My 35th birthday started and progressed as follows:

1. Stomach ache.

2. Three separate paper jams.

3. I inadvertently shot hand soap on my pants and in the process of cleaning them, I actually made pants look worse. Not only did it look like I peed on them, it looked like I peed on them, panicked and peed in them, then tried to cover it up by dumping two handfuls of water on my crotch. Not a good look.

4. Another stomach ache.

5. The Mets scored only a single run in a loss to the rival Washington Nationals.

Honestly, I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about my birthday. It’s a combination of sharing my birthday with an infinitely cuter human, and time. I truly enjoy celebrating Madison because she’s so excited about it. I spent the last week enduring Madison’s Birthday Countdown. Besides, I’m 35 and my shins still hurt from Monday night’s back-to-back. I didn’t care about my special day, and neither did the universe, obviously. But then things started to turn around.

I had AP English last period and they had just completed a small multiple choice test on poetry and we were just about to begin a thesis writing exercise when one of my students returned from the office with three Costco pizzas. He said his mom brought them for my birthday. Of course there was a buzz in the classroom. “Put away the prompts, we’ll hit them tomorrow,” I said. Cheers all around. “This is the best deus ex machina ever,” one of my students said before he took a bite. He might have been right.

Guess what I spent my morning doing.

Guess what I spent my morning doing.

My day only got better. Shortly after I got home Lynnette sent me to Domino’s to get the usual birthday pizza. When I returned, she had a spicy ahi platter waiting for me. I almost cried. I gave her a hug and started swaying with her side-to-side the way I may or may not have as a younger man at a Summer Fun dance. My thoughtful wife also chilled a few Cokes for dinner. When people say that they’re looking for people who “get them,” this is what they’re talking about. I don’t care what Laurie Salvatera said, that’s what love is. I ate about as much spicy ahi as I could while still reserving a sliver of space in my belly for ice cream cake.

The vaunted hippity-hop.

The vaunted hippity-hop.

Madison got the Big Hero 6 set of Tsum Tsums from Lynnette and me. Abby somehow purchased the hippity-hop pictured above. That’s what the tag said, at least. Madison was overjoyed by the gifts, obviously. Both Madison and I received “Awesome Gift Coupons” from Lynnette which are good for the memory foam shoes of our choice. This, of course, elicited a shout of “MEMORY FOAM!” from Mad. I also received a nice pair of shorts and a polo shirt from Lynnette, and Masters of the Universe t-shirt from Mad and Abby. The shirt also doubles as female repellent, but that’s not a problem because: A) I’m married, and B) the woman I am married to hasn’t had any physical interest in me since 2008 – regardless of the shirt I was or wasn’t wearing at the time. She gives it up less often than John Cena (Cut to video footage of Lynnette smiling and laughing at me before waving an open palm back-and-forth in front of her face, right up in my grill). Anyway, I assume that many of you are interested to know if Madison indeed was allowed to stay up until 8:45. She was not. Perhaps the best story I have to tell in that regard is Madison’s conversation with my brother Paul.

Madison took my phone and began talking to Paul. Obviously, I could only hear Mad’s side of the conversation. I heard “thank you” and “yeah” and “seven” and “it’s daddy’s birthday too.” At some point, Paul must have asked Mad if she got everything she wanted because I heard a sharp change in tone in her answer. “No. I didn’t get a note in my lunch that said I could stay up until 8:45.” What a clown.

I told you - absolutely no physical interest.

I told you – absolutely no physical interest.

Thank you to everyone who sent happy birthday wishes my way via text, tweet, Facebook message, and the old-fashioned phone. You all helped make the marker of my three-and-a-half decades of existence entertaining at all hours of the day.

It was a wonderful day and it would not have been nearly so much so without the incredible efforts of my amazing wife. The food, the gifts (which were not terrible this year, I might add!), the entire afternoon and evening all totally redeemed what had been a lackluster birthday morning.

When Madison saw my reaction to the food situation, she  remarked to Lynnette, “Today is a really special day, yeah?” “Of course!” Lynnette said. “Today is the day my best friend was born.” Thank you, love, for going out of your way to make sure Madison wasn’t the only one whose birth was celebrated yesterday.

Happy birthday to YOU!

Happy birthday to YOU!


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