The mystery of the disappearing birthday present
Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
Have you seen this t-shirt? Say, blowing down a street in Brooklyn? Or on the back of mischievous, Size-5 thief? Or somewhere in my friend Ariel’s house?
If so, please grab it and forward immediately to Perfect Baby Handbook Worldwide Headquarters on Montague Street so I can restore it to Ariel’s son Austen, the birthday boy for whom it was intended.
You see, sometime between 12 noon, Sunday, when I arrived at Austen’s madcap, high-concept birthday party (and handed it, giftwrapped in orange tissue paper, to his mom) and 3 p.m., it vanished. And 100-percent cotton, imported “Vintage Black Football Jerseys” by Appaman don’t just vanish, do they?
Especially when they’ve been known to “pair perfectly” with Appaman’s “Vintage Black Slalom Sweats”?
But, somehow, this one did, amidst the chaos of the treasure hunt, the dauntingly complex Jelly Bean taste test (organic vs. non-organic), the hysteria, the glee, and the serving of a cake that so masterfully depicted Nemo (of Finding Nemo fame) that a dozen toddlers stampeded towards it, much like art-snobs crowding around the latest Damien Hirst sculpture.
It truly is a mystery: Although Austen was witnessed at one point “feeling” the package and asking, with slight dismay, “Is it clothes?”, no one knows if he ever opened the gift. The card that accompanied the gift was found, halfway out of its envelope, on the floor.
My current suspects include:
• Birthday guest Dorian, a rival four-year-old who has never impressed me as honorable.
• The cat, Augustina Trembalina*
• Mysterious forces who feel strongly that well-off American children receive far too many birthday presents and wanted to make a point.
*Certain names have been changed
• Every kid needs a Swiss Army Knife—or does she?
• The seven ugliest birthday cakes in America
• Family togetherness is a trend that makes you wear all-white and behave inappropriately