Sunday was the Parrots’ catcher Adam’s 25th sobriety anniversary. We wanted to do something special for him. Melanie Kate’s been to Zoom parties before, and she thoiught it would be a good idea if we did one for Adam. So I suggested it. And got put in charge of the arrangements.
I know…the idea of a bunch of softball players at a Zoom party may sound kinda weirdass – but what else can you do these days? It would have been cool to take Adam out to Buca or something…but the best we could get to that this year was everyone ordering take-out from there and getting together on Zoom at 7 on Sunday night with bottles of sparkling cider to toast our catcher.
All 9 of us (that’s Ryan, Sloppy Joe, Keaton, Josh, me, Travis, David, Dave and Trey) were at our computers before 7, which was good, as one thing I know about Zoom is that it always takes a while before everyone’s got their microphones turned on and you can hear them. That’s why Allan waited until 7:05 to bring Adam into the room in their house where they have their computers.
“What the hell?,” said Adam, laughing.
“It’s a surprise Zoom sobriety party,” Allan explained. “You have Hunter to thank for the idea…”
“…in case you think it’s totally lameass and wanna blame someone,” said Keaton from his box on the screen.
We all talked a while and caught up (a lot of it at the same time, but that doesn’t bother most men I know), then David kinda whined:
“I’m starved. Can we eat now?”
There was a silence.
“Bubba, you planned this out; you have to decide when we eat.”
“I…” Melanie Kate didn’t tell me I needed to have a schedule drawn up. “Yeah, sure.”
We all told and showed each other what we’d ordered. The big favorite was spaghetti and meatballs, because that’s one of the best things they have at Buca. Sloppy Joe and I both ordered extra meatballs…but Josh put a stop to a virtual meatball eating contest.
“We so gotta do this one of these days,” I said, looking at Sloppy Joe’s picture on my monitor. (I gotta admit one of the weird things about Zoom is you never know where to look. It’s not like me looking at Sloppy Joe’s picture is gonna make eye contact with him.)
“Bring it on, pretty boy,” Sloppy Joe said.
“Just, please, don’t make us watch,” said Josh. I don’t know what his problem with meatball eating contests is lol. That’s twice he’s stopped us.
Adam and Allan got eggplant parmesan and baked ziti (I’m sure someone was thinking that the gay guys would be the ones to get the vegetarian dishes lol), a couple guys got pizzas, and we all tore into our food. It’s kinda funny watching people eat spaghetti on your computer monitor. Somebody mentioned that, and they we all got self-conscious. Then Sloppy Joe speared one of his giant meatballs on a fork and started eating it like a candy apple…but at lightning speed. I don’t know why, but it was hilarious. In a second-grade kinda way…but we all got a good laugh out of it.
When we were done, we decided we were too full to play charades – remember that we each had a full order of whatever we wanted from Buca, and those full orders usually feed like 3 or 4 – so I said we should go for pictionary. After all, I’d gone to all the trouble of getting everyone notebooks and markers.
“So how do we do this?,” Josh asked from his little window.
“Someone’s gotta give out the words and keep score,” I said. “I can do it…”
“I’ll do it,” said Allan. “Only how?”
“I reckon you gotta text the person whose turn it is a word,” I said. We then started giving Allan our numbers.
“Where’s he gonna get the words from?,” Dave asked from his little window. (Do y’all know the opening of that way old TV show, The Brady Bunch? Ok, that’s all I could think of all evening long lol.)
“I’ve got a dictionary.” Allan held it up for the camera. ‘That’s a big book with words in it.”
“Fuckin boomer!,” said Trey.
“Who you callin ‘boomer’? Don’t make me come over there and kick your Gen Z butt,” said Adam.
“And, just for the record, neither Adam nor I are boomers,” said Allan. “He was born in…”
“Don’t you dare!,” said Adam.
“Why? We all know…,” I said.
“No you don’t,” said Adam. “And you’re not going to.”
Come to think of it, I didn’t know. None of us knew exactly how old Adam is. I reckon he must be over 50 if he’s been sober for 25 years, but I don’t know how much older than 50.
“But he’s right,” said Adam, pointing to Allan in their little window (they were sitting next to each other and managed to fit in the same frame), “we’re both Generation X.”
“It says Generation X begins in 1965,” said Trey. “Is that when you were born?”
“My source says that Generation X begins in the mid-1960s, so that would include at least 1964,” said Allan.
“What source is that?,” Travis asked.
“Only boomers use Yahoo!,” said Trey, triumphantly.
“We can’t be total boomers,” Allan then said. “We can use Zoom.”
“And don’t forget Quick Books,” said Adam.
“Yeah, total boomer software,” said Trey. “But it’s ok. You guys are cool…even if you are boomers.”
“It’s not like they sit around playing board games all the time,” I said, coming to their defense.
“There goes Monopoly night,” said Adam.
“Speaking of Monopoly, anyone ready for pictionary?,” said Allan.
“We gotta pick teams first,” Adam said.
“Infield vs. Outfield,” I said. “Ryan, you’re with the outfielders.”
“Does that mean I have to go to strip clubs with those guys?,” he asked. “If we do, I get to pick the club.”
“Ew!,” came like a chorus from Travis, David, Dave and Trey.
“Hunter planned the party so he goes first,” said Allan.
“Hold on,” I said. “I need to get my notebook and shit.”
While I was doing that, Allan made a big show of opening the dictionary. And texted me: platypus.
I think I’ve already told y’all that, on the list of things I absolutely cannot do – the list that includes dancing and dribbling a basketball – is drawing. Like I seriously can’t even draw stick figures. And now I had to draw some lameass animal I wasn’t even sure what it looked like. I knew that platypi – what the heck even is the plural of platypus?? – have duck bills, but that’s about it. I know there’s some show on Disney with a platypus character that my brother-in-law likes to watch with my nephews…but I’ve never seen it.
“Ready?,” Allan said.
“Let me make sure I’ve got my notebook in the frame,” I said – which wasn’t exactly easy to do if I was gonna have room for my marker and ‘drawing’ hand. Anyway, it was pretty awkwardass getting everything into position…but everyone was getting a laugh out of it, so it was ok.
As for my drawing of a platypus…I drew what I thought was a duck bill…and Josh thought it was a horseshoe…so they started guessing things about horses…then I tried drawing an animal body attached to it and it only got worse. Then Keaton decided it was a purse and it all got pretty fuckin hilarious…even if nobody guessed even close to right by the time Allan called time.
“What the fuck was it, bubba?”
“You call that a fuckin platypus?”
“See…there’s the duck bill…and I was trying to draw a body with four legs. Those things have four legs, right?”
“You mean you’ve never seen Phineas and Ferb?,” Trey asked. “You don’t know Perry?”
“Perry the Platypus. He’s a secret agent. Wears a fedora.”
“Are you on something, man?,” I asked. “This is a sobriety party, remember.” Secret agent platypi? Like Keaton said: the fuck??
“No, it’s a show. Isn’t it, Travis?”
“Of course it is,” he said, live from the funny farm.
“You’re fucking with me,” I said.
“No we aren’t. Stop acting like a total boomer,” said Trey.
“Proud card-carrying millennial,” Allan said.
“And I allegedly am a boomer and I know Phineas and Ferb.” I think we all looked at Adam…or thought we were, since, like I said, it’s hard to tell who’s looking at who on Zoom. “My nephew loves the show. Perry is his favorite character. He beats up a mad scientist in every episode.”
Ok… so a platypus beats up mad scientist every episode? I could see Ethan liking that lol. But what the fuck kinda show is it lol??
“And,” said Allan, “for the record, the plural of platypus is platypodes. Did you know that the males are venomous?”
“And lay eggs,” said Trey.
“The fuck?” That was Dave this time.
“I mean the females lay eggs. Duh.”
“Don’t you know the joke?,” Travis asked. “How do you know God gets high?”
We made ‘I don’t know’ noises.
We played a few rounds of pictionary after that, which were more organized and a little less hilarious, but we all had a good time. Even if the outfielders beat us.
And, for the record, if y’all think I can’t draw, there’s someone worse than me: Sloppy Joe. With the two of us, no wonder the infield lost. And here’s something even weirder: Keaton can draw. He got all gayass and drew a great elephant, but that wasted time, so we didn’t awkward right. (He was thinking ‘elephant in the room’.) When someone complimented him on his elephant, Keaton said that he was gonna have to hurt anyone who let it out that he could draw lol.
The game kinda ended itself, and then Allan decided it was time for Adam’s cake. He explained to us that, when there’s a ‘birthday’ at an AA meeting, they use the same little cake over and over again and just keep lighting the same candle for all the people having anniversaries. So, instead of a real cake, he got Adam a chocolate chip muffin from the Kroger.
Then it was time for Adam’s bigass card, present and the sparkling cider toast. What we got together and got Adam was a Dodger hat with a big silver metallic ‘LA’ badge where the logo is usually embroidered in white:
It looked cool on the hatland.com website, and it looked even cooler when Adam took it out of the box. (I asked Joyce to wrap it, and she did one of her masterpieces in silver paper and ribbons.) Adam’s got a very big head – he needs a size 8 in a fitted hat – and thought it might be a little tight when he first put it on, but then Keaton told him to bend the brim, pull it down and not wear it ‘so fuckin gay’. That worked: it fit just right after that.
Then we all toasted our sober catcher. I got stuck proposing the toast, and I gotta admit I didn’t know what to say. Allan finally helped me out: “congratulations…and at least 25 years more!”. Adam said he didn’t want to think about how old he was gonna be for his golden sobriety anniversary, and that he’d probably be having it in a nursing home, but we told him we’d all be there anyway.
That’s a long way away for Adam. He’s still pretty athletic – and not everyone his age has got the knees for catching. I know we gave him shit for being a boomer, but he’s as much a part of the team as any of us, and it was awesome that we got to celebrate with him…even if it was just a Zoom party.
Believe it or not we hung out on Zoom for 2 hours. Joyce said that I should consider my first party a success if it went on all that time without anyone getting [too lol] bored. We got some good laughs out of it, and I think we all liked getting ‘together’. Our last game was the second week in March…which is like 5½ months ago…and we were used to getting together once or twice a week. I think we’ve all been missing that. We’re a pretty close-knit group of guys, which is one reason we’re so good on the softball field.
And it’s great that we got to celebrate Adam’s awesome achievement. I think he was genuinely surprised when he saw us all on the monitor, and I think he enjoyed being celebrated. I think he likes his really cool present too.
So congrats one more time to our catcher. Way to go, Adam!