My 30th Birthday (last part)

Even with all the fun we had at Disneyland on the day after my birthday, I still wasn’t done celebrating: there were still the guys to have dinner with, and, like we usually do, we went to Buca di Beppo. We didn’t get the table with the Pope’s head in the middle this time, but we got a long table in the room next to it – and it was a very long table since there were a lot of us. All the Parrots were there – so me, Keaton, Sloppy Joe, Ryan, Adam, Travis, Trey, Dave and Mikey (the new guy) and Josh, plus Dylan, who’s long been an honorary Parrot, and a new honorary Parrot, Matt from the law firm, who made the trip up to Pasadena for my birthday.

Everybody’s doing good, I’m happy to report…and, dang, did I get a lot of shit for turning 30. I should have expected it, but nobody said anything about my being old and having the best years of my life behind me on Tuesday or Wednesday. The guys, however, let me have it. I don’t know how they all got off giving me shit when most of them were already 30 (the only guys I’m sure who were still in their 20s are Ryan, Travis and Trey.) I reckon I deserved a little of it…you’re supposed to get shit from your buddies for turning 30…but it got a little tiresome by the end. I mean, how many different ways are there to say “enjoy your six pack while you still have it” lol?

Mostly, though, we all laughed and maybe got a little loud, although that’s kinda what you’re supposed to get a Buca birthday party. Ryan said he’s trying out being vegetarian for a while, so we ordered the bombass eggplant parmesan again along with baked ziti, which was pretty bomb too.

And don’t worry…I ate a whole 8 ounce meatball with my spaghetti. It may be a good thing that it’s an unusually chilly November already and I’m probably not going to have my shirt off on TV for a while lol.

Marcella (Josh’s Italian wife who wouldn’t be caught dead in a restaurant like Buca di Beppo) did order me an ice cream cake with a baseball design, which they brought out along with a couple of those brownie sundaes for six you always get if it’s your birthday. The waiters all come to your table when they bring out the sundae, but, instead of singing Happy Birthday, they do this clapping song that’s almost like a rap. I think it has a line about meatballs in it lol.

After dinner, some of us headed across the street to the cigar lounge. I had a big day ahead of me filming Thanksgiving for the TV cameras so we can air our Thanksgiving special the night before actual Thanksgiving, but I reckoned I had time for a Short Story. Keaton, Travis and Matt (who discovered cigars that day I won my case and is now already a frequent customer at a cigar lounge in his part of town) were the only ones who came (we tried to get the others to join us, but it was already close to 11:00, and everyone had to work the next day, even if it was a holiday.) There was a group of guys sitting in the shop when we got there…and y’all’ll never guess who was sitting there but the dude who wrote that bitcoin blog all those years ago.

“Hey man,” he said, putting out his hand for me to shake.

“Hey,” I said. “Funny seeing you here….only this time it’s my birthday we’re meeting. Remember this dude, Keaton? We met him at Disneyland?”

“Oh, sure,” Keaton said, shaking hands. “Been a while. Everything good with you?”

“Yeah, good enough,” said the dude whose name I can never get. “My friend and I saw you in the restaurant, but I didn’t want to horn in on what looked like a family affair.”

“Team affair,” I said…or was he from a part of the world where families were all dudes lol? “You should have come over.”

“Well, I get to wish you a happy birthday here,” he said.

“Bubba’s hit the big three-oh,” said Keaton. “He’d better hurry up and get himself a portrait before it’s too late.”

The bitcoin dude laughed like he knew a lot more about The Picture of Dorian Gray than the rest of us did.

We all got our cigars (Short Stories all around…I wasn’t sure how long the shop stayed open and didn’t want to spend money on a cigar I wouldn’t get to finish) and sat down. There were some dudes there who were telling stories about back when they served, which seemed appropriate for the night before Veteran’s Day, and another dude who was a math teacher…a good bunch of guys just talking and ignoring the football game that was playing on the TVs. (Keaton paid some attention to it, I reckon because he had money on it.) It was super comfortable way to end my endless birthday celebrations.

Keaton of course had to come back to that as we were walking across the street to the garage.

“Was that enough birthday for you, bubba?”

“Yeah, I think so,” I said. “I’m fuckin exhausted from all the celebrating. And I still haven’t even gotten my present from Joyce. I’m going over Saturday night to pick it up, whatever it is…all I know is it’s something that has to get delivered on a specific date and it was one more thing the rain messed up.”

“You’ll find out soon enough,” Keaton said, unlocking his truck. “Happy birthday one more time, bubba. It’s gay as fuck of me to be saying it again, but it seems to make you happy.” He laughed as he gave me a hug. He opened the truck door and got something off the passenger seat. “This is for you. It’s not as original as Joyce’s present, but you’ll probably like it…once you get over being pissed off at the Dodgers.” With that he hopped in the truck and drove off, without even seeing me open my present. I guess he didn’t want another hug lol.

I was eager to see what was in the box – it was pretty big – so I opened it as soon as I got to the shitbox. It turned out to be a varsity-style Dodgers jacket, just like the one I had in high school, contrasting sleeves and all. It was a great gift, and it would be dang useful if the weather keeps up being so chilly. Destiny told me that the audience is already tired of seeing me in the hoodie I’ve been wearing on cooler days. It was super thoughtful of Keaton, and reminded me that he’s not always the tough guy he tries to come off as.

The only thing that leaves is Joyce’s mystery birthday present to me. It turned out to be pretty awesome, and I can see how you’d of had to schedule delivery for it: it was eight pints of ice cream in containers that had happy birthday messages printed on them (one read “dirty 30”, which I don’t quite get, and one that said “believe in yourself”, which I do get…it’s good advice.) The flavors were things like sea salt caramel brownie and praline pecan. Joyce and I tried the second one and it was pretty dang amazing. Joyce said she could have gotten me a subscription to the ice cream of the month club or something like that, but she wasn’t sure how Lucas would feel if she ‘corrupted’ me that way.

So I spent Saturday night at Joyce’s and then had to dash home to put my ice cream in the freezer before heading to church. Then it was back to the old routine, although I gotta admit that I had one heck of a 30th birthday.

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