Yesterday, I was on my way home from work; and as I often do, began thinking about subjects for my next simple observation of everyday life. Turning into my development, I noticed, a few doors down from my house, was some kind of large and garish yard display. Coming to a complete stop in front of my neighbor, Phil’s abode; I could only sit and stare in shock, at what looked like an enormous herd of miniature cows, grazing peacefully on his well-manicured lawn. In the center of the group of black and white bovines was a large cow with a smiling face. Held firmly in its hoofs, was a brightly painted sign, with the words, “Holy Cow – Bettys 50.” My only thoughts were, “Phil, Phil, Phil. You poor misguided fool. Did you undergo a bout of temporary insanity, have a brief moment of stupid, really think it’s funny, or do you have some kind of death wish?”
To be fair; Betty, is a lovely, kind, and gentle person, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. She most likely, won’t give him a gentle reminder of his mistake, with an open hand to the side of his large, and obviously empty head. However; good old Phil, might be facing a week or two of disapproving looks, fast-food takeout meals, and restless nights, on a lumpy living room couch. Like most women, including my own wife; Betty has been aging beautifully – like a fine wine. Just because women age better than men, doesn’t mean they want to be reminded of the passing years with massive displays of pieces of painted wood, which depict various barnyard creatures, and enormous signs with their name and, “actual” age. If you’ve witnessed some of these birthday surprises on lawns, you may have noticed that there’s rarely ones that boldly announce a 60th birthday. The only thing I can figure out is, the husband who thought the cow display for his life partner’s 50th birthday was so hilarious – didn’t fair too well over the next decade.
As I always do; I did a little research on the proliferation of businesses that provide humorous yard displays, to help celebrate special milestones in one’s life. You may have even seen some of them, proudly and meticulously arranged in front of homes where you live. It seems that a favorite presentation, to celebrate the passing years, involves prominently displayed smiling pigs, with accompanying sayings, such as, “Hogs and kisses on your birthday,” and “Someone squealed – guess who’s forty.” Another well-liked exhibit, involves various traffic signs, with sayings such as: “Wheel chair crossing,” “Age bump ahead,” Caution – lack of memory,” and “Down Hill ahead.” One of the more popular displays, is a graveyard scene, replete with a grim reaper, and gravestones that say derogatory things about getting old. Just once, I’d like to see a wife, remove the displays and signs that say, “Look who’s forty or fifty,” and replace them with a casket along with a sign that says, “Look who didn’t make it to fifty, because he’s buried in the back yard next to my rose bushes.”
I’ve never claimed to be the sharpest pencil in the pack, but I’m not so stupid, I would purchase a yard display for my wife’s birthday. Come on gentlemen; that lesson’s in, “Being a man 101.” I guess, a few of you must have been sick that day, and missed the class. Okay, here’s a reminder of what you missed. Now, listen carefully, because I won’t repeat it. If you want to take some notes, it’s okay. First of all; getting old isn’t funny. Women will accept an extra year of good living, with grace and dignity, and may even smile if they happen to hear a particularly funny joke about getting older. However; putting fifty, bright and large candles on their birthday cake, inviting six hundred people to a surprise birthday celebration, having a hundred-foot banner flown behind an airplane with her name and age on it, or placing any type of birthday related sign, picture, balloon, or animal in front of your house is strictly taboo. Any of these things will mostly likely create a negative response from your spouse, partner, or significant other. The last thing you need is for her coworkers, the gentleman at the local newsstand, the cashier at Walmart, and even a homeless guy outside her place of work, wishing her a happy birthday, and saying, “Wow Betty. I can’t believe you just turned fifty.”
I once had a horrible nightmare involving birthday, yard displays. For some inexplicable, and should I say, stupid reason, I was foolish enough to have a yard sign company, put a display of chickens in my yard, for my dear wife’s birthday. The fowl were accompanied by a huge sign that said, “Barb’s 40. I guess she’s no spring chicken.” In the dream, I remember, coming home from work to find thousands of pieces of splintered plywood scattered across the yard, a large and colorful, wooden chicken head, lying by the mailbox, and my wife on the porch with a baseball bat gripped firmly in her hand. She had a look on her face that still sends chills up my spine.
I awoke from the nightmare, drenched in sweat, tangled in my covers, and my wife leaning over me with a stern look on her face. She said, “Bad dream huh?” I replied, “It was nothing.” She then retorted, “Don’t even think about it mister.” I don’t know if I was talking in my sleep, or my wife can read my mind, but I do know this – I’m not taking any chances. I just hope I never lose my sanity for a day or two, and start to actually believe that such a display would be, even the slightest bit funny. Imagine the consequences, if my wife ever came home to a display of dozens of smiling green frogs, and a sign with the words, “Look who just turned 50. Barb is ready to croak.” Wow. There’s no turning back after something like that!