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Tony & Tina Turn 40


 You know you’re at a great party when someone leaves in a body bag. But, I’m getting way ahead of myself.

Jim and I were invited to our friends’ dual 40th birthday celebration at their house. Let’s call them Tony and Tina. Tony’s Greek, meaning that like the Italians, Irish, Jews…they throw an outstanding over-the-top, standing-room-only party that’s talked about for years.

There was a live ‘80’s band and a fully loaded bar equipped with bartenders. Guests giddily approached me--drink in one hand, finger wagging on the other saying, “I hope I don’t end up in your column!” Are you kidding me? With all this free-flowing booze, adults gone wild, and…did I say free-flowing booze? I was like a kid in a candy store…if that candy store served Jack Daniels shots. Lots and lots of Jack Daniels shots. And had its very own weekly column.

Most people our age can handle their liquor. Oh, who am I kidding? We were unchaperoned 40-somethings! And there were Jell-O shots expertly prepared by Tina’s mom! As fast as she could pull her jiggly-gelled culinary creations from the fridge, Tina’s friend, let’s call her “Foam Girl,” was serving them up. (Remember “Foam Girl”—she returns in paragraph six.) 

There were so many highlights to this party, but my favorite was that fabulous drunk party game “Are they her boobs or did she buy them for her birthday?” which (after a few drinks) morphs into, “Did she marry that boob she dated in high school?” and often ends with (right before the last guest leaves), “Did I just spend the last two hours talking to that boob with the toupee?” only to be informed that it was not a man in a toupee, but your husband’s divorced friend’s new trophy girlfriend wearing extensions that had been mangled from her hair-bending returns of the Jell-O shots to the porcelain Gods of war.

Re-enter “Foam Girl.” No party would be a success without a “Foam Girl.” She’s the first person to get the party started and the first person to “hit the floor.” Admittedly, I was “Foam Girl” at many, many Fort Lee Fire Department parties back in the ‘80’s. And 90’s. In fact, I reclaimed the title at Fort Lee’s 2008 Fire Department Inspection Dinner. (That bartender made one mean martini. The problem was I had five of them. Or was it six?)

Tony and Tina’s “Foam Girl” was K.O.’d by Jell-O shots. Now, when I’m not writing fabulous stories, or reading the bitter rejection letters from every major publishing house and magazine, I teach preschool. So it makes perfect sense that when “Foam Girl” was discovered in the fetal position it was moi that everyone called, and not the 58 certified EMT’s toasting each other with shots while Tony and his brother were flinging tropical fruit over the heads of the party guests with a bra-like contraption they called “The Flinger.”

When I arrived on the scene, “Foam Girl” was plastered to the ceramic tiles of Tony and Tina’s upstairs bathroom floor; her fingers were locked in a death-grip on those unexplainable plastic knobs on the base of every toilet bowl. I donned my “Don” and in my perfect Marlon Brando as the “Godfather” voice slapped her around like Johnny Fontane yelling, “You can act like a man!” She donned no response, but her cheeks now had a healthy rosy glow to them. Unable to find her pulse (my fingers were drunk) it was determined that 9-1-1 should be called. With the help of the lovely Maureen, and Tina’s mom (Cleopatra of the Jell-O shots) we cleaned her up so that she resembled a respectable corpse.

Unbeknownst to Maureen, Cleopatra, and me, there was 9-1-1 confusion. Two towns showed up. After Tony averted an “ambulatory” fist-fight “Foam Girl” was ready for transport. However, because of all the parked cars from the party they had to Hefty bag her to get her to the ambulance. We stood at attention as the EMT pallbearers hauled her ziplocked body down the road and over a block.

As we sent our fallen warrior off to battle dehydration, nausea, and the double bill her insurance company would undoubtedly send for the two ambulances, a lemon came hurling through the air just missing Foam Girl and sparking the conversation, “Guess what boob’s flinging the bra?”