WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Party themes getting more creative — and awkward

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My wife and I received an invitation to a party, but I don’t think we will attend.

We both like parties. What’s not to like about parties? There usually is free food and drink and sometimes there is entertainment. Most people hold parties to celebrate something. In most cases, it’s a holiday or someone’s birthday. My brother-in-law had a birthday party for his dog once. I didn’t go to that one, though. It was before we met, but I am sure if I had known either him or his dog at the time, I would have gone to the party.

I like most dogs, and most dogs I like more than I like people. I would have gone to a birthday party for a dog. Shortly after I met my brother in law, I met his dog. His dog was a pretty decent guy. I guess my brother-in-law is, too.

The party my wife and I got invited to was a divorce party. I don’t know why we were invited because we didn’t go to the wedding. I don’t know how to behave at a divorce party. The person holding the party was the soon-to-be former wife.

I don’t know if a failed marriage is something to celebrate, but she certainly thought so. I imagined the party being rather stilted and awkward, with husbands on one side and wives on the other trying to figure out who gets custody of the glasses of wine and figuring out which percentage of the fruit and vegetable tray goes to whom.

Her records would provide the music, except for the Billy Joel album, “The Stranger” because HE took that when he walked out, the monster. Perhaps there could be a neutral party who sat in the middle, divvying up the snacks into equal portions so no one felt, well, cheated.

Last year, we went to a party where someone we knew was celebrating the upcoming birth of their child. The cake was cleverly designed to be a rather detailed representation of the southbound regions of our hostess and presented to the guests in a fashion that was just, well, creepy. I passed on the cake and sat in my corner drinking coffee and eating from a roll of Rolaids I found at the bottom of my wife’s purse. I was jittery and nervous, but free of heartburn and indigestion for the next three days.

Parties should not be uncomfortable. Parties, as designed, should be fun. At every party I go to, I wind up talking with that guy who thinks everyone wants to hear about his business and how his business can benefit them. I want to eat little sandwiches and drink beer. I don’t want to hear about how his tried-and-true methods can make me wealthy in the world of wholesale marketing of overpriced cleaning supplies.

My wife got stuck once in a conversation with a woman who spent three quarters of an hour talking about how some woman at her church would hide in her car and eat pennies. My wife kept looking at me from across the room and I would have gladly traded my Industrial Strength Floor Wax Guy for her Spare Change Lady.

A couple of times, I found my way to the household pets and spent most of the party hanging out with the dog in the backyard. Mostly, it’s the smokers who were outside and the dog is pretty thankful to have someone outside who will talk to him without flicking spent Marlboro stubs at him across the yard. To my knowledge, most dogs do not smoke and really don’t care for people who do.

Pretty soon, we are going to be in the throes of cookout season. Cookouts are like parties, but with more alcoholic beverages. I like cookouts because I can usually outlast the heavy drinkers and I can find a quiet corner in the far reaches of the yard, playing horseshoes with my daughter and some kid who wants to tell me all about how Star Wars changed his life.

My daughter will inevitably get bored and search out her mother, leaving me with Chad the Jedi Knight tossing ringers until the sun goes down.

I don’t mind getting the invitations to your parties and get-togethers, but I can’t attend them all. I don’t want to be rude and simply say I don’t want to come, so don’t be surprised if my RSVP is incredibly creative.

I would like to come to your 6-year-old’s birthday party, really. However, the little brat beat me at Chutes and Ladders and told me what I can do.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

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