true story

Our good friends Thor and Penny are a little unorthodox, each of them in a distinct way. Thor has a road kill license because he’s a paleontologist. Rotting animals are his thing. Their house is full of partial and whole skeletons, and their freezer offers up such goodies as dead badger, zebra head (the nearest zoo calls him when something dies) and other, less identifiable bits and pieces. The other thing about Thor is, he lives so much inside his head that you’re never sure if he’s heard you.

Penny is a wonderful, kind, generous person with a passion for education and the complete inability to understand any concept of time. We always tell Penny things are going to start a half hour before they do, and she’s still always wandering in after everybody else, usually with a wonderful story and oh, am I late?

About five years ago Penny decided she wanted to give Thor a suprise birthday party. At our house, which was fine. I shook the details out of her and went ahead with things, and then on his birthday we put together an elaborate scheme to get him to our house at exactly six, no earlier. It really was a good plan, but we forgot to reckon with Thor. ‘Elaborate plan’ and Thor = trouble.

At 5:30 somebody yelled, Thor’s here! And we all went nuts, running around, nowhere near ready. So Thor comes in and everybody yells SURPRISE and he’s so touched and happy and pleased, except:

his birthday isn’t until tomorrow.

I turned to Penny. Penny shrugged. Oh, said Penny. Did I get the date wrong again?

I tell you this story because today is the mathematician’s birthday. It is stories like this one that horrify him. The mathematician would rather stick a fork in his eye than have to show up at a surprise party in his honor. So instead of a party we’re going out to dinner, and I’ll be back here to tell you some other completely irrelevant story tomorrow.

4 Replies to “true story”

  1. My dad was the guest of honor at a surprise party once. When he pulled into the driveway he saw one of the guests release a curtain, so he grabbed a bottle with which he planned on beating the home intruder senseless. Fortunately, they yelled ‘surprise’ before he attacked anybody.

  2. Wow, okay. There was once this old Tales from the Crypt episode where this guy thinks his wife is cheating on him with his friend or brother or somebody. Anyways he is so enraged that he kills her or him, can’t remember. They weren’t having an affair though, they were planning a surprise party for him. He comes into his house all bloody and stuff and everyone yells, “Surprise”….Doh!

  3. We threw a surprise 16th birthday party for a friend of mine in high school. It was her dad’s job to get her to the house at the right time. This meant that she walked in from having fed and exercised her horses, muddy and smelling of horse and looking a bit disheveled, to see The Boy Of Her Dreams in her living room saying “SURPRISE!” at her. She never did fully forgive us all for that.

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