I had a wonderful birthday this year, filled with good food, yummy art projects, lovely men and happy sunshine.
Around 10 p.m. on the night of my birthday, I sat at my project desk making a gratitude list. I had so many things to be thankful for, I filled page after page.
Suddenly, my phone rang.
The voice on the phone sounded tired but resolute. "Hi. I'm downstairs. I have something to give you, to celebrate your birthday."
I smote my brow. "But you're in graduate school. You're too broke and busy to be doing this!"
"I'm never too broke and busy to celebrate my friends' birthdays."
I shrugged. "Well then, sure, I'll buzz you in."
A few minutes later, my friend dragged into my place and set a bottle of wine on the counter. "You like chardonnay, right?"
"Sure," I said.
He rummaged in my silverware drawer for a corkscrew. "I know it's probably too late for wine, but I wanted to toast you on your birthday."
He uncorked the bottle as I mused silently that I'd never witnessed such murky chardonnay.
"Oh no." My friend held the bottle to his nose and sniffed. "This isn't chardonnay. It's catnip ale."
"Here. Let me smell it." I took a whiff of the pea-green liquid. "Omigod, it's so strong."
He hastily recorked the bottle. "I think it's gone bad. I made it a couple of years ago and stuck it in my wine cellar. I didn't mean to bring it...I was in such a hurry this morning, I grabbed the wrong bottle."
I laughed. "Don't worry, I think I have something milder we can toast my birthday with: I just bought a new bottle of rubbing alcohol."
His lower lip curled into a pout. "It's not funny. I wanted your birthday gift to be perfect."
"It is perfect," I said, and I meant it. "It's a much better story than if you arrived with a nice bottle of wine. I can always buy my own bottle of nice wine, but a good story is priceless."
My friend looked at me gloomily. "I suppose you're going to make this into a blog post."
"Of course not," I said.