My better half, other side and split screen turns forty-one today. He does not look a day over 34 and lives in a perpetual state of collegiate bliss as he skips down memory lane in the same Levi’s and black t-shirt day everyday. I have been on his ride for nineteen years now and of those nineteen, the birthdays that I recall with the most fondness are as follows. Dave’s surprise 40th celebration was perfection sprinkled with an electric guitar group gift and a 24-hour babysitter. His 26th year brew ha-ha consisted of the consumption of a case of cheap beer in Hawaii with a movie crew while I stayed home with two feral cats and a bad haircut. We spent his 30th birthday bash in New York City drinking stiff cocktails with our farthest and dearest and watching the Yankees win game three of the World Series against a team I cannot recall in a bar that slips my mind. 2004 saw his 36th and an acoustic Gibson just like the one Jimmy Page played in Song Remains The Same.
The 29th time someone sang him Happy Birthday, he sang karaoke for a crowd of hipster Koreans with hot tempers and sub-par musical training. After knocking back ten shots of the devil juice, Dave proceeded to be forcibly removed from the premises by two ill humored men who looked like under paid extras from M*A*S*H*. In the cool night of a Los Angeles October I drove home to the sounds of my lovely husband ralphing out the front passenger window of a brand New Mercedes while the new owner, Dave’s B.F.F. screamed between torrents of half digested Kim Chee he could not keep down his throat.
The rest of his birthdays melt into one another with a cast of characters changing here and there, with the exception of the solid Gold dancer he calls his brother. Emile, of puking Mercedes fame, has been his best friend since Dave was twelve. This is a guy who claims the title of Godfather to our Otto and keeper of all things sacred and embarrassing. He has been there for every birthday since Dave first saw his secret stash of pubes creeping up through his OP corduroy shorts. And, God willing will be there to hand Dave a set of motorized dentures and a Titanium walker with built-in toilet bowl when the time comes. No birthday is complete without him. He is our third leg.
But tonight, as my wonderful mother baby-sits the gremlin, Dave and I will spend a quiet, romantic dinner out, just the two of us, as requested by the birthday boy himself. Will this go on the favorite birthday list? After watching Otto squeal with delight as Dave opened a box filled with everything a first time director could need to shoot his first movie I would say yes. The only thing missing is Emile and maybe, just maybe he will pop out of a cake before the night is through.