Brian Matuszak column: Brian turns the big Five-OSo the Big 5-0 finally rolled in for me last week, but it wasn’t Hawaii Five-0.
So the Big 5-0 finally rolled in for me last week, but it wasn’t Hawaii Five-0.
Sure, having a steely-jawed Steve McGarrett wish me a happy birthday with a “Cake ‘em, Danno” would have been sweet, but my special day was devoid of Jack Lord and full of family, which was even better.
The festivities started with an impromptu overnight trip to a swanky suite next to the Mall of America. I told Sue and Kaylee that I wanted to treat myself to a hotel that was a bit more expensive than my usual “smells clean/free breakfast” requirement, but in reality, I wanted to be as far away from the Northland as possible when the 49-year-old clock struck midnight. Didn’t want my accompanying shrieks of “Whaddya mean I’m 50??!!” to disturb the falcons trying to get busy on the Greysolon Plaza.
The Brian Birthday Road Trip Extravaganza got off to a shaky start when we discovered an overcrowded freeway between Cloquet and Forest Lake. Usually, we time these southern trips so most of our fellow travelers are on the other side of the media — you know, we head down into the belly of the Minneapolis beast while those poor fools are escaping up to the Twin Ports — but for some reason, I-35 was packed on this fateful Brian Birthday Eve.
Trying to merge into this fast-moving river of idiots took more wrangling than an Eli Miletich term limit proposal. I just chalked it up to last-minute gift purchasing for me, but perhaps I was mistaken. And delusional. (The best way to leave your 40s behind, by the way.)
Traffic cleared considerably by the time we veered towards Lino Lakes and, once in the Twin Cities, was actually manageable. The weather, however, was another story.
Mother Nature had a delightful double-barreled gift waiting for me: a matched set of both heat AND humidity. Every one of my ear, nose, and toe hairs was curling up due to the atmospheric moisture. However, I persevered because there was fun to be had! And because we missed the cancellation deadline on the hotel.
I was very impressed with how the Mall of America went all out to honor me on my special day by blocking all the traditionally heavy automobile thoroughfares and giving us easy access from the parking lot across the street. In fact, at the front entrance, there were absolutely no cars whatsoever, which was eerie.
It was like an outdoor zombie apocalypse. (The shoppers inside the mall still resembled lurching zombies, so that wasn’t out of the ordinary.) Sue and Kaylee tried to convince me that the blocking of traffic was for construction and not for me, but I wasn’t having it. I was 50! And delusional!
Overall, my Day of 50 was fantastic because I got to do exactly what I wanted to do: walk around with my beautiful wife and amazing kid, with no particular purpose other than to enjoy the company of the most important people in my life.
When the time came to head back for home, things fell perfectly into place as well. The evil slog of vehicles plugged up its own side of the freeway this time, and the stifling temperatures plummeted back to the 50s once we cleared Carlton.
Not sure how I’m going to celebrate 51, but whatever it is, I’ll be ecstatic, and unbelievably lucky, to be able to spend it with the ones I love.
Book it, Danno.
Brian Matuszak is the co-founder of Renegade Comedy Theatre, founder of Rubber Chicken Theater, and wants to thank Bob Dylan for the birthday card that he probably just forgot to leave with someone at Bayfront Park last week. Brian is certain it was thoughtful. He’s also still delusional.