You are a passionate and enthusiastic person … you go after what you want in life. At times indulgent, you are also responsible and sensible. You work hard and play hard … You have a strong artistic side to you. — If You Were Born December 30
…Joyfully finding your true purpose
Letting go of stress and strife
Then discovering what bountiful surplus
Drinking deeply from the cup of life! — “Cycles” by Todd Michael Willis
Saturday, December 30th, 2017
The day began, reluctantly. I wasn’t feeling that well, having suffered from a recent bout of insomnia. I needed coffee and I needed it fast. I drank the first cup in a matter of minutes, feeling the life seep back into my body. I was going to be 54 this morning, at exactly 9:41 AM. A second cup of coffee was made and I reviewed the plans that I had for the day, with included a trip to The Mint Karaoke Lounge celebrating my birthday with friends.
After a nice, sit-down breakfast at First Street Cafe, I headed over to Supercuts at the Southampton Shopping Center. I was delighted to see Carol there; she had cut my hair a few years back and did a splendid job. I showed her a picture of what I was looking for, and in thirty minutes, I had a new hair style! Not bad, Carol, not bad. I drove home to feed Snowball, feeling the positive energy around me. Everything was going my way. Everything. I then treated myself to a hot bath. Feeling better, I selected a snazzy outfit, got dressed, packed up my friend’s gift, and headed out the door.
I arrived around 3:00 PM — about an hour earlier than I usually arrive. The outside of The Mint was being repainted, and inside there were only a handful of people, including the bartender (Dustin), the DJ (Jason), and the bouncer (Edward). There was also a patron whom I had never met. His name was Glen, and he said that he was from the Philippines. We introduced ourselves and then took turns singing on the stage. I ordered bourbon, neat, which was provided free of charge. Between songs, I asked Dustin if I could reserve a few tables on the other side of the bar. To my surprise, they were free. I then invited Glen to come over to the other side and join the party.
Around 4:00 PM my friend Monica walked through the door. I gave her a big hug and motioned over to the set of tables reserved for us. I then introduced her to Glen. Before she sat down, she handed me a bag of presents. The first item was a book entitled “To Disco with Love” by David Hamsley. I shrieked with delight, bourbon already coursing through my system. She and I had been roommates twenty years ago, and both of us made a regular habit of listening to disco music while talking about anything and everything under the sun. You know me well, Monica. There was a smaller box next to it. I searched her expression for any clues as to what might be contained in this little box. Finding none, I opened it to find a small, conical item, whose purpose was revealed in short order. More shrieks of delight, hugs, smiles. I then handed her the gift I had chosen — a choker with a Scorpio pendant. More hugs. More smiles. This birthday is getting better by the minute.
A little later, my friends Miriam and Hargin arrived. Miriam, whom I had known from The Mint since 1999, elected to stay at the bar, while Hargin, who had no idea I turned 54 that day, graciously accepted a seat at the reserved table. Miriam had gifts for me, too. We talked for a while, and then I headed back to the Party Table.
Emboldened by the bourbon and ever-bubbling joie de vivre, I got up on stage and sang “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” by the Electric Prunes. I made DIRECT eye contact with a few people in the audience, delivering that song with an intensity I had never unleashed before. I milked it for every cent there was. I was ALIVE and VITAL. I was starting to get noticed, too. By members of both sexes. During the song, I walked over to where Glen was seated, and sang DIRECTLY to him. I was feelin’ it!
The night was still young.
I got up to sing another song when Frank H, the evening DJ I had known for as long as I had been coming here, surprised me by playing “Happy Birthday To You”, with the patrons joining in. I couldn’t help but smile with pure delight. It was a little overwhelming. I then continued with my song “Oh, Look At Me Now!”, again going out among the people to sing to them directly. When I got back to the table, I gave Glen an unexpected massage, who softly groaned with pleasure.
I just met the man a few hours ago and now I’m gettin’ physical with him? Dear God!
But wait, it gets better!
Just then, a very sexy Latino man invited me, the “birthday boy”, to dance with him. Me? I haven’t danced in decades! But Monica, giving me a very stern look, INSISTED that I get up and dance with him. So I did! Then the Latino’s friend, a handsome man of Teutonic extraction, joined in. Then Monica. Then a whole bunch of people I didn’t know. In short order, we had ourselves a bona fide dance party! Where did all of these handsome men come from? But they had come!
If my hair had been on fire, I would have doused it and carried on.
In between my songs, and impromptu dance parties, Monica sang a few songs of her own, fortified by a few margaritas. We sang a song together that was much too high for me, and of course, I made a mess of it. No one seemed to care; they were singing along! Just then Glen had to leave. Monica wanted me to get this phone number, but I wasn’t ready for that yet. I hoped I would see him again.
Later than evening, I got up on stage again, to sing “New York, New York”, a little exhausted from all the activity. In the middle of singing that exuberant song I did something I never did during the 18 years I’ve been coming to The Mint: I dropped the microphone! Mortified, I bent down to pick it up and fell, sideways, onto the hard, wooden stage. Monica looked at me an mouthed the words WHAT THE FUCK? I wanted to disappear at that moment. But I decided that a little fall wasn’t going to bring me down. With a hearty laugh, background music still blaring, scooping up the microphone with my left hand, I picked myself up off of the floor (with some difficulty) and continued with the song like nothing happened, taking my my bow at the end. Hey, the show must go on!
My final song, “All The Way”, while not perfectly delivered, elicited thunderous applause as I held the final note with growing intensity (and diminishing breath). It was a fitting end to the best birthday party I’ve ever known.