Living Retired –‘Have Your Cake and Eat It Too’
Living Retired — ‘Have Your Cake & Eat It Too’
By Gary Chalk.
For many years Jan and I have not celebrated our birthdays. We made a pact that our birthdays are not anything special. At least that is what I thought, until Jan’s birthday last Wednesday.
At breakfast she said, “So Gary do you know what day today is?”
Knowing Jan did not want to be reminded of her birthday I said, “Yes Dear today is 5 days until our next garbage day.”
WELL! You’d think I had committed a major crime!
“Gary, I’ll pretend I did not hear what you just said. Try again.”
“Hmm Dear, I’m going say today is 2 days from our last garbage day. How’s that?”
“Gary, you know I don’t like it when you trash talk.”
When Jan and I met up at lunch she picked up where we left off. “So, Gary you still have not told me what day today is.”
Knowing it wasn’t 5 days until garbage day and it wasn’t 2 days from our last garbage pickup — even though it was! — I was stumped. “No Jan I don’t know what day today is.”
“Gary. It’s my birthday! How can you forget?”
“Dear of course I know it is your birthday. I also know we do not mention our birthdays?”
WELL! You’d think I had committed my second major crime of the day!
“Gary. It was only two days ago that we went out for a casual dinner with our friends to celebrate Bob’s birthday. Martha knew it was Bob’s birthday so she organized a meet up. Why don’t you?”
“Again, Jan I do know today is your birthday, but it’s one of those things we are not supposed to mention. It is like the time you came out of the dressing room at Chico’s and I said I didn’t think you looked good in the slacks you tried on. I learned some things are best left unsaid — including your birthday.”
Flashback to my 40th birthday. Jan secretly planned a weekend getaway to New Orleans. Unfortunately, I opened a letter from the travel agent confirming the trip. (If you are under 40 look up ‘travel agent’ in the dictionary. First look up ‘dictionary’ in Google.) I confided to my friend Ted that we were going to New Orleans. “Gary, I will jot down some great creole restaurants on my business card.” I slipped the card in my wallet. Two months after returning from the Big Easy, Jan asked where my wallet was to borrow my credit card. Minutes later, “Gary, why do you have Ted’s business card in your wallet with a names of restaurants in New Orleans?” I had some ‘splaining to do.
As Jan’s birthday that I was not supposed to acknowledge continued, she received many birthday greetings on Facebook. She enjoyed reading them and thanked her followers for remembering. She received cards from our financial advisor. Floral arrangements were delivered to our front door.
“Jan why is it fine for your friends to remember your birthday but I am supposed to remember it and forget it. It’s like that birthday years ago when I bought you sexy lingerie at Victoria’s Secret. I was very embarrassed how you treated me when you unwrapped the present.”
“Gary, YOU were embarrassed? How about ME? When I opened the 3-D card, up popped Chippendale male strippers and Def Leppard singing Pour Some Sugar On Me! To make things worse I opened the box and out fell an itty-bitty lace thong!
“So, what’s your issue?”
“Gary, my parents were standing right beside me! AND we were still dating!!!”
WELL! You’d think I had committed my third major crime of the day — one that occurred when I was a teenager.
Jan’s birthday day continued. And I faced a double standard. I was in a no-win position.
At dinner Jan said, “Gary what is it with you and birthdays? Remember when we were dating and you told me it was your Mom’s birthday? We brought her a gift. She was surprised not because we got her a gift but her birthday was the next month!”
Since we don’t celebrate our birthdays there are no candles to blow out. Jan just blows the whistle on me.