I wasn’t quite sure why my father was running me all over town on Saturday, though it was perfectly natural for us to get a pancake breakfast and wander the aisles at Barnes & Noble. Or why, when I called, I heard that my mother felt the need to mop our floors, which weren’t that dirty, thank you very much. The evening was planned and simple – a local dinner at an Indian restaurant L and I wanted to try, followed by a play downtown. A nice, relaxing evening. Never mind that our daughter decided to wake us up at 4:45 that morning to wish me a happy birthday. We would be plenty awake to watch the play and, if not, I was sure the seats would be comfortable enough to snooze in.

But then the mobile rang – my parents, babysitting, couldn’t find the thermometer. They thought that perhaps Evie, our daughter, was running a fever. Luckily, they called right before we pulled onto the highway. A quick stop to help and then we’d be back on their way.

As we pulled up, I wondered briefly why the house was so dark. Only for a moment did I think that I saw a flutter of streamer through the window.

My wife, who had layered so many obfuscations on me the past few weeks, including an accidental and utterly convincing “slip” that she was going to take me to a play as a surprise (including the rounds of self-flagellation afterwards for “ruining it for you”) – well, she got me. As did the many wonderful friends and family members who came to help celebrate.

So, having now spent a few days in the Dark Side of 30, things appear to be just about the same. I truly can’t complain. Healthier than last year (thank God). Check. Same beautiful, thoughtful, and intelligent wife. Check. New lovely, adorable, and intelligent daughter. Check. Roof over head. Check. Great family and friends. Check. And I still have a fairly wicked Scrabble game. On balance, a good year and looking better all the time.

It does say something, I suppose, when almost every single gift you get for your thirtieth birthday has something to do either with video games or comics. But I’m too busy playing my new Xbox to think on such things…


11 Responses to Surprise

  1. Your Wife says:

    Um… care to retest those Scrabble skilz? We’ve not played in so long that… perhaps… perchance… old age has begun to take its toll on your verbal abilities….which means maybe I can win this time.


  2. Jason says:

    You may notice that I did not mention you kicking my butt last Scrabble game in my list ‘o things that went well this year. 🙂

  3. George says:

    Happy Birthday, Jason! Sounds like a good time was had by all.

  4. natalie says:

    Skillz, mad skillz, aptitudes…

    It was a great party – and we really want to come over to play Frogger!

  5. marc says:

    Haha. Ms. Pac Man always made lots o’ friends.

  6. fritz says:

    if you can, remember where you were for your birthday in 1997. here’s a hint: McKeldin Library, pre-cornerstone.

    “you’re the king of all poets, you know every stanza. yeah, you’re the boss, so screw tony danza.”

  7. fritz says:

    by they way… that was McKeldin library, pouring over some kind of “when revolution comes, what do you put in its place” romantics readings seminar, wondering if L. and I were going to take you dancing instead of keeping you among the stacks studying. i still can’t believe we spent that much time studying when it was your birthday. we should’ve been at the cornerstone hours earlier. drinking crap beer and displaying our west-coast-swing-dance-moves to all the young fraters. but you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you? old man.

  8. fritz says:

    can you believe you, L. and I have known each other this long??? holy crap. you are old. 😉

  9. Jason says:

    I think “Game Night” might need to make a comeback.

    And no, fritz, I can’t believe that you are that old either. 😉

    Thanks, everyone, for the birthday wishes!

  10. Transmitting belated wishes for a happy happy birthday.

    And in lieu of flowers…

    URL to a Times Educational Supplement article
    Teach computer games, schools urged
    Published: 26 October 2004


    Children should be allowed to play games, talk about them and even create their own in class, according to academics from the Institute of Education at London University.


    care of
    CIT Infobits
    November 2004
    CIT Infobits quotes a portion of the full text accessible by registration
    “[c]omputer games should be taught in schools because they are good for children’s development.” Research by the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Medias suggests that computer games can develop literacy skills and “help children learn concepts such as critical appreciation of narrative structure or character development which they might otherwise study in a novel.”

    Birthdays as Narratives? As Games?

  11. Jason says:

    Thanks Francois 🙂 I almost lost your comment as I was moderating the swarm of spam that is apparently sneaking past the blacklist somehow.

    Deleting spam as game? as narrative?

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