Revenge Will Be Mine

It was my birthday last Friday. Frankly, I was just pleased to be upright, able to control my sphinctre, relatively pain-free and out of the house. (What more could one ask for at any age, really?)

Birthdays never freak me out. But thirty-eight is the first year that actually sounds older, to me. It's definitely closing in on four-ow, there's no more being carded or called "girl", lots more being called "ma'am" and "lady" and questions like, "Can I help you to your car?". It just feels older. Older and fatter. Maybe it's just all those roundy bits on the numbers.

The Varmint (a.k.a. My Fabulous Husband or Clown-boy, depending on circumstance) planned a birthday brunch for Sunday with the Crew Familial. But Friday being my birth date and all, we opted for a more romantic celebration at The Prado - an atmospheric classic for San Diego, nestled firmly in the bosom of Balboa Park.

Dusty and Jenny rallied at the last minute and joined us. Between gleeful chompings (this was really an extravagance for us all, as we're notorious taco shop types), Jenny was getting me all worked up for my birthday gift: Dangling the shiny bag in front of me and telling me I had to wait til after dinner. The Varmint would join in with his surprisingly well-wrapped gift to the point where, despite my best effort toward false modesty, I was beginning to feel enormous anticipation.

At the conclusion of the entree, a free dessert arrives (best of all - no #@%*! birthday song) and we all dive into it like hyenas into a baby gazelle. People try not to stare. We finish.

Finally, it's birthday present time! I crack into The Varmint's gift and am well-pleased with a set of bejeweled hairsticks I'd requested months ago. He remembered! Awww. Jenny, smiling and excited, hands me my gift in its shiny little wrapper. Dusty is giggling. Excited, I pull apart the carefully-wrapped tissue and find - - a tiny, cheap little tin frame with a picture of Jenny inside. Not just any picture of Jenny, but Jenny in matronly librarian mode, all stern and responsible-looking.

I look over at them a little confused, and Jenny and Dusty are clutching their sides and hooting. In between snorts, Jenny says, "It's ... *snort*... my school ... *snort-honk* ... picture!" before devolving into a hiccupping, har-har-ing mess.

In addition to being one of my closest friends for more than 23 years, Jenny is a library media teacher for the San Diego City Schools. She is also a master practical joker, having been trained from birth by her father, Jim. Sometimes the set-ups are elaborate, but she's equally versed at the improvisational joke, the Shaggy Dog Story, the perfectly-timed pull of your Most Embarrassing Moment. I laugh, in spite of myself. She's good. She's worked me over dozens of times - so why didn't I see this one coming? I'll never know.

But boy, she really nailed me this time. And I can't help but laugh. She got me good. 

She really, really did.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >