I Warned You Not to Touch That

Tag: birthday

Birthday Smithsonian

by on Nov.07, 2009, under Essays

A party invitation arrived the other day.  Beth, a friend of my daughter’s, wanted others to help her celebrate sixteen years on the planet.  I thought the Build-A-Bear workshop was an unusual choice, given I’d expect to find kids that age working there.  Still, it seemed more wholesome than the popular Build-A-Methlab workshops. 

There’s a show called My Super Sweet Sixteen.  Besides deciding on a guest list of a few hundred, the big stress-maker is the entertainment.  A girl in Los Angeles brought in Cirque de Soleil.  I almost choked on my chicken.  Perhaps kids in Washington take Air Force One up for a spin.  It seemed excessive until a kid in New York countered with Usher.  The tension built as little Richie Rich circled the block in his Rolls trying to time his arrival perfectly.  My heart went out to him.  Riding around in the back of his father’s car, all alone except for the chauffer and MTV camera crew. 

Manhattan has a surprising number of Rolls Royces.  When I was in school there, my classmate Calvin offered me a ride from W116th Street to W110th Street.  Six blocks isn’t far but our project to take over the world’s economy was due and needed some tweaking.  Calvin had a Rolls too.  I’m sure the cabbies all have them by now.  When we got to his car, a beat up Chevy was double-parked and blocking him in.  After settling inside, he started the engine.  It was as quiet as a spinster’s voicemail.  The dashboard clock was the only disturbance.  Lambskin floor mats caressed my shoes.  Connolly leather hides adorned the sumptuous seating.  I thought, as I searched for the Grey Poupon, this is refinement. 

I was getting ready to lower my window to see if someone would take my picture when it happened.  Calvin cut the wheels hard.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  I finally get a ride in a Rolls Royce and he’s going to use it to ram a $500 Chevy.  As I braced myself for impact, I worried about the sixteen coats of hand-sprayed lacquer.  Add a few more if you count the Chevy.  Then, instead of putting the car in forward, he hit reverse.  Yes, reverse.  Slowly, the stately carriage began backing up over the curb.  The right front wheel followed by the left.  As he went forward the back wheels climbed up.  We were like some icebound liner freed in the spring thaw.  I was riding down the sidewalk on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in Calvin’s Rolls.  Even I didn’t believe it.  I suggested we detour from W110th Street to try mudbogging in Central Park.  Calvin declined.  We never conquered the world’s economy.  I think Richie Rich’s father did.  After throwing a bash that had to run well into the six figures, his son got a new BMW.  The kid didn’t even know how to drive.  Perhaps Calvin could teach him.

Richie Rich bypassed the Build-A-Bear workshop.  Maybe his dad said it would be too much.  I remember them being on the pricey side.  Apparently, nothing was too good for Build-A-Bear Beth.  I noted the location, time and the last line.  “Bring money to eat (and if you want to build a bear).”  I was stunned.  Bring money to eat.  These people had so much money, they assumed my daughter’s friends used it as food.  I thought dollars would be easier to digest than quarters.  Still, paper money would cost more to eat. 

This party is going to top all parties and, best of all, cost my daughter a fortune to attend.  That’s assuming she digests the money without surgery.  Beth and her family are onto something.  Have a party where the guests pay for everything.  I looked forward to my daughter’s Sweet Sixteen celebration.  My only question was would her friends pay more than twenty dollars for a cover charge?

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