As many of you know, I turned 40 on Saturday. As expected, I’m doing just fine with being 40. It beats the alternative, which would be being dead so keep pressing onward, I say. We had a bunch of people over to the house on Saturday night and it was great fun. Really, the best present of all was being able to spend time with the people that mean the most to me. When the invitations went out, I wished I had put “no gifts” on there, but as my folks (and several other friends) said, they would have just ignored it anyway.
While everything I received at the dawn of my 40s was awesome, two of them blew me completely out of the water. The first was from my friend Matt. I met Matt via our local UU congregation probably 2007ish. It’s kind of funny because he’s one of those friends who I can’t really remember not being in my life and at the same time, how can it be 5 years already? Anyway, this was, as another friend put it, the most EPIC Photoshop gift ever. I’ve plastered it all over most of my social media hangouts, but in case you haven’t see it, here it is.
If this is not a complete picture of me from a pop culture standpoint, I have no idea what is. The picture of me is from my sister’s wedding in 2010 at which I was wearing a ridiculous white plastic hat that said “Happy New Year!” and I was plenty buzzed on vodka shots and wine. The celebrity picture choices are just perfect. I am particularly fond of the Madonna one which is, in my opinion, very “obey everything I say.” Matt told me that his concept was “Dan’s Dream Birthday Party.” This is all well and good, but I still maintain that if all these people showed up, there wouldn’t be anyone left alive. Who invited the Alien and the Zuni fetish doll anyway? At least we know something would upstage the diva cat-fight.
When I look at this photo, I think of the HOURS AND HOURS of work it must have been. I could never even begin to do something like this. The other thing I told Matt is that he must have been really paying attention to what I like during the time we’ve known each other. It’s either that or I just haven’t shut up for two seconds about most of the things in that picture over the last 5 years. I suspect it’s probably a combination of both. I’m not sure I’ve ever received a more personalized gift in my entire 40 years on the planet. It is hanging proudly above my desk in my office
By contrast, my friend Jeff has been in my life for a quarter century. He’s the godfather to my daughter and Madonna partner-in-crime extraordinaire. We’ve been to four Madonna concerts together, starting with 2001’s Drowned World Tour all the way up through 2008’s Sticky & Sweet Tour. We’re headed to the MDNA World Tour in St. Paul, Minnesota the first weekend in November and for the first time, his girlfriend Caryle is coming with us. So imagine my surprise when I received this from him this year.
That’s right folks, WE’RE GOING TWICE! In a year of excess (new computer, new iPhone, Madonna tour, Chicago and Colorado vacations), this takes the cake. But you know what? I DON’T CARE! I have always been jealous beyond what’s reasonable at the folks that go to more than one Madonna show on a tour but it has always been so cost prohibitive. Hell, going one time is no small investment, especially this time around. The story behind this is that Jeff desperately wanted to get tickets to the New York show, but he a) couldn’t find flights that were reasonable and b) her show was at Yankee Stadium, which is just too big of a venue. She is playing Madison Square Garden, but those dates conflicted with one of his art shows so we’re headed for Kansas City. It’s a nice and easy drive from here and it’s still theoretically before the snow flies, so it’s all good. Our seats, while not as rocking as our seats for the Twin Cities show, are probably analogous to our Sticky & Sweet seats. They’re further away from the stage, but situated more in front.
The more I think about it, the more I still can’t believe it. The chance to see the show twice is something that may never happen again in my lifetime. And I couldn’t be more excited!
And Jeff’s right – we have to make sure that the show is appropriate for Caryle. No profanity and no nudity. Since it’s a Madonna show, I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.
If my 40th birthday has taught me anything, it’s taught me that any time I feel lonely or unloved, I need only think about the people that showed up to celebrate it with me. After it was over, the more I thought about the number of people that took time to come up and especially these two gifts, I couldn’t help but feel very overwhelmed. Some of that, I’m sure, was due to the fact that my introvert was dying to go be by myself, but it was more than that.
They sure know how to make an old guy feel loved and appreciated. I am humbled by their generosity.