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Over 60...and Getting Younger: July 30, 2010


The last two weeks, Lorraine and I were involved in “Surprise Parties”. At a surprise party, you are not allowed to be late…or you will ruin the surprise. That is the most callous thing a person can do- ruin the surprise.

Surprises are actually a bit dangerous when the celebrant is over 60. A room full of friends and relatives all shouting “Surprise!” on cue is quite shocking to the sensibility of an older person.

In truth, most of the phenomena never turn out to be the way they were carefully planned. Usually, somebody slips up and reveals the secret. Secrets are very hard to keep under wraps.

On my 70th birthday, I was not surprised when all the envelopes came back to my house needing postage. My daughter-in-law designed a card and an envelope that the United States Postal Service declared an irregular size, and returned them all. I opened one envelope and the surprise was shot. I had to pretend I was flabbergasted but I am such a poor actor, no one believed me.

One friend of mine wrote a whole dissertation on how he was not fooled. He read this to the group assembled for his surprise party. It was a great feat of detective work.

The persons giving the surprise party live in a state of anxiety and suspense until the surprise is sprung and revealed. After the surprise is over, they usually run to the bar and have a double martini to quell their nerves. It is a highly emotional wonderment, keeping the secret for long periods of time.

No surprise parties should be held for Golden Anniversaries. The forthcoming shock may injure one of the elderly, loving couple. Better to just plan it well and leave out the element of surprise.

The expectation of dazzling a person or a couple is definitely over-rated in my opinion. Nice, quiet planning is a much preferable idea.

How do my lovely readers feel about surprise parties? I am curious to know how you would react!