Saturday, March 28, 2009


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.


Lulu Maude said...

So who else is going to be there? Are you going far?

It may turn out to be very interesting. I worked with a group of developmentally disabled people when I was doing adult literacy some years ago, and you wouldn't believe the sort of awareness that leaks from people who have been the ward of the state for their adult lives. They were, in the strangest way, quite sophisticated in the ways of beauracracy.

Be sure to take an open mind with your gifts, which sound good, and lots of compassion.

It ain't no picnic, six.

FranIAm said...

Oh you must write about the outcome please.

Karen Zipdrive said...

I updated the post with the outcome.
There were at least 30 people there, some of them small children of cousins I didn't know existed.
And Eddie may have retardation, but he shows a lot of joy and simple gratitude for everything in his world, so that was nice to see.

nonnie9999 said...

glad you had a good time, karen. eddie sounds like a sweetheart. i hope that he enjoyed his party. i rarely have to go to family functions, and i always dread each one. however, they rarely turn out to be the disasters i anticipate.

Distributorcap said...

sometimes the simplest things are the best

did eddie know who you were?

Lulu Maude said...

Superman!! Way cool.

Actually, I dread going to most parties. I always have a good time, but I nearly always dread getting myself together and going out the door.

Then I'm [almost] always glad I went.

So it goes.

Mauigirl said...

Glad you ended up enjoying the party!

Karen Zipdrive said...

I'm pretty sure Eddie didn't remember who I was, but he was surrounded by well-wishers so was happy to welcome me as one of them.

Dusty said...

What a heartfelt

Glad you enjoyed yourself KZ and no drool on the shoes. ;)