In a not wholly unexpected development, I recently reached the “30 years of age” milestone.  In our society, the third decade is the first “decade” milestone reached that has any significance attached to it.  There is no big deal made about turning 10 (any more than turning 9, anyway), and turning 20 simply means that there is one long year remaining before it is legal to make drunken phone calls to old flames.  Thirty is the age where a person is expected to begin acting like an adult, which for me would be a pretty serious transition. 

The Megger (my girlfriend) was thoughtful enough to throw a surprise birthday party to commemorate my passage into the Age of Responsibility.  I had never been the target of a surprise party before, so it was a new experience for me to walk into a room full of people there for the express purpose of wishing me well.  It was an overwhelming experience.  I walked around the room all night long, trying to spend at least a little time with everyone, while wishing to speak at length with everyone, which unfortunately wasn’t possible (I imagine that wedding receptions produce this same feeling for the bride and groom).

Everyone told me that they had a great time at the party.  This was in no small part due to the work done by The Megger, who had thoughtfully booked the party at a brewery without a license for hard alcohol.  This was a key element because it prevented all of my friends from buying me nasty shots all night and allowed me to remain conscious throughout the party.  Despite the fact that my birthday falls on the anniversary of the end of Prohibition, I had no desire to celebrate by passing out in front of everyone I know, including my mother.  I’m sure that this was a major disappointment for most of my friends. 

Speaking of passing out, some guy who was not associated with my party had some form of seizure in the brewery’s bathroom and was lying on the floor, frothing at the mouth (how often do you get to use the word “frothing”?).  One of my friends found the guy on the floor, and EMS was alerted.  By the time EMS arrived, however, the guy was on his feet and insisting that he was fine (“I just needed a quick nap!”).  He got a ride in the ambulance, and the party resumed.

My sister stole the show (as is her custom) with the presentation of my birthday present.  Throughout the party, she and her minions had been telling everyone that it would be worth their time to watch me open her gift.  A large box wrapped in simple paper was leaning in the corner of the room, and throughout the night people were wondering aloud what it might hold (Softball bat?  Cattle prod?  Gun?).  Before she actually made the presentation, she quieted the room and made sure that everyone was staring at me intently, waiting for me to open the box and reveal the wonder within.

There was a quiet, palpable tension in the room as I began to tear the paper from the box (this tension was especially obvious in the people whose game of pool I had interrupted by using their table to hold my gifts).  People leaned forward over their friends’ shoulders, and some of them began to get impatient and shout advice when I began to open the box at what they considered to be less than optimum speed.  “Not like that…Open it at the END…TURN IT AROUND!!”  My family and friends apparently are not descendents of Job.

I finally managed to work the box open (I thought I heard someone mutter, “Finally!”), and reached inside and pulled out…a golf putter…crafted from an actual bull’s personal manhood.  This putter has given me a newfound respect for bulls (I heard that the same company that made my new putter also makes pool cues from that part of unfortunate bulls…wow.).  I can’t really describe it very well, except to say that from a distance it looks like it is made from wood (yes, I know).  The…shaft…of the putter is quite twisted and brown, and the club itself is quite heavy.  I’m sure the previous owner of my putter (the bull) was very proud of it; I just hope he didn’t need it any more.putter.jpg

My sister had penned a poem to commemorate the opening of the gift, and now that my present had been exposed, she asked me to read it to the assembled masses. This poem brought down the house , and I had to allow a close inspection of it to a number of people who refused to believe the ingredients.  This gift will be revisited every year, as I will bring this club to my family golf tournament (The Waggler’s Open) every year, and every year I intend to tell the same stupid joke (“If you rub this putter, it becomes a driver”).  Her gift was the hit of the party, and my sister once again affirmed her status as one of the funniest people I know. 

There were also a number of gifts from other people, all very thoughtful and nice, which surprised me because I wouldn’t expect anyone to give me anything for my birthday.  I am possibly the world’s leader in the “Forgetting Birthdays” category, and have probably offended everyone who was in the room (and some people who weren’t) by consistently forgetting their birthdays every year.   

That kind of irresponsibility will be tolerated no more.  I am now a thirtysomething.  Once the free ride that is your twenties ends, society begins to load expectations upon a person.  “They” will start to whisper about you if you are 30 and still live with your parents, or if you are 40 and have never been married.  I try not to be one of “them”.  I have never actually met anyone who has admitted to being one of “them”, but somehow there are always enough of “them” around to whisper to each other (this is the same phenomenon that leads to the Spice Girls selling millions of albums while no one admits to buying one).  It does not bother me if a person is 40, living at home and married to one of their parents as long as they are not calling my house to pitch a new long distance plan.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to take some practice strokes with my new putter.  Let “them” whisper about that.