I got stuck as my family's representative at my cousin Special Eddie's 50th birthday party this evening.
We call him Special Eddie because the poor guy is profoundly retarded, with a very small head. Because of his tiny skull, he really wasn't expected to live past 11 or so, but now he's 50. I'm very happy he defied the doctors' predictions.
He's a sweet, happy guy but he drools, which has always been off-putting to me. Call me persnickety, but I hate anyone drooling on me.
I haven't seen him in 30 years or more, so I'm hoping he's gotten a handle on the drooling thing. But just to be safe, I'm avoiding wearing suede shoes tonight.
I had to go shopping for his birthday present, and I'm not at all sure what to get a guy with an IQ around 50. I didn't want to insult him with a coloring book or a Tonka truck, but I'm pretty sure a Barnes & Nobel's gift card or a bottle of champagne wouldn't cut it, so I bought him a Texas T-shirt & baseball cap and a bunch of Easter candy.
He lives in a Kansas group home, so I think the shirt and cap will be okay when he flies back to Kansas. I checked and the baseball cap is adjustable.
I hope I don't catch Hell for calling him Special Eddie or talking about the drool, but before any commenters decide to harpoon me for my irreverence, just remember I'm going to the damn party, with a bag of gifts I think he may like.
Besides, I never claimed to be a social worker or a QMRP. Get over it.
I do hope there's plenty of liquor at this party. I'm not a party bear as it is, but this one's gonna be a real test of my social skills.
Well, shut my mouth, I had a very nice time.
Eddie, it turns out, is a Superman fan and nearly everyone was wearing a Superman T-shirt. The theme stretched out to the cake, the decorations, the pinata and everything else one can imagine.
Eddie even got as a gift a life-sized Superman costume, complete with muscles and the works, which he promptly put on.
But best of all, he is still very sweet and he made the rounds a few times passing out party favors, thanking us for our gifts, etc.
And he hardly drools anymore.
So yes, it was all very touching and he has progressed a lot over the last 30 years.
Now I feel like sort of an asshole for dreading it so much.