Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dessert Under False Pretenses, Or, the Harbingers of Humiliation

We have a little tradition at work amongst several women in different labs. We celebrate birthdays by going out to lunch and treating the birthday girl, who gets to pick the restaurant (we have an amazing number and variety of restaurants within a mile or so of the office, yet another perk to this great job). We've been doing it for years. It used to involve a backpack of birthday stuff that the birthday girl got to keep in her cubicle to play with until the next birthday, at which point she added a new toy to the backpack and passed it on (yup, you know that whole thing was my idea). One year I was given spray-on tattoos--super fun. I was always happy to wear the birthday girl sash and tiara, although some limited themselves to the hot pink feather boa for the duration of the lunch and that was it. Eventually the number of toys in the backpack became too numerous and the backpack became too heavy (and we were getting older, too, and lazy), so that part of the ritual was discarded but the eat, drink, and be merry portion remains.

My birthday was a while ago, but between vacations, field projects, and other things, my lunch was put on hold indefinitely. Until today, when it became definite. Naturally, I chose Mexican. Naturally, someone wished me a  happy birthday as we were seated. Naturally, Jesus the waiter heard that, so naturally, a dessert and singing waiters appeared half an hour later. Dios mio!  It was an unspoken rule we never told anyone it was a birthday celebration so as not to embarrass the birthday girl with this kind of kind exhibition. Dessert was tapioca pudding (which I like) with chunks of pineapple and whipped cream. I was nice and shared it with those Harbingers of Humiliation even if they didn't deserve it.

But I feel guilty, having been given an undeserved dessert, when my birthday was weeks ago. Sneaking sweets under false pretenses.

Jesus said "Happy 21st birthday!" I said, "Oh, er, thank you, yes, er, 21 in dog years."


  1. I hope Jesus got a big, fat tip after his oh-so-lovely "Happy 21st birthday!"

  2. Generally we tip very well, but there were 7 of us, so the tip was already in the bill. I have no idea if Jesus tipped himself well.

    And come to think of it, this was the second time these women did that to me there, because I remember getting the tapioca dessert and singing routine once before, too. I think they must like laughing at my expense. Guess who's going to say, very loudly, "Happy Birthday!" at the next birthday lunch?