It was a joyous day indeed. Pat’s fortieth birthday. A surprise party was planned. He was forty, over the hill. Pat was happy though. He had a beautiful wife who cheated on him, a stagnant sex life, four wonderful kids who hated him, and a fantastically monotonous job with his very own personal cubicle. He also had his own stapler and a mug with his name on it. Life was grand. After all he was off on weekends where he could play golf with some of his coworkers and neighborhood friends. He was sure it was one of them that his wife was sleeping with. Probably the one that laughed and smiled the most. After all if you were screwing your friend’s wife and screwing him in the process there must be a lot to smile about. At least that’s how he imagined it. He had not felt the touch of a woman in years but was pretty sure it would make you smile. Especially if she was married.
Pat didn’t mind though. He had his buddies. They could always grab a beer after work and watch the game. Talk about planning their next golf trip to Myrtle Beach. Only if their wives would let them go. The old balls and chains. They drank to that. One day. They all laughed and took sips from their mugs. Pat did the same, scanning the faces of his buddies. Which one was more than happy? Elated he guessed. He wasn’t too keen on reading body language so he put it to the side. He himself was happy. That’s all that mattered. He had his buddies.
Pat woke up particularly early on his birthday. Wanted to get a head start on the day. He took a quick shower while the coffee was brewing. He liked the smell to meet him on his way out of the shower. A refreshing wind of pep. He needed all the pep he could get. He was forty after all. Over the hill, with a stomach that didn’t fair to well with gravity and a hairline that continued to retreat. The coffee helped him run a little further up the hill until he eventually fell back down, the result of his own weight pushing back. He took a sip of his coffee, carefully folding the Times into precise sections of reading, and chuckled to himself. Sisyphus without the rock, he thought. He’ll try again.
On his way to work in a rather aged economy Toyota he wondered what his family got him for his birthday. Perhaps another tie or “World’s Greatest Dad” trinket to add to his collection. He had the mug, pen, and shirt already. He was hoping for the hat. He’d wear it to play golf. Secretly he hoped to get a “World’s Greatest Husband” hat. He would wear to play golf to get some sort of masochistic kick out of the cruelty of such a label. Then he’d know for sure who was sleeping with his wife. He was positive. If not for his birthday he needed it for Christmas. He made a mental note.