To the moon, Alice

In my life, I’ve had plenty of birthdays. Of course, this doesn’t make me special or anything, plenty of you reading this have had plenty of birthdays. Unfortunately for you, this is my blog, so we’re only going to talk about my birthdays…sorry.

Most of my birthdays were uneventful, but when they were eventful, they really truly were. For example, when I turned 4 years old, my family was at a family church camp for a week. There were about 200 people at the camp and I have only a faint memory of it. My dad, however, had a very good memory of it. It was one of the most stressful weeks he ever had.

The week began with our trip to the camp, nearly 3 hours away from home. Along the way, my oldest brother became sick…not car sick, but really sick. When he was a toddler, he had gotten into some ant poison and his stomach was never the same. So our week began with my brother in the local hospital near the camp. Then came my birthday.

The camp had a tradition of acknowledging people’s birthdays at supper. I noticed this early in the week and was rather anxious when my day came. I was so anxious, I hid. There are a lot of places at a wooded camp for a 4-year-old to hide, believe me. After a couple hours of searching, my dad finally had to inform the camp leaders I was missing. Next thing we knew, 200 people were searching the camp for me. I eventually came out of my hiding place, darned dinnertime, because I was hungry. Like most 4-year-olds, I had to eat 300 times a day or at least whine about it. That was eventful.

My 8th birthday was eventful because it was the day we landed and walked on the moon. As an 8-year-old, that was exciting. Back then, the whole world would watch what they could about the space missions because it was so new and exciting. Later years, however, they didn’t even show space missions on television anymore because of a lack of interest. That wasn’t the case in 1969. Like I said, the whole world watched and in a little house in Milwaukee, an 8-year-old birthday boy felt like the day belonged to him.

ME: Today’s my birthday!

EVERYONE ELSE: Shut up! We’re trying to watch this!

Well, it felt special to me anyhow. Birthday’s were never a big deal in our house. We didn’t have parties, very few presents, but we always had cake and ice cream. I was good with this.

My 18th birthday took me back to the moon…kind of. The night before I had been to a concert and met some famous people (another blog for another time), but the actual day of my birthday turned out pretty special too. I was cruising around with some friends and we were drinking “shorties.” For those of you who know, these little 8 ounce cans of beer were deceptive. They went down very fast and very easy. That night was no exception. I was feeling pretty good.

It was very late and we rolled up next to an empty bus…empty except for the driver. He must’ve been in a bad mood because when we looked out our car window, he flipped us off. I was in the front passenger seat (the window facing the bus) and knew it was up to me to avenge our honor…and so I did. With my pants down and my butt cheeks pressed against the window, I did just that. It was in the middle of avenging that the unmarked squad car behind us slapped the flashing red and blue light onto the roof of his car and we had to pull over.

After we pulled over, the cop stepped out of his vehicle and came right to my door instead of the driver’s side.

COP: You! Get out of the car!

ME: Ok.

COP: NOW!!!

ME (getting out of the car): OK!!!

COP: Turn around and place your hands on the car. (I did). Spread your legs. (I did and he searched me). Now take your left hand and bring it down behind you. (I did…then I felt the click.)

ME: Handcuffs?

COP: Now bring your right hand down behind you. (I did and felt the other end of the handcuffs wrap around my wrist).

ME: For mooning an EMPTY bus?

COP: You’re a sick man. Now come with me.

He loaded me into the back of his car and off we went to jail. He never talked with my buddies, which was a good thing because we had been drinking, to include the driver. I was booked as an adult for the first time in my life. I had been an adult for less than 24 hours and already I had a rap sheet.

I spent the night in jail and when the morning came, I was paraded out of the jail along with a dozen other men for court. When my name was read, they stated the charge was “indecent exposure.” Well, the cop the night before said I was being booked for disorderly conduct, so this was certainly an unpleasant development. Just then, a lawyer walked up and said he was representing me. Apparently, my friends were busy while I was “doing time.” I pled “not guilty” and walked out to wait for another court date. Two months later, with a fresh haircut and suit, I was given a delayed sentence by the judge. What that meant was, if I was good for the next 12 months, all charges would be dismissed. I promised the judge that I would no longer be a threat to society and would keep my pants on.

Possible moral to this story? Adulting sucks because you have to keep your pants on. Seriously, though, who else can claim to have not one, but two major moon events on their birthday? Statistically, I might just be the only person in the world to claim this.

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