Sunday, May 21, 2017

Weirdest Birthday Party Ever

It was my birthday last week ("oh em gee eli no way you look so young you never age!" stop it you guys).

I was informed by friends that they would be giving me a birthday party at Matt's house on Saturday. I was excited about this, assuming that there would be balloons and cake and several clowns. You know. Normal adult birthday party stuff.

I knew something was strange when Skylar picked me up and started driving me to Matt's house because he seemed very pressed for time. And Skylar is never concerned about the time. Not even when he needs to fly somewhere and he's like "can you take me to the airport?" and I'm like, "sure, when does your flight leave?" and he's like "20 minutes ago" and I'm like "WHY DIDN'T YOU LEAVE FOR THE AIRPORT 2 HOURS AGO?!" and he's like "I'm sure I'll make it" and then he tries to get me to take the scenic route to get there.

My suspicions that something strange was happening were confirmed when we arrived at Matt's house.

The curtains were all pulled shut. The house was dark. We walked in and I saw these things:









A funeral.

Some people were still arriving when I got there, so I watched as a tearful room of people dressed in black greeted one another, completely ignoring me.

So, I know that I'm not actually dead. But I swear to you there were at least five separate moments where I wondered if I was a ghost.

Attending one's own funeral is disturbing, even when you're pretty sure it's fake.

There was a printed program and everything.


I'm told this was penned by Meg.


John Michael was dressed in priestly attire, and he conducted the services. The other Catholics in the room occasionally uttered "amens" after various singing in Latin graced our ears.

Jolyn read the Eulogy, which we discovered pretty quickly was actually just Princess Diana's Eulogy, but with changed pronouns. Because Jolyn is super lazy.

Skylar read some written memories provided by various audience members. The most important of these was from Meg: "I am forever indebted to Eli for allowing me to meet his grandmother, GMac, and sharing with him the experience of watching her try and tell siri to open Netflix."

And then, in an effort to eliminate any sense of self worth I might have, Skylar and Matt presented a short slideshow of pictures of me as a teenager, all of which were provided by my apparently-vindictive mother.

I should want this to never see the light of day. But I need to preserve it somewhere. So I uploaded it to Youtube.

There's a lot to unpack here and it's best not dwell on any one photo for too long.


Once that was over, Jolyn and Matt performed "Danny Boy." But for reasons that still aren't clear to me, the rest of the room joined in on this. And it may be the worst musical performance since whatever Mariah Carey last did.


That went on for about 12 minutes.

TWELVE.

I want to note, too, that Skylar invited multiple coworkers to this thing, coworkers who had never met any of my friends or seen me outside of a work setting before. People trickled in and out throughout the evening, most of them with the same look on their faces, one which cannot be described using English words.

Eventually the program ended, the curtains were opened, people stopped ignoring me, and we had a normal party. Well, as normal of a party as one can have in a funeral home.

Sometime during that party Matt gave me a little painting he had commissioned for me.



And Jolyn gave me something she made herself--one of the most special things I've ever received.

(By the way, Jolyn has started making these for people as a little side business to help pay for grad school this fall. So if you want her blood, sweat, and tears to go into something representing your family, shoot us a note and she can probably make that happen.)
Skylar was the mastermind behind the whole party. It was apparently very difficult for him to keep this all a secret over the last several weeks. Also, when he called his family members to tell them about the big idea, both his mother and his sister uttered a bored variation of "been there, done that." So that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Skylar's family.

The people in my life are strange. Beautiful, thoughtful, certainly lovable, but best of all just really strange. And year after year, they just get stranger.

I've heard variations of the idea that the people that surround you are a reflection of yourself in some way. I desperately hope that's true for me, but I fear that it isn't. Because from where I sit, the people in my life, the ones at that party and so many others, are all what I aspire to be. I don't know why they are so good to me. I feel like I won the lottery when it came to family and friends.

I hope that all doesn't sound too braggy. It's just that not bragging a little would feel ungrateful. And that would be wrong. Because today I feel really really grateful.

~It Just Gets Stranger

28 comments:

  1. You have some very dark friends, they're the best kind to have.

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  2. Wow. Just wow.

    Matt and Meg give really stellar birthday presents.

    Skylar has impressive planning, decoration, and execution skills. A+ on everything.

    I almost felt a little creepy about recognizing pictures from the slide show, like I had to remind myself that I don't actually know you. But I am grateful for the glimpses you share with your Strangers. You as a baby were so cute!! The baseball picture of you with your eyes closed made me laugh out loud.

    That printed program is amazing.

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    1. They are the best. The crosstitch was from Jolyn--not Meg. Meg didn't give me anything and this was noted.

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    2. Meg recapped Survivor for two weeks while you gallivanted around the world without her - I think that's present enough.

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    3. Oh yes. Cross stitch from Jolyn.

      Meg's gift to you was the amazing obituary! Obvs.

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  3. I mailed some sashimi. Did you not get it? Weird.

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    1. Mmmm mail sashimi, who could resist?

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    2. No, I got it. And we are now both under investigation by the FBI.

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    3. How have you not been on the FBI's radar before now?

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  4. So I'm totally teary eyed now. Wind Beneath My Wings always does that for me. And then about the friends . . . . geez - it was already a rough start to the week and now I'm crying . . . .THANKS A LOT!

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    Replies
    1. I cried in public yesterday due to something completely unrelated. Then I got home and made the mistake of watching that video and cried again...over someone who I have never met...WHO ISN'T ACTUALLY DEAD. I blame the song.

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  5. I just need to understand why you look so good in floral bell bottoms. I'm convinced now you were born 20 years too late.

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    1. RIGHT?! For years I have tried to convince my family and friends that I could totally get away with wearing those pants because they are so amazing that they transcend time! But they usually respond with mockery.

      Cathie made those pants for me when I was 17 and I have worn them for every Halloween since.

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    2. You still fit into pants you wore when you were 17? You're dead to me.

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  6. You have amazing friends. I love that coworkers came (WORLDS COLLIDE- Seinfeld)!

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  7. The slideshow legitimately almost made me cry, and I had to keep reminding myself you're not actually dead!

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  8. You have the coolest friends ever!

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  9. This funeral and these friends are the greatest, funniest thing that have ever happened to you, and possibly anyone. Except for your hair, of course.

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  10. I've done too many real funerals, lost too many people I love to find humor in this.
    But the time spent and thoughtful gifts were sweet. Happy late Birthday Eli. You're one of my favorites. :)

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    1. I'm with you on this one. 10 years ago I would have found it hilarious if someone did that for me, now I probably would just walk out. Got another funeral coming up on Wednesday. I've already told my family that when I die I don't want a viewing because I find them creepy and people would probably only come to stick pins in me to make sure I really was dead.

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  11. On the one hand, I'm kind of embarrassed I did this. On the other hand, you know who you are dealing with when you posts these things. So...

    "assisting clients with litigation matters and preventative advice in the area of child abuse and sexual misconduct."

    I imagine that going something like this, completely in your journal reading voice: Planning to abuse children and/or do some sexual misconduct? Don't do it. That's my advice. That'll be two hundred dollars, please.

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  12. Jolyn that cross stitch is darling. I have the following quotes cross stiched by a friend of mine "Everything happens for a reason, Sometimes that reason is you're stupid and make bad choices." and "When someone says 'I don't read' the flirting is over".

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  13. Do you often take bubble baths?

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  14. You sure do sleep a lot! So many of your pictures have you sleeping ��

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  15. This is ridiculous and hilarious. Also, I love the cross stitch. How long would it take for her to make one? And what are the prices? This may not be possible, but if one can be done by this Friday, I need to order one! (or if not, sometime soon). Let me know.

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    Replies
    1. Shoot me an email and I'll let Jolyn answer your questions directly.

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  16. This is ridiculously awesome. Happy birthday.

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  17. That is a fantastic birthday party idea. I can only imagine what they'll have in store for you when you turn 40!

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