthday party with us. And your wild-eyed baby photos. Cuuuute!

    I turn 40 later this year myself, and I think I’ll show this post to my husband with some loud hints so that we can avoid having The Party That No One Wanted. ;)
    Guitar Hero + booze is a good idea in this household, along with copious amounts of nostalgia.

  18. Posted February 7, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Hey, Happy 40th! Yes, it’s a biggie, although I’m hitting forty (cough) three (cough) this summer, so 40 almost sounds quaint and young. I’m going to need a vat of tequila to get through 50.

    What struck me was that I was 16 when my mom turned 40, so I remember the entire party. When I turned 40, my kids were barely out of toddlerhood.
    .-= Fairly Odd Mother´s last blog ..The lollipop plant miracle that mere mortals can perform =-.

  19. Gail K.
    Posted February 7, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    But onto more important things: Where does Wonder Woman shop? I love her tops!!

    Happy Belated Mr. Scratches – thanks for sharing your b’day with us!

  20. Posted February 7, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Damn, that was super cute. Happy birthday!! You done made a good family.
    .-= Kara´s last blog ..My hair: a saga =-.

  21. Posted February 8, 2010 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Happy 40th! You don’t look 40 at all, I’d have guessed 35.

    And I can’t stop thinking about “30-something” now. I’m them? They were practically seniors!

    And that baby picture? Wow. Such big eyes! And a handsome chin! Aaaand oh look another handsome chin!
    .-= Steam Me Up Kid´s last blog ..The adventure of a lifetime, now with more lethargy =-.

  22. Posted February 8, 2010 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Looked like a great party! WW did a great job!

  23. reen
    Posted February 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I want a party like that, your family is awesome! Happy belated 40th to you. And ohhhhhh, that baby picture with the pillow fists and that (those) chin(s)!! LOL

  24. Peggy
    Posted February 8, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    You have a sweet love with your wife and family. I enjoy reading your blog.

  25. Posted February 8, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    If it didn’t fall apart at 30, you’ll make it thru 40. Happy day, fellow dad.

  26. Posted February 9, 2010 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Nice birthday celebration. Happy, cute, caring family. Bastard, I hate you.

    Congrats on the big day, looks like you are handling it well — I had a fancy dinner party where we all drank ourselves into a stupor, ate good food and a bad sponge cake where my name was spelled wrong, and later discovered we had only one pic of the group as the evening started out, and then like 55 pics of the ceiling… because yes all pics were taken by drunken whores (aka my friends),

    No really congrats on 40!
    .-= Brahm´s last blog ..Kreativ Blogger Award: I’d like to thank the academy… =-.

  27. JZB
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Nice one :-) You are loved! I hope you are not still eating blubber and cream cheese.

  28. Posted February 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    –>I watched Thirty Something as a kid and thought the same thing, those people are OLD. Now I am thirty something…..not old At All. WW is a good woman. My husband will be 42 this year and I said he was almost 50. It didn’t go over well. ha!

    ~deb
    .-= WebSavvyMom´s last blog ..Flashback Friday (part 9) – Snowboarding Crash of the Year (again) =-.

  29. The Media Junkie
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I just found you through Dooce, and I love your writing. I went back and read your story of last year, and I don’t think you were a dick. I’m only an oldest sibling (13 years older than the youngest), not a parent, but I’m well aware of how much work a “fun family vacation” tends to be. The fact that you pretended to enjoy it makes you a very decent fellow. I’m so glad this year was so much better.

  30. Daphne
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I just linked to your blog via a comment you left on another blog. Very entertaining. I still have tears in my eyes from laughing at the blubber and cream cheese comment.

  31. Posted February 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    That’s a great bday party! We love the GH Metallica. Are you a Jan 17th baby like me??!!
    .-= Stacey Ball´s last blog ..Puppy Breath!! =-.

  32. Posted February 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Since when do people born in 1970 turn 40? God… that means I’m turning 30 this year?! Someone please tell me where the last decade of my life went!

    Happy Birthday!
    .-= The Football Wife´s last blog ..When “Co-workers” Become Violent =-.

  33. Posted February 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Hey there fellow 40 year old!!

    Came over from PW’s (comment lurking) and I have to say that your baby picture CRACKED ME UP!!

    Usually don’t post comments when I am comment lurking, but I just had to tell you how much that picture made my day.

    Congrats on that younger woman Mexico thing…you’ll have to let us know how that turns out…OK maybe not :)

    Amy

  34. Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    Whale blubber and cream cheese is still all the rage you know. Only it must be free range organic. Healthy for the tots.

    Great party! 40 totally sucks by the way…
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Love Is In The Air =-.

  35. Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    What an amazing party/family you have to celebrate your big 40 with you. You are so lucky. For my big 40 I asked my family ever so nicely to pretend that it never happened. Last month I turned the big 41, so now we just say I am 40 something. Which is so much worse.

  36. Posted February 17, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Re: Thirty-Something– never watched it either! How could it have been so popular if neither of us watched it? And I think I might have been 30-something when it was on.

    I love your cake. I love the poem. I love the FB status update. I love your wife. She inspires me to be a better wife.

    My friend gave me one of those photo-cakes for a recent birthday, only mine had the face of my boyfriend, Vincent D’Onofrio on it. It was the most delicious cake ever.
    .-= E. Peevie´s last blog ..Praying Over Sewers, Liquor Licenses and Variances =-.

  37. Janet
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I miss your posts! But hopefully you are on a beach somewhere realizing how awesome 40 is! I hit that milestone this past July and it was the best birthday ever, hands down! We are so fortunate to have family that cares enough to make something that we are dreading (oh, yes. I sure was) so special and FUN! Woohoo, wish they threw surprise parties for 41! So happy for you, looking forward to your return :)

  38. Sandy G.
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    WW did a bitchin job on your birthday party! I read your blog all the time, but I’m not usually a comment type of chud, but hell, that baby picture of yours brought it out. CHUBBY baby! I love chubby babies. Both of my chuds were chubby as hell, my youngest still is since he’s only 18 months, and you know what else? I’ve come to terms with turning 30 next September, and I hope my 40th will at least be HALF of what yours was! Congrats on turning 40! (and that’s not old. 85.389 is old.)

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