Tuesday, July 19, 2011


328. "sings, 'All my friends are gettin' ma-rried...", reads a Facebooker's status, which sums up perfectly the recent shift in the Facebook contents of your friends. One blink, and instead of posting "Last night was so wicked we should totally hit da club again!!" and "NO MORE VODKA!!", your friends are now uploading wedding photos and, in some cases, videos of their toddlers crawling on the floor, nose dripping, face smeared with baby food in a way that is completely hilarious to the parents but awfully gross to everyone else. After the first one or two videos, you learn to stop watching, and politely coo, "aww", when the parents ask if you have seen the videos, then, without waiting for your reply, describe to you something else, also completely hilarious, that their children did today.

And then, once in a while, a friend shows you a picture of her children -- or monsters, as she lovingly calls them -- and you find yourself asking her, sincerely, if you could steal one of her monsters. Reasonably enough, she turns you down, so you settle for staring dreamily at the photograph, wondering where you can kidnap monsters like hers.  
329. On the way back from lunch. "So what did your parents get you?" I ask the birthday girl. Without missing a beat, Zoe replies, "a tattoo", and both of us dissolve into laughter. "This would be such a great line, in many decades to come. Remember that year, when I turned thirty... " I paint the picture. "And I got so many tattoos," Zoe continues. "The one on the left arm is from my parents..." I point at an imaginary tattoo on my own left arm. "And the one on the right arm is from my friends..." Zoe smiles, and I am relieved at how well she has been reacting to the full-service Body & Piercing voucher, a birthday present that the collective twenty of her friends have lovingly chosen and prepared. 

In the two weeks since my initial email, fifty emails have accumulated (and this is only counting the ones that included myself) and numerous hours of debates in person have passed (admittedly almost a third of it was more or less along the same line of, "This will be an AWESOME present! Make sure you take photos!"), during which, among other remarkable things, the usually controversial Bowser demonstrated a hitherto hidden sweet side and the timid Pierre actively participated in the contribution of gift ideas. Earlier today, even the elusive FL came out of hibernation to join us at lunch. Unbeknown to me at the time, he also brought to work his fancy camera, which was left behind in the office due to miscommunication with me about when exactly the present would be given. As it was, we only had my toy-like Nikon during lunch, and the few photos that I took of the momentous moment when Zoe received her present speak more about the reactions of everyone else (trying, and failing, not to laugh) than of Zoe, who hid from my camera behind the birthday card. This probably says it all about the present selection, especially when five of us voters were at the dinner where Zoe, asked if she would ever get a tattoo and in an attempt of appearing brave and life-embracing, feebly suggested that she might one day.

In all likelihood, she probably will not, but I hope that this memory will stay with her like an indelible tattoo. And, just in case Zoe gets a personality transplant between now and the end of her life and decides that she wants a dragon tattoo after all, there will always be that 200-something-euro voucher that she received for her thirtieth birthday. Her parents are probably cursing themselves for not having thought of such a genius present.

330. By Professor E. Gadd and Rosalina.

Alternate reality

Everything started with Toadette trying to arrange «her Mario party», we happily embarked ourself in this adventure, but little did we know about the fact that it was going to be a "real" Mario party.

The astute Toadette asked Rosalina and me if we wanted to join
Princess Peach to play Super Mario Party on Tuesday evening. The location was already set: the castle of Princess Peach, the invitees also: Rosalina and me, Toadette, Princess Peach and Yoshi, and of course Catherine. Toadette was so enthusiastic of having all these Super Mario characters under the same roof, that she immediately called Catherine to press her to borrow a copy of Mario Party from the local library for that evening.

Only later we discovered that it was a real party and that we were
celebrating Princess Peach's birthday. Toadette cunningly sat us down in our predetermined seats, the play started, and we were all unwitting pawns in the hands of a concealed puppeteer, oblivious of the fact that we would never play Super Mario, at least not with the Wii-motes.

Mario was the most notable absentee, he was probably busy fighting
against evil enemies, and Bowser had carte blanche to handily conquer Peach’s castle. When he arrived to the party, he quickly monopolised our attention stealing all the spotlight from the birthday girl. He knowingly lost a bet he could never win. Of course he did not put money on it. Instead he smartly managed to make TPC to beg him to remove his clothes. He never removed them, he just kept amusing himself with TPC asking for his furry torso the whole evening. He is such an old sea dog…

But the real objective of Bowser was to conquer the heart of Princess
Peach, that’s the reason why he always kidnaps her in the game, isn’t it? [Moreover Yoshi was gone, and] all this continuous arguing between them has to be rooted somewhere...

He was trying to make her jealous by peeving Catherine, or by cooing with Toadette romantically enshrouded by the dim warm light behind the table. When he started to sing «On s'en fout, on n'y va pas, on n'a qu'à se cacher sous les draps…», Princess Peach glanced at him with a sly look, she joined him in the song and we all thought it was in the bag. But then something unexpected happened. After the song, he stood up, he walked offhand towards Toadette, he swiftly took her hand in his, with such nonchalance as it was completely normal, as it was the only very thing to do in that moment… Toadette couldn’t believe it, she was visibly thrilled, radiant with a smile no one before us ever witnessed; one hand in his, and the other adjusting the hairs behind her ear, in a typical female quirk that revealed all her delight.

In the end there was just an unanswered question, why did we not play
with the Wii?


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