Anything I say will be incriminating, but verbalisation is necessary. So like a band-aid over a wound on a hairy limb has to be ripped off quickly, so the following must be immediately made known to all:
I've been lied to, cheated and manipulated by my wife, and all my friends who have colluded with her are equally culpable of some very high-quality deception. Like a lamb to the slaughter, I have over the past 3 weeks been pushed, prodded and shoved into inviting myself to my own surprise birthday party. The effort to make such elaborate and extravagant plans AND keep the whole thing from me must have been Herculean for everyone, though I must also admit that I have been quite a Magoo the whole time too.
As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years.... (Psalm 90:10)
If I consider myself an individual with the additional quality of "strength" then the occasion marked the half-way point of my life-expectancy, according to biblical best-case-scenario. And it was truly a surprise to see so many well-wishers giving me their support and encouragement in the last few hours as I topped the crest and began my descent over-the-hill. Thank you folks so much!
To mi familia, we've kept it tight, and we've kept it together. My early years have been a source of anxiety and uncertainty for you, but tonight you got to see that despite everything, you can be rest assured that I am in the good, safe hands of people who care about me as much as you ever did.
My in-Laws, you've done a great job in raising your daughter who has so much love to give that I'm discovering every day there's always more where it came from.
Adrian, Lay Lee, Jen, Mary, Malcolm (and darling little Janice), you bridged a gap for me where at one time you were as large as my circle of friends went. You are the professional, working people I've kept in touch with but you are also people of vision and ideals which your busy-work never got in the way of. That's what I've always admired about you.
Tina, artist, muse and teacher and the link to my aesthetic self, sad to say that when the realities of love and marriage hit home, the arts were the first to be sacrificed in favour of bread-and-butter responsibilities. I ran away from the circus and gave up my dreams, but I found a new reality in which I can be just as happy in. See you back in rehearsal sometime!
Joyce, you never knew those many years ago what you wrought when you inadvertently put June and me together. You were the fulcrum of the turning point in my life and I am truly grateful to you for your thoughtfulness.
Colleagues, friends, playmates: The Gutter Boyz (Anthony, Vince, Yee), Gerald with Kim and little Edward, NBS, JY, Mel, Luanne, you make work so unlike work. We bitch, we rib, we gossip, we sweat, we compete, we eat together and we really know how to have unabashed, unadulterated, uninhibited fun. I couldn't ask for better working partners.
Party coordinators: Amy and Weng, June and everyone else recount the stress and effort you took over the event. How much fetching and carrying you did to get the logistics set up just right; the scoldings you received for the security breaches you committed though it's understandable that considering the many things you were juggling small mistakes were bound to occur; and the thought you and Vince, Anthony and Wendy put into the right theme, setting and atmosphere to make the occasion so memorable. Special thanks to all of you.
And to the CEO of Party Central, my wife, June, you have a knack for surprises and every year tops the previous. You know me so well and you know how to put that knowledge to good use. It's not just the effort of the last 3 weeks that brought everyone together but rather it's been my life with you these last 5 years that's why everyone could come together on this day to celebrate. If you haven't been keeping in touch with everyone faithfully as you have been, the guest-list would have been much shorter due to forgetfulness and neglect, which I admit is my most major character flaw. You make up for my shortcomings and I knew from the start I married the right woman. I love you!
I love all your gifts. I have never made such a haul since my first childhood, and you have outdone yourselves in generosity. But rather than itemize the gifts, I will say that the memory of your presence will always be the more precious to me. Gadgets wear out, wearables eventually become unwearable, food and other perishables er... perish, but you were there for me, and that memory is something we will share together in my mind as well as yours. That's what counts.
And special thanks to the Drama Club who postponed the Senior's Farewell BBQ till next week so that tonight's festivities could go on as planned.
Now I have to ask, what have I done to deserve such favour from all of you? And the crickets chirp in the darkness of the empty cinema hall...
Thanks, everyone, for a brilliant 40th swing 'round the sun!
Amy is right. There's no need for me to question what I do or do not deserve. The simple truth is, my friends are nice people and the question takes away so much from their good intentions. I see that now, and I won't bring it up again. Now that's a biblical insight worth gaining.