The amazing thing about leading such a detail oriented life and having a brain that focuses on minutia is that you always notice the little things… or so you think.
Apparently, my wife and friends have been conspiring for the past two months to throw me a surprise birthday party for my thirty-something-or-other birthday. Knowing ME as well as I do, I can safely say that this had to have been a major undertaking of logistics, deception, and timed distraction to the professional level of a top notch magician. Seriously. Shit like this doesn’t get past me. I’m that guy that guesses the killers in mystery movies forty five minutes into the flick. I notice minor details to a degree that drives folks to look at me like I’m Rain Main. I ALWAYS FIND WALDO.
My only conclusion can be this: I have amazing friends who, over time, have learned to know me too well.
I mean, look at this:
Does this look like the birthday gifts for a thirty-something-or-other man? You might not think so. But they’re perfect.
After a day of business meetings in Orlando (the ONLY way my friends knew to absolutely get me into town without suspicion) I was led to the Geek Easy next to A Comic Shop to look at the space for a potential entertainment project. I was tired, dazed, and didn’t really WANT to see the space, but Tentacle Chris (whom I had been reviewing Cosplay Deviants related project stuff with) wanted to check it out and drop off some leftover flyers for some Sega video game.
When we walked into the Geek Easy and saw a large group of people I immediately thought, “Oh, shit. We accidentally just walked into a private event.” I paused ready to back step away and then, a nano second later, my brain recognized everyone in the room.
I HAD BEEN DUPED.
Not content with just a “normal” surprise party, my friends put together The Roast of Tom Croom which, if spend more than five minutes on the Internet, isn’t that hard to do. Needless to say, this is what it looked it:
I know what you’re thinking… you’re thinking, “Why the hell is Katie dressed like that in front of the mic?” Well, part of the party’s theme was to dress up as me at various points in my life. Katie (along with Disney Legend Tom Nabbe and his wife) were all dressed as ME dressed a VINCENT VEGA as a previous birthday party I had… one where everyone was required to dress as a character from a Quentin Tarantino movie. They ordered the correct shirt (just like I had years before) and even brought a photo of me for reference:
Thus my evening was spent being insulted by the most amazing people in the world… all dressed as me. I’m sure Freud would have a field day with this.
And so, at the risk of sounding sappy, THANK YOU. You’ve all made an old man feel appreciated and loved.
- Allen – My fellow towel carrying Guide lover. I’m fairly sure you can sell some of those photos from last night to TMZ or (at least) to some nerds on 4Chan. Thanks for always being there. 🙂
- Angie – You are an amazing part of my life and I’m glad to have you as a close friend. That said, you make a DAMN SEXY Prince Eric. Just sayin’
- Chris – The next time I say I don’t need a site tour in order to visualize an event concept, I’m sticking too it! Your epilogue from your roast was the most touching part of the evening. I love you like a brother I never had (or, at least, one my father never told me about.)
- Dave – Always the quiet one, but always one of the most reliable ones. That said, you heard that my mic was cutting in and out… WHY DIDN’T YOU FIX IT! 🙂
- Eric – I can’t believe you own one of those hats. You’re a gentlemen, a scholar, and good people. I’m glad our lives are permanently intertwined due to that damn cartoon. 🙂
- Erik – You and Karen have known Shannon and I since… well… damn near forever. AND WE’RE ALL STILL GEEKS. (Which is a good thing.)
- Gary – Stylishly late, but always stylish. Shannon and I will get out there for beer at some point. I promise!
- Gregg – Worst. Roaster. Ever. The reason, though, is because you are one of the kindest souls I have ever met. You are amazing and you’ve made this “old man” feel like more than he is, but at the same time believe that he (I) can still aspire to be it all.
- Jessica – How did you know I like Starbucks! That said, your Tom Croom costume was outstanding. Though, I’m not sure everyone remembers my time performing at the Parliament House. Thanks for being a part of this madness. 🙂
- Jo – Gifts are never necessary, and that gift card was too much. You’re a great guy and stop reminding me how long ago we met in college. It only makes me feel OLDER. 😉
- John – My best and worst roommate ever. It’s always great to see you again, though I am disappointed you couldn’t find our matching underwear. 🙂
- Kaleb – Thanks for taking photos at the event. I’m downloading copies from your camera (we took it home last night) and OMG WHAT ARE THESE OTHER PICTURES??!!!
- Karen – Damn, ma’am. I’ve known you longer than most of the folks in that room. I am happy that through the years, clubs, conventions, and strange anime fans that we’ve always remained friends. You are an amazing woman.
- Karma – What can I say that hasn’t already been said?
- Katie – Who’d of thunk that my ability to put up with Mike Herz and that FX Show would ultimately result in THIS? Seriously. There’s some deep philosophical implications there – or I’m just damn lucky to have you and mine and Shannon’s life. (I’m going to vote the latter.) Your channeling of your husband at the roast was spot on. 🙂
- Ken – You weren’t here in person, but your spirit (and words) were carried via your wife… asshole. 😉
- Kim – Thank you for being there all these years and I may need to hit you up for a copy of the kumquat tree story. (I need it as the foreword in my autobiography.)
- Lyn – One of the FEW people on the planet that knew that costume that you wore. Thanks for being such a good and unique (that’s a good thing) friend over the years… and for putting up with so much of my shit. 🙂
- Myna – I wanted to say something profound and touching here, but I was distracted by your boobs. You’re a great addition to the circle of nerds and I’m glad you were able to join the insanity.
- Ray & Diane – I always hear jokes about “the in-laws.” Thanks to you two, though, I don’t understand a single one of them. I love you both dearly. 🙂
- Richard – Your video message was inspiring and disturbing. Strangely, it was shot in a locations just like Rikki’s. You’re a good friend and I DON’T CHEAT AT WORDS WITH FRIENDS. That’d be that “Kaleb” guy.
- Rikki – I’ve watched your video a few times now. I keep struggling between laughing again or just calling you and forwarding you to someone for professional help. I may do both. Also see my note to Richard above; you’re both seriously fucked in the head – apparently in similar ways. 🙂
- Scott – I haven’t read those Shia Lebouf books. Yet. It scares me, though, that you know me well enough to know how much I’ll enjoy the torture of reading them.
- Seth – One of my oldest friends who predates my hardcore venture into the business of geek. You are an anchor for my sanity reminding me that there were people who saw things the right way in our days at Universal together. You are amazing and I’m glad to have you continually in my life.
- Shannon – I love you. You completely and entirely got me by surprise. Well done. Game on. 😉
- Shortie – Last night I realized how long we have known each other and, as a result, I felt EVEN OLDER. Thanks for always being there for Shannon and I – and especially Shannon. It’s good to have another person she can talk to about mutual friends. 🙂
- Tom & Janice – You will always be my adopted Orlando parents who have always been there for my wife and I. Thanks for showing up and reminding me that I will ALWAYS be younger than your real son. 🙂
- Tracy – I’m sorry I was tired and distracted all night and didn’t have time to make you cry – because it’s not a party until Tom Croom makes his sister-in-law cry. 😉
- Troy – Well played, sir. Now I have NOTHING to bitch about at Busch Gardens on Saturday… or Sunday. There was SOMETHING I was supposed to do on Sunday, too, right? Better check my Google Calender. 😉