A few days ago I decided it was time to shake things up.
I decided it was time to stop letting events control my life. I decided it was time to -as the great W.C. Fields said-“take the bull by the tail and face the situation.”
I decided it was time to start getting my life back together. So, I took a deep breath, summed up all my courage and went for it.
I put on a shirt with a collar.
But then I made the same mistake I always make when I do something bold and daring:
I told my wife.
But surprisingly my wife was OK with my bold and daring action. In fact, she and our 22-year-old daughter Emma, urged me to take things a step further.
“You should dress up tomorrow,” my wife said.
“Why?” I said, sensing a trap.
“Because it’s your birthday and Emma and I think it would be nice,” my wife said.
“I thought you were supposed to get to do whatever you wanted on your birthday?” I said.
“You are,” my wife said. “And Emma and I decided you want to dress up on your birthday.”
“I see,” I said even though, as I’ve said many, many times, I didn’t see.
To be fair, my wife wasn’t suggesting suit-and-tie dressing up. My wife was suggesting something more along the line of a Tommy Bahama shirt and shorts that didn’t look like they’ve been at the bottom of a WW II footlocker.
So, the next day, after a nice breakfast prepared by my wife and Emma, I was sitting on our patio drinking coffee when they gave me one of my gifts. Oddly enough the gift was a new Tommy Bahama shirt.
After thanking my wife and Emma for the shirt I resumed sipping my coffee. My wife looked at Emma. Emma looked at my wife. Then they both looked at me.
“What?” I said.
“Aren’t you going to change into nicer clothes?” my wife asked.
“Now?” I asked.
“Yes,” my wife said. “Emma and I decided you wanted to change into nicer clothes now.”
“I see,” I said.
I went upstairs, put on my new Tommy Bahama shirt, and changed into a pair of freshly pressed shorts.
A few minutes later my wife called for me to come out into our front yard.
“Oh what fresh hell is this?” I asked myself.
“I don’t know,” myself said. “But I don’t think you’re going to like it.”
Have you ever been wrong? I mean really, really wrong? I mean so wrong you don’t even want to admit how wrong you were?
That’s how wrong I was.
When I stepped into our front yard, I saw a small SUV with a Budweiser logo on its side. Then I saw Alan Beaver, the general manager of Missouri Eagle, the local Budweiser distributor, do an amazing thing.
He stacked six 20-packs of bottled Budweiser onto a dolly.
I’m just going to go ahead and admit this right now: I teared up.
That’s right. My wife arranged for Alan to deliver the beer to me as a birthday gift. It was perhaps the best gift I have ever received.
Relax. I said perhaps.
Besides, my wife and Emma also gave me an original painting by the great Charlie Podrebarac. For those of you who remember when newspapers were still newspapers, Charlie, for years, drew the great Cowtown cartoons for the Kansas City Star.
Oh, the theme of Charlie’s painting?
But seriously, do you know how long six 20-packs of bottled Budweiser can last me?
I don’t know either but I’m guessing a couple of days at least.
Ha! I joke.
My wife and Emma gave me other gifts throughout the day. And they fixed me a nice lunch and dinner.
Between lunch and dinner my wife and Emma came out onto our three-season porch where I was reading and listening to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station.
My wife and Emma were wearing Hawaiian leis. Emma had another lei in her hand. I didn’t like the sight of that.
“We decided you wanted to wear a lei on your birthday,” my wife said.
“I don’t want to do that,” I said.
“I made margarita’s” my wife said.
“All right then”, I said.
So to sum up, in addition to several other nice gifts, I received the gift of art, beer and margaritas.
And all I had to do was dress up a bit.
For once, I did see.