Whose Party Is This Anyway?

I didn’t know until the announcement of his death on January 10, that David Bowie (RIP) shared the same birthday as Elvis and me; January 8th.

Yes, that’s my way of saying that I just had a birthday (in case you didn’t read my last post on January 8, my birthday).

On January 9, the day after my birthday, we visited Shawnee, Oklahoma, the home of the Grand-Girls. Karlee the oldest was serving as a “ballgirl” at the OBU Lady Bison basketball game. Turns out, it was sort of an honorary title, but she performed wonderfully.

We met at the OBU fieldhouse and Harper, the middle Grand-Girl, came running to me and said, “Happy Birthday yesterday Pops! Why didn’t I get to come to your birthday party?!”

Not wanting her to feel bad for missing it, “It wasn’t much of a party,” I explained. She wanted to know “why not?” “It was just me, Mimi and some friends. We went out to eat at a restaurant, and that was all.”

“You didn’t have inflatables?” she asked with obvious shock and a bit of pity.

You need to know that Harper has a “good friend” named Lilly, and Lilly’s dad owns an inflatables company, not balloons, but big bouncy houses, climbing walls, etc. So it is not unusual, or unduly priviliged of Harper to assume that every birthday party will have inflatables.

 karlee at her Fifth Birthday. When It's your birthday and you have inflatables you don't care if it's a giant football.

karlee at her Fifth Birthday. When It's your birthday and you have inflatables you don't care if it's a giant football.

But there’s a bigger, deeper issue here than inflatables. It took a four year-old to help me see it. When I tried to explain, unconvincingly, that I’m too old for inflatables, she taught me this lesson: “Well, maybe your friends would have liked them.”

I suppose I had learned the narcissistic view of parties listening to my cousin Beth Ann’s 45 RPM record of Leslie Gore singing, “It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To”.

Maybe if Leslie had had inflatables at her party, Johnny wouldn’t have left with Judy. And even if he did, and they came back later with Judy wearing his ring and struttin’ like a queen with her king, maybe Leslie would have been having so much fun because her other friends were having fun that she wouldn’t even have noticed them, and maybe she would have realized that maybe Johnny’s a loser and Judy’s a slut. Maybe she would have learned Harper’s lesson that sometimes the party may be our birthday, but it’s not just for us, but for the friends who want to celebrate with us too.

So if you like a good party — SAVE THE DATE — JANUARY 8, 2017. Harper will be planning the party and there’s a good chance there will be inflatables, and cupcakes, orange sherbet and Cheetos, and an equally strong chance it will have a “Frozen” theme.

Check out this groovy video of Leslie. If ever there was a party that could have used inflatables… (No wonder adults in the 60s were convinced the wheels were coming off.)