“Happy birthday, Sheila!” Applause.
We’re standing in line at the fish place.
Longtime readers will remember the fish guy from The Great Harmonica Bob Episode. He has a microphone for calling out names and isn’t afraid to use it. Today he’s in Birthday Mode. Which is odd, because Mo is in Birthday Mode as well.
She is in the unfortunate situation of a birthday that falls on 7-11, the day of Free Slurpees, and yet we live in a desolate land with (gasp) no 7-11s. The consolation: shrimp.
The woman two orders ahead of us apparently is celebrating a birthday as well. The guy notes it over the speaker, and everyone applauds. We are quite a festive people.
My eyes light up. Mo gives me the look that says, “If you mention my birthday I will chop you into little pieces and feed you to the pelicans.” I have no particular longing to be pelican food, so I file a mental note to stay quiet.
The next person orders. The guy shouts out, “It’s Mary’s birthday too!”
(disclaimer: I don’t actually remember the names of all these people. I don’t actually remember my mom’s name. Although I think it might be Ma. I just need names for the purposes of the story. Poetic license. Except the names don’t rhyme. Back to the story.)
With the birthday announcement, again the crowd roars. Two birthday orders in a row. This is a little weird. They do not appear to be handing out free hush puppies or balloons or anything, so there’s no reason to think these people are lying, unless they have a pathological need to be in the spotlight. And the spotlight at a fish joint on the waterfront, no matter how cool, is not exactly the Red Carpet Walk at the Bass-Pro Cotillion. I ponder the odds. But math makes my head hurt, so I ponder the upcoming Monkees reunion tour instead. Who IS going to sing all the Davy songs? But it’s Mo’s birthday, so I try to focus.
Then we’re up. The guy looks at Mo. “Don’t tell me it’s your birthday, too!” he says. We look at each other. “Actually, it is,” I offer meekly. He assumes I’m joking. Mo orders a Corona. “Good thing it’s not really your birthday or I’d have to card you,” he says. Good thing, indeed. She doesn’t have her ID with her.
“Is it YOUR birthday?” he asks me. Sir, no sir, I assure him.
We settle in to our table. A few minutes later over the intercom: “And it’s Sheila’s birthday as well. Happy birthday, Sheila!” The crowd cheers.
The odds of four birthdays in a row must be roughly the equivalent of Justin Bieber being appointed the next pope. Although I bet he would like the little red shoes. And definitely could sing the Davy Jones songs. Why am I obsessed with Davy Jones at a waterfront fish joint? Are there lockers here?
We go to the beach afterward to play Gull Footprint Detective. They’re all barking. Likely announcing that Bob the Gull’s birthday is today. The other barking is the other gulls cheering. The water’s warm. The breeze is gentle. “Daydream Believer” is stuck in my head. It’s a good day. I believe.
The moral of the story: You know it’s true love when you feel good about kissing someone after she’s had coleslaw in her mouth.
Happy birthday, Mo. And most everyone else along the Gulf Coast …