I Am Older

It was my birthday on Friday. In the afternoon, Peter came by to pick me up to party the rest of the day away. Once again, he had made me an amazing birthday cake, this one in the shape of a pyramid:

I thought it was because Charybis & Scylla’s next unit of history is on ancient Egypt, but Peter said he made it because it was just cool. In any case, it was way too large for a greedy birthday girl like me to eat myself, so we brought it into the office. There I discovered Neil’s birthday present to me: a scale reproduction of the Cologne cathedral:

As he reminded me, I climbed all the way to the top of one of those tours. Personally, it made me feel like strolling down to the Altstadt and getting myself a nice glass of K├Âlsch. Notice, if you will, that the Great Pyramid of Giza is smaller.

Since I’d been gloriously happy with making myself avocado eggrolls thanks to a recipe in Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Restaurant Recipes (all the avocado eggrolls I wanted without having to wait for a table at a restaurant and tip a waitress!), Peter bought me a whole slew of Top Secret Recipes books. Now, among other things, I can make my own girl scout cookies, mocha frappucinos, and Mongolian beef stir-fry. I may never have to go out to a restaurant again! My in-laws (who were absent though the colors of walls spoke to their presence) also gave me an Amazon gift certificate so I could buy any of my heart’s desires.

After the office closed, Peter took me to a surprise location: Malibu Grand Prix. There we met up with Shiaw-Ling and her little brother, and since I’ve professed my love of water activities, we all got into bumper boats and sprayed each other with water. Shiaw-Ling managed to push me under one of the water fountains because a) it was my birthday and b) she brings the evil. And then we played miniature golf, and I was one of the people who won, because we were playing socialist golf where everyone’s a winner no matter how badly they played. Whoo!

And then we tried to cure my cold with a trip to University Chicken. A few years ago, I celebrated a birthday there by taking on the 911 challenge. Needless to say, I failed, but it’s been in my memory ever since. It’s the perfect birthday activity: if you can survive the 911 wings, it’s proof that you deserve to live another year. If you die from them, too bad, you are too weak to live. To my everlasting shame, last time I had run to the bathroom on my third wing after my esophagus and eyeballs caught on fire. This time, though, I was planning to take on the wings at a more leisurely pace. I know I can’t eat them in 10 minutes, but give me 3 days and a lot of whole milk in between and I might be able to do it.

As it turned out, University Chicken had just run out of the dangerous sauce they use for the 911 challenge, so I had to make do with Global Thermonuclear wings (a bit hotter than the Traditional Death I usually opt for.) They were hot, alright, but nothing like the 911 challenge. The Global Thermonuclear wings made my lips burn and angered my stomach, but that was it. In contact, well, let me say medical scientists may assert that human intestines have no pain receptors, but they’ve never eaten a 911 wing from University Chicken. Even my brief failed attempt was enough for me to trace the path of what I’d eaten through my body. In any case, the Global Thermonuclear chicken wings didn’t cure my cold, but I’m sure the 911 wings would take out any virus in their path.

Shiaw-Ling had earlier given me a Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America, but here she also gave me Taiwanese beer in a little Chinese cheongsam, because after all, we’re both Asian, and it’s an Asian thing.

So it was a good birthday: I’m older and still alive–let’s see if I can survive a 911 challenge next year.

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