For the first seven or eight years I knew my friend Brian, he kept telling me the word sopapilla meant “soup thief” in Spanish. Since my entire south-of-the-border language exposure took place at numerous Taco Bell drive-throughs in the Denver metro area, I accepted his explanation without question. Whenever the words “soup” or “thief” came up in casual conversation I would proudly explain to everyone in the immediate vicinity how deep-fried dough can soak up, or steal away if you will, warm seasoned broth when used in a traditional dipping motion. (This often occurred while viewing the movie “Best In Show” when the character Sherri Ann Cabot described the relationship with her new fiancée who was roughly forty years her elder. “We both have so much in common, we both love soup and we love the outdoors, we love snow peas and talking and not talking.”)
So everything in my life is going fine– I have an interesting tidbit of information that makes me come across as funny and wise in the ways of the world. Unfortunately, it turns out Brian was wrong all along. The word sopapilla actually means “fried dough sweetened with honey.” My point here is that you can’t always trust what you hear, even if it comes from your best friend. Having said that, I spent last weekend celebrating my thirtieth birthday. I shit you not.
Of course turning thirty is only significant if you have ten fingers. If Kristin, my nine-fingered girlfriend, was put in charge of creating a numbering system it could very well be based on nine. If that were the case, twenty-seven and thirty-six would be important age milestones. I’m not sure the world is ready to abandon the decimal system in favor of the more obscure nano-mal concept. Similarly, if Mickey Mouse or the society displayed on “The Simpsons” were to set things up, we might base everything on the number eight. Since the numbers are really the only thing everyone on the planet can agree on, the odds of this changing by the time I finish writing this are quite small. Hence, my turning thirty is an important sociological milestone in my life. I’m not as young as I used to be, and not as old as I will be. That, and my age ends in a zero for a while.
I started the celebration a week before my actual birthday by going to see the musical “Hairspray” with my mom and Kristin. I was excited to see Ricky Lake play the lead role—especially after seeing her amazing performance as the front of the Filthy Whore ship in the movie “Cabin Boy.” It turned out that the story’s lead character, Tracy Turnblad, was instead played quite well by Carly Jibson. Despite this slight confusion on my part, I found the entire production to be quite enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys dancing, singing, and jungle love subplots. Keep in mind, however, that I’m part of a small but dedicated group of people who thinks “Cabin Boy” got shafted by the Academy Awards.
The next Saturday, which was my actual birthday, I went to the Comedy Works with a bunch of friends to watch Carlos Mencia. One of the highlights of the show involved Carlos letting two drunken women heckle him. He did a suspiciously amazing job at putting them in their place, which made us all wonder if it wasn’t a setup to make him look good. Another, well, I would call it more of a bizarre occurrence than a highlight, was when I received money at the end of the show. The man sitting directly behind me spent a large percentage of the evening yelling out random comments while at the same time inadvertently depositing tiny droplets of spittle on the back of my bald head. While he didn’t feel the need to actually shut up during the performance, he did feel bad enough at the end to hand me a twenty dollar bill.
To wrap up my birthday celebration, Kristin decided to throw a surprise party for me the following weekend at Old Chicago. She did a great job of coordinating the evening without me getting wind of her plans. Unfortunately, one of our friends called her the night before as Kristin and I were sitting on her couch in the living room. The reason they called was to say they wouldn’t be attending my party. Not that I was eavesdropping, but its kind of hard to be sitting two inches away from someone talking on the phone with the television muted and not listen in to the conversation. Even though the surprise element of the night was compromised I had a great time with my friends eating pizza and soaking up the general atmosphere of downtown Denver.
While I am not exactly sure how it could be measured, I think I celebrated this birthday more than all my birthdays in my twenties. Since I’m not very good a consuming alcohol, I celebrated my twenty-first birthday by going out for ice cream. When I was twenty-four I spent April 3rd checking out Antwerp, Belgium. So while I may say a lot of things that, after careful examination, aren’t exactly factually correct (like when I swore up and down to Kristin there was a “Godfather 4” movie that just happened to never be at Blockbuster), I’ll never again say I’m in my twenties.