John Greenleaf Whittier 9 p.m., Nov. 22
- Community Blog
- Daily Crasher
Crashing with Christians in New York
A few blogs back, I talked about my Christian friends in New York.
Well, when I attended the surprise 50th birthday party for my friend, a few people asked me if I was going to write about it in the Crasher column. I told them that I stick with local parties to write about, with an occasional trip up to LA reported on.
But as I sat here thinking of a blog topic, I figured why not write about that party. I didn't take notes or anything, but I remember most of it. Although, I did have about eight glasses of wine, so some of the things were fuzzy.
My friends daughter threw the surprise party for her parents. They didn't know I was flying out for it, and people kept telling me I should stand by the door when they walked in. I felt that would be silly, like I was the gift; or that the party was about me. Although, if the cake would've been bigger, I wouldn't have been opposed to jumping out of it. Why should it just be the sexy women that have the market on that?
Valerie had gotten one of the banquet rooms at the Marriot, and it seemed like it would be easy enough to get her parents to show up. Her and her new husband said it was for dinner to celebrate their birthdays.
The day before, Joe got a fever. He left work early, something he never does. He called Val and said he was cancelling on the dinner, but that Debi would still make it. In a panic, she asked me what to do. I told her to just tell her dad that it was a small gathering for a surprise party for Debi. He'd rally, even being sick, and would still be surprised by the amount of people that showed up.
She said, "I'm thinking of just saying my husband and I have an announcement we want to make." I laughed and said, "Well...he's going to think you're pregnant."
When she talked with her dad, she forgot what she would say and went with the "announcement".
Val got to the room hours early, to set things up. She had burned CDs of 50s songs, to fit the 50s theme of the party (since the couple was born in 1959). I told her to put the Police song "Born in the 50s" into the mix.
45 records were put all over the walls, and she had an inflatable Wurlitzer Jukebox, balloons, and a few other things. There was some space left on the walls, so I made a few 50s posters.
We picked up eight bags of ice to fill the coolers.
As we poured it in, some of the ice stuck together. I was using scissors as an ice pick and said "Hey Val...your family is all Italian. Well, me using these scissors as an ice pick is the first time I've ever felt like one of your people."
As she was laughing, I wasn't paying attention. The scissors punctured a can of beer, which started spraying all over me. Talk about PC karma!
Valerie had tried to borrow a video camera, and when nobody came thru, I volunteered to use my little Flip camera. My initial plan was to have people stand by the life-size Elvis cut-out (it was the young Elvis, which makes me wonder how many of the life-size old Elvis' are sold). I was going to ask them to do an impression, and tell me their favorite thing about Debi & Jo and Elvis. But I found that most of the crowd was sitting down. I didn't want to make older folks get up, stand by Elvis, and feel awkward by the whole thing. Instead, I just asked them their favorite thing about the 50s, and favorite thing about the couple.
When I passed Debi, I told her I saw in the paper the day before, that the Barbi Doll just turned 50. She said, "Yeah, I heard that." And, in one of my jokes that sounded funny in my head, but not so much when it left my lips, I blurted out, "You and Barbi are the same age, but she looks a helluva lot better than you."
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a few jaws drop. But Debi smiled and quickly responded with "She's had all that 'plastic' surgery."
Cool. We were both saved!
I started talking to a guy in his 80s. His name was Manuel, and he was wearing a nice suit. He's a classically trained pianist, and we talked about piano players we liked. I told him how I bought a thousand Henry Mancini stamps when they came out. But the post office kept raising the rates and now to use these, I have to put three different stamps on with it for the adjusted rates.
When we moved on to talking about comedians, I thought he was just going to talk about people like Henny Youngman, Phil Silvers, and Bob Hope. He said, "I never thought Bob Hope was even funny!" I told him I agreed, although I thought it was cool that he did so much for the soldiers. He said I reminded him of one of those Saturday Night Live guys from the 70s. He said, "I can't remember which one, though. I always get them mixed up. I don't know which one is Akyroyd, Chevy Chase, or Bill Murray. The only one I could point out was John Candy." I was hoping that wasn't the person I reminded him of.
As we're talking, Val came over and said "Josh, can you help me with something?" I excused myself and she said "I don't really need your help. I just thought he may have been boring you, and didn't want you to feel trapped there." I laughed and said, "Hey, that's cool of you to be thinking of me. But you're in your early 20s. A guy like that probably bores you. I love his stories." She smiled and said, "Okay. Sorry about that."
Since Joe is Italian, I bought him a few DVDS, making sure one was the Godfather. On the wrapping paper, I put a horse head magnet. On the DVDs I got his wife, I put a cat magnet. Although, as much as I hate cats, I would've loved to have put a cats head!
I was talking to one of Joe's sisters, who told me she was going to wear a scarf and tie it on the side, the way it was done in the 50s. I then looked around, and noticed that only Val with her poodle skirt and black and white saddle shoes, and me with a letterman sweater, were the only ones dressed in the theme. Val said, "On the invitation, I didn't want to say it was required. I just put 50s attire was welcome."
As the party was wrapping up, a few of the coolers were taken outside and the ice was dumped on the lawn. A woman walked by and started asking what was going on, and one of the guys at the party (who was a bit drunk), invited her to have a beer. She came in, put a can in each pocket, and walked back outside for a cigarette.
Now that's the way to crash a party.