Party pieces

The fake beards just arrived. All thirty-six of them. It seemed like a good idea at the time; that and calling up a load of his mates behind his back to summon them to his ceremonial crossing into the fifth decade next Sunday afternoon.


♫ “For he’s a jolly good fellow..” ♫ 

I say fifth decade, but he’s only forty (Christ. I’d hate to be that age… again). It’s a current favourite of mine to freak people with. Like they didn’t already suspect. I’m annoying like that. I’ve been using it since my mate delighted in reminding me I was technically in my fourth decade when the bells struck thirty. But I already had form when it came to age-related anxiety when I turned 25; specifically the relentless echo from Miss Carr’s maths class (pass, obviously), warning us to round that decimal number off to the next whole number from point five onward. Ah, thirty. I knew you too well.

I say afternoon so it won’t clash with Room to Improve or any other sadistic middle-aged viewing rituals that involve roaring obscenities at the TV like…”how in the name of good fuck did they get the money to do that?”, swiftly followed by “we should invite Dermot round for tea sometime”. Other fantasy guests include: Ross Noble, Will Hanafin, and David McSavage. Besides, it’s the only time people can’t make up shit about not being able to find a baby-sitter (the real reason for having children). And I find all parents’ ability to conduct a conversation slowly grinds to a halt by early evening, after which time I’ve heard enough about what Sophia did at creche, or in the frozen food aisle in Tesco,  or with Mummy and Daddy’s condom stash, or wherever. Fascinating. And it’s the slot he’ll least expect a party to be sprung on him. Insert dirty Muttley laugh here.

Trying to organise a wedding you never had vicariously through a surprise birthday party is at once immensely pleasurable and painful. Pleasurable for seeing him strain to conceal the sad dejected face he didn’t realise he had when he initially warned me (rather forthrightly, I feel) not to make a fuss. It took just one bluff suggestion of ‘early bird meal’ for the martyr mask to slip. “Oh, right”. Was there ever a more loaded expression? In another double-bluff victory for fake authenticity, I’m lining up a little weaner size of a cake from the bargain shelf of M&S for the fridge the previous evening *blows fingers, buffs lapels*. No, really *hand up* I love all my work even without your admiration.

I’ve also managed to share the pain from the process between us by doing that annoying thing of absentmindedly starting a sentence before dismissing it as quickly with a “oh, nothing”. Examples include..

1. “That…[blank]…oh nothing”

2. “Christ…[blank]..oh nothing”

3. “I wonder…[blank]..oh nothing”

4. “You should…[blank]..oh nothing”

Answers to these blanks at the bottom of this page.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have to resist all urges to break open the beards. At three in the morning the idea was hatched, it didn’t occur to me that I would have to provide a rationale to his Mother and others as to why they should wear them. And “Je suis *insert his name here*” doesn’t seem all that funny now.

But fuck it. It’ll be grand. Nothing can possibly go wrong.


pǝɹǝpɹo ǝʌ,I ǝʞɐɔ ǝɥʇ ǝǝs ˙ㄣ
ʎɐpunS uo ɥɔǝǝds ɐ ǝʞɐɯ puɐ lɐuoᴉʇoɯǝ llɐ ʇǝƃ llᴉʍ pɐp ɹnoʎ ɟᴉ ˙Ɛ
¿ɥǝ ‘pɹᴉǝʍ ʇᴉq ɐ sᴉ sɹnoʎ ɟo puǝᴉɹɟ ssᴉʍS ʇɐɥʇ ˙ᄅ
ƃuᴉʞooq dnoɹƃ ɐ ɹoɟ lɐǝp ʇɐǝɹƃ ɐ sǝop ʇuɐɹnɐʇsǝɹ ˙Ɩ

13 thoughts on “Party pieces

  1. 🙂 Can I come? Does your Man have a beard, or is it some existential joke??? Aaah, Mutley…I still accidentally do a Mutley snigger from time to time, also a Marge :-/ Look forward to hearing about the Catastrophes….I’m sure none will be as bad as vomiting over the Small Children 🙂

    • Fantastic. When did this unfortunate downpour occur, and in what circumstances? Children can do that to the best of us.

      The bloke graduated from goatee to full-blown facial duvet when he discovered it earned him an extra ten minutes in bed in the morning. Unfortunately, I still have to shave mine.

      • Aye, we encountered an incompetent consultant in our time. She came out with such bizarre stuff that we refused to leave the building until we got a second opinion

      • That episode must’ve brought back to you so. And for many. I love how she’s not afraid to venture near the tragicomedy of life. A brilliant show. By the way, I found myself watching Fr. Ted the other night and thought of ya – the one where Fr. Jack knocks back the floor polish and dies. Kinda. I laughed all over again. 🙂

      • Yes, the closing moments really came at you. Aaah, yes, lady solicitors and everything! We watched the trip to the mainland the other day. I don’t believe how funny it is 🙂

  2. I know what you’re really trying to say with this post, Tenderness. I know you want me and my choir of tap-dancing corrupt politicians to attend the party. You don’t have to dress it up in wit and rather excellent prose. However, I’m afraid we have a previous engagement at a fashionable funeral. Next time perhaps.

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