Making Your Children Read for Their Right to Party & “Deadbeat Dad Writes the Birthday Invitations” by Steven Markow


Tip Junkie has a list of age-approrpriate, book-themed children’s parties–celebrating favorites like Goodnight Moon (see above) and Eloise.
In the spirit of birthday parties, check out one of our favorite humor pieces, originally published in LitCouture:

Deadbeat Dad Writes the Birthday Invitations

by Steven Markow

Congratulations, you are now invited to my kid’s party. He’s turning something between seven and ten. Whoopee.

If you are planning on showing up to this thing, there are a few things you need to know.

1. Don’t buy him anything fancy. Yeah, we get it, your parents are lawyers and this kid’s parents are unemployed (me) and a low wage salon worker (his mom). You don’t have to make a big deal about it by getting him something more expensive than his own parents could afford. Your parents probably think they’re being pretty gracious, but they’re not, they’re just being jackass showoffs and they know it. Do us all a favor and just get him a card, but be warned, if you try to get sneaky and slip money in there, I will pocket the bill myself and slap you.

2. When you show up and the first thing you see is me, in a robe, with a lot of “fuzz” on my face, a beer in one hand and the television remote in the other, don’t leave. You’re at the right house. Yeah, there’s still a party happening. I just don’t see a point in getting ready for guests until I’m sure they’re really going to show. The first “event” planned for the party will be watching Matlock until the birthday boy’s daddy has put on a tee shirt and ran a trimmer over his jowls. I’m telling you right now, the second item on the agenda’s going to be watching more Matlock until the 5 Hour I downed in the bathroom kicks in.

3. When too many kids have showed up to convince my wife to call the thing off, I’m going to bring out a deep tub of cotton candy. We’ll then start playing a game. The game begins by all you kids eating your own body weight in cotton candy. Then I lock you in the garage with some Nerf guns and rubber baseball bats. The object of the game is to run around screaming and trying to kill each other with the weapons provided until you pass out. If you do this successfully, I win. If any of you still has an ounce of energy left when I unlock the garage an hour later, I lose. The reward for winning this game is you get to wake up at the end of the party with rotten teeth and a splitting headache, just in time for cake and presents. The consequence for losing is you stay locked up in the garage until my wife finds out and frees you, which will hopefully be just in time for cake and presents but might not be for several hours if I forget where I put you.

4. Here’s how the present opening ceremony works. I go into the bathroom with a men’s magazine and all of the presents. I emerge fifteen to twenty minutes later with only the presents I found worth keeping. Everything else goes into the bathroom trash can with the wrapping paper. If you don’t see your present in my hands when I come out of the bathroom, you are allowed to go into the bathroom and paw through the trash can until you find your present and take it back. That’s totally legit. But be warned, if you failed to honor rule one, and bought my kid some fancy crap, I probably smashed into pieces so don’t bother looking.

5. One last thing, I don’t do goody bags. They just don’t make sense. It’s my own kid’s birthday, and you come to my house and demand that I feed and entertain you all afternoon, and I’m supposed to give you a gift? Assuming that this thing happens, and I’ve managed to hold it together before my energy drink crashes, my parting gift to you will be not flipping over the dining room table and screaming obscenities at my wife until she gives me a beer and puts TV Land back on.

Well, there you go. As long as all of that is understood before you decide to show up here, I think things will go just fine.

Oh yeah, and my wife says to put that it’s going to be a lot of fun and we hope to see you all there. If all of the above sounds like a good time to you, then sure, I totally agree.

– Mr. Paul Peters

Steven Markow is currently a senior at Bennington College and works with music and video in addition to various kinds of prose and poetry. The photograph above is by Tray Drumhann, a photographer, mixed media artist and visual poet. His goal is to communicate the personal and cultural dynamics that condition how we view ourselves and others as well as how our individual experiences condition such perception. His work has appeared in such publications as Columbia New Poetry, Mad Hatter’s Review, The Pedestal, Moria, Rune: The MIT journal of arts and letters, The Emerson Review and After Hours.


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