Archive for March, 2008

The Old Fart Birthday Card

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

by Liz von Achen

I visit NY quite often, sometimes spending months at a time, sometimes weeks. During my last 3 week stay, I got together in Manhattan with my artist friend Charmaine and her friend Melissa for an afternoon at the Russian Bath House. Afterwards, we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. I had been in a relationship with a younger man who lives in NY, and I invited him to dine with us.

After that meeting, Charmaine mentioned in her honest way, that he was a good looking guy. “And, he seems really nice…” she said. “But, I’m just not sensing that he’s… well, he just doesn’t seem to be… ummm, you know, he’s doesn’t seem to be as INTELLIGENT as you are.”

At which point, I responded, “Y’know, Charmaine, sometimes intelligence is overrated… and unneccessary. I mean, it’s not like I need to discuss quantum physics or Russian literature with this guy.”

She smiled, winked, and said, “OK. I get ya. Have fun, mama!”

A few weeks later, I was back in Florida, talking almost daily with my younger beau. My birthday was coming up, and he asked for a reminder of the actual date. “In three days,” I said, not wanting to make too big a deal of it. The next day, he phoned to say he had sent a gift, and he hoped I received it in time for my birthday. I was excited, wondering what wonderfully romantic and sweet gesture he would be sending my way.

The next day, I received the package (actually a priority mail envelope), which I immediately tore into. Inside, there was a smaller, sealed card envelope, on the outside of which he had hand written the words “Do Not Open Till Your Birthday.” This only heightened my sense of excitement. I phoned him in the early evening to say I received his gift, and agreed to wait until he phoned me at midnight to open it.

‘It must be something really special,’ I imagined. ‘If he wants me to wait and open it with him on the phone.’

He phoned around midnight, and I finally ripped open the sealed envelope. Inside, was a card. One of those over-priced, commercial 8-page booklet kind of cards. “Read it to me!” he gushed. ‘OK,’ I thought. ‘I’ll be a good sport.’ I grew more and more horrified as I continued to read this card outloud. Eight pages of tacky Dr. Seuss-like rhymes — ALL ABOUT FARTS!!!

“Some farts are quiet, some farts are loud. Some farts appear in a poisonous cloud…”

‘IS THIS GUY KIDDING ME?’ I wondered. ‘OK, KEEP READING, LIZ… I’M SURE IT GETS BETTER. I’M SURE THERE IS SOME UNBELIEVABLY FUNNY SURPRISE ENDING TO THIS CARD THAT WILL LIFT YOUR SPIRITS, MAKE YOU LAUGH AND MAKE YOU FEEL YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL.’

It never got better. The rhyme finally ended with; “But not all farts are bad, no, that’s simply not true! We mustn’t forget sweet old farts like you!”

‘THAT’S IT? THAT’S MY BIG BIRTHDAY SURPRISE? MY YOUNGER BOY FRIEND CALLING ME A SWEET OLD FART?’

I was so at a loss for words at first. There was only dead silence on my end. Finally, I mustered up the ability to say, “I cannot believe you went to so much effort, and made such a big deal about SENDING ME A FART CARD!”

“Awwww, come on, baby,” he said. “It was just a joke!”

I was so disappointed, tears had begun rolling down my cheeks. “I, I, I … gotta go.” I stammered. “I just have to go now.” I hung up the phone and promptly went into my bedroom to cry. I must have been delusional in thinking I was cool and sexy enough for a younger boyfriend. I must really be an “old fart.” He must really think I’m an “old fart.”

In the meantime, my phone had been ringing off the hook. Obviously, he wanted to smooth things-out. I thought about our actual age difference, and reached the conclusion that he wasn’t actually THAT much younger. I mean, he’s only 5 years younger! He is certainly not bona fide “boy toy” young. He’s over 40, and he should have known better! Honestly, did this guy just fall off the Boces bus?!!!

I finally answered his call, and explained that a guy should NEVER send his girlfriend an old fart card! Especially if his girlfriend IS old enough to actually be an OLD FART! It’s okay to send an old fart card to your buddy, or your brother, BUT NOT YOUR GIRLFRIEND!

The following morning, I received one of those internet e-cards. It was a cute card in Flash, where if you click on the wall, a banner appears. Click on the table, a birthday cake appears. ‘OK,’ I thought. ‘A bit cheesy, but a nice save. I think he’s redeemed himself.’ I was ready to forgive. Then, I read the custom message he had added to the bottom of the card.

‘OK, now he’s getting mushy,’ I thought. But, at the same time, I told myself not to be too critical. I mean, what the hell do I want? At first, he’s Mr. Insensitive, now he’s Mr. Mushy… will I EVER be satisfied? When I read the last line of his mushy message, I just had to burst out laughing. Hysterically.

“Liz, you’re a special lady. Like a fine aged wine …”

Thank God! I’m not an old fart. I’m a fine aged wine!

Now, I am CERTAIN he must have taken that “little” bus to school!

© 2009 Liz von achen All rights reserved.

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