Last Tuesday was Adam’s 27th sobriety anniversary, and the Parrots all took him out to Buca di Beppo for dinner. Games and especially Parrot practices are pretty social, but it was awesome to get the chance to chill with the guys.
Adam looks great. With COVID, he stopped coloring his beard, and experimented with letting it be gray last year. He’s changed his mind, and he looks ten years younger. We were all wearing our Parrots caps at dinner (even if Mom always had a rule about no hats at table), so I don’t know how Adam’s hair looks, but, knowing him, it must match his beard. He’s honest about the fact that he colors it, though. Someone asked if he was using Just For Men, but Adam said that he’d become incredibly allergic to it a few years ago. Apparently that shit is full of ammonia and other crap that you probably shouldn’t put on your face, and there’s a like a 100% chance that you’ll become allergic to it eventually. He says he found a different color that’s super gentle but doesn’t come off on his pillowcase…and kind of started giving us a commercial for it lol. Luckily, none of the other Parrots need it. (Adam, with a Keaton-worthy smirk: “Yet.”)
He told us that business is back to normal after COVID, and that he and Allan have one super rich client who’s having them do an eight-bedroom home in the most expensive way possible. (Allan’s told Joyce about some of what she calls the ‘excess’ – like gold-plated fixtures in the bathroom.) The only thing is that they don’t know where the client gets her money from. She’s Russian, so they reckon that the smart thing is not looking into it too closely lol. (Adam: “as long as the checks clear…”)
Then Adam got what Keaton called gayass and told us all how much he appreciated how we let a middle-aged gay man be our catcher. Adam’s been Parrot longer than I have, so I had nothing to do with getting him on the team…but the reality is, gay or straight, middle-aged or young, he’s an awesome defensive catcher (Adam: “and it’s a wonder my knees are still holding out.”) Then he said: “y’all – as Hunter would say – are a great bunch of friends. My generation of gay men was raised to be pretty heterophobic.” I reckon he saw the looks on some of our faces (mine included) and added, “yes, it’s word. We were taught to believe that all straight guys were fag-bashers who secretly wanted it up the ass.” There were murmurings of surprise and denial lol. “Anyway, you guys made me like straight guys for the first time in my life. And, in some ways, y’all are better than gay guys. All the fun of being men…and none of the drama. Well…it’s a different kind of drama at least,” he added laughing.
“Hey,” interrupted Ryan, “don’t lump me in with the straight guys!”
“All straight guys should pitch as well as you, Ryan,” said Adam. Ryan turned red as I probably do…and the rest of us got a big laugh out of it.
Marcella got Josh to order a birthday cake (she was very taken aback last year when she found out we didn’t get Adam a cake), so they brought that out along with the super-messy but amazing brownie and ice cream sundaes they make, and we all sang Happy Birthday, like you apparently do at AA meetings when someone has an anniversary. (I thought at first that you sang “For he’s a jolly good fellow” or something, but it turns out it’s Happy Birthday. I’ve learned a lot of things about sobriety since I got to know Adam.)
It was an awesome dinner, everybody was full (and, yeah, it was a good thing it was what Lucas told me could be my weekly ‘cheat day’), and, even though it was a school night (literally in my case), only Josh, Dylan and Sloppy Joe went home after dinner. After Keaton suggested it, the rest of us headed across the street to the cigar shop. It’s been a year since I was there (not since Adam’s last sobriety party), but it seems that Keaton’s gotten friendly with the owner since a Saturday night back in the spring when there were a couple of guys in the shop who were drunk and disruptive. The owner was about to call the cops, but someone suggested that they go get the bouncer from the Volcano around the corner. Keaton was only too glad to help. Apparently one of the dudes was an MMA fighter or so his equally as drunk buddy was telling everyone. Keaton didn’t throw a punch in the cigar shop, but the MMA dude ended up in the gutter. That’s good cooperation from one local business to another. (The only defect, Keaton says, is that now he feels obligated to go in and buy his cigars at the shop instead of by mail, which is much cheaper.)
“Tell me one thing,” said one of the regulars, after he recognized me, “is that dog really as hard to train as he looks, or is that something you do for television?” the dude was Armenian, so his wife probably makes him watch At Home with Maya. Or he watches it because Maya’s hot and he just pretends he watches it for his wife lol.
“No, that’s the real Gechitzik y’all see,” I said, with a laugh.
“You know my wife says you should be called that, not the dog,” said another Armenian dude. (Don’t forget that Gechitzik means “handsome”. It got a laugh for the people for who it didn’t have to be explained.)
We got our cigars (I just took another Short Story), and it turned out that Adam knows a few things about cigars. (Adam: “It comes in handy for business sometimes. We’ve got a humidor at home, although Allan’s the real expert.”) So we sat and had a chill half hour until I had to get up and go home. Unlike the other guys who were still there, I had to get up at 6:55 and drive boys to school. (Ryan: “the family man.” Me: “yeah, but it’s not my family…it’s only a rental.”) It seemed like the thing to do, so I hugged Adam and congratulated him again. 27 years sober is one fuckin amazing achievement.
The other good thing about a sobriety party is that you never have to worry about a designated driver lol. So I took the shitbox out of the DeLacey garage and drove home, left my Parrots hat out on one of the pool chairs to get the smoke out (again, that’s a trick of Keaton’s) and showered to get the smoke out of my hair. Cigars are awesome…but you don’t want to wake up smelling of last night’s cigar smoke. My stomach was still full of all the ice cream I ate after dinner, so there was nothing to do but call Joyce, give her a quick rundown on the festivities, and turn the light out. It had been a super fun night, and made me realize just how lucky I am to be a Parrot.