Here's the Scoop: July 16, 2008

No big surprise
I recently marked a “special” birthday. I am unsure why people make such a big deal out of turning 35, but so be it. Not being much of a “party person,” I gently reminded loved ones — many times — that I really, really didn’t want a party on my behalf. Cake was another story, though.
So, naturally, my family made sure I had a party! I actually knew that some guests were coming, because we annually use my birthday as an excuse to blast a bunch of fireworks.
Fortunately — or not — my years as an investigative reporter once again paid dividends. Through exhaustive research, I learned that some friends would also be attending this bash. I was unpleased.
It’s not like I wouldn’t enjoy having friends over, it’s just that I worried about not having the lung capacity to take care of the candles in one puff. How embarrassing.
In one of those moments that we wish we could “reel back in,” I expressed my “findings” to the guilty parties in charge of the party. That one will get filed away under the heading, “What was I thinking?”
Let’s see, my wife and daughter go to great lengths to throw a really nice party and invite a few extra friends — and I get mad. Hmmm. Bad idea on my part.

No big crime
Sure, my orders were disobeyed, but it’s not like I had continually warned them not to toss hand grenades near the neighbor’s dog house or something along those lines. On the contrary, parties are generally accepted as “good” occasions.
I like to think my overreaction had more to do with the “milestone” birthday than the fact that I don’t like people making a fuss over me.
The really good news is that when you reach a certain age — even though requests of no gifts are made — many visitors ignore this advice and bring beer.
Beer is a close second to money as a welcome gift. Especially on a warm summer evening.
Once I got past feeling really stupid about my reaction to the party plans, I could get on with enjoying the festivities.
My daughter, a caterer at heart, did nearly all of the party planning. A baseball-themed event had to be altered because of a delay in decorations delivery. No worries, the theme was melded with “pirates,” because I, arrrrgggghhhh, am quite fond of buccaneers.
I am proud to note that in a combination of the party themes, I took a mighty baseball-like swing with a sword to cleanly whack the head off the pirate pinada!
I’m also happy to report that I enjoyed the party from start to end and my girls did a terrific job.
Topping off the event was the fact that hardly anyone accused me of being quite old. Maybe this was because many of the guests (except for my wife!) had whizzed past this milestone birthday. Many, many years ago.