Happy Birthday, Alec – Fourteen Years Old

by Steve Mitchell

Happy Birthday, Mr. Alec!

Today you turned 14.


You’ve tipped over into young manhood.

It’s been a low key sort of birthday.  I don’t believe we have much planned for this evening.

We’re all going to see an Imax movie this weekend (Interstellar – was it good? It’s supposed to be good).  Then, we were planning on going to Monti’s Casa Vieja, in downtown Tempe, for steak, as they’re closing their doors for good in a week or so.

But, alas, they are booked solid and we probably won’t be able to get in.  We’ll see.


I picked you up after work/school.

“Happily Birthday”  I told you because I figured you might be tired of Happy Birthday.

I asked if you handed out the birthday Pop Rocks your mom gave you to distribute to your friends.  You had.

By the way, long before your mother and I ever dated, back when we were still just high school friends and I was in basic training, she sent me a letter with Pop Rocks in it.  And the training instructors didn’t catch it.  So, I had to hide the Pop Rocks in my locker until I could smuggle them outside and eat them on a patio break.

Illicit, sugary, carbonated goodness.

But I digress.

I asked you if your mom had filled the hallway with balloons before you woke up (I was at work by then.)

She had.

And they scared you half to death.

You’d been thinking about the TV show American Horror Story which we’ve been watching on Netflix. – you wouldn’t have been allowed to watch it even last year.  It’s creepy.  And you were thinking of a serial killer character named Bloody Face as you opened your bedroom door to the darkness of the hall.

And you were startled near-to-urination by the shadowy mass of balloons in your doorway.


They’re not so scary in the light of day …


Also, as I was writing this, Rufus farted something fierce.  I waved it back at him and said, “Jeez, Rufus!  Don’t be all social in here!  Go be social somewhere else.”

The he got up and walked to the living room where you were playing xBox, and you said, “Don’t be social in here, Rufus!”

And I said, “Yes, Rufus.  It’s his birthday!”

Then you said,  “Oh my God!  Stop farting Rufus!”

And I laughed at your pain.


Back on track.

Your mom just called wanting to know what you want for dinner.  She figured you wouldn’t be keen on chicken and kale which was originally on the menu.

You’ve already lamented the fact your memories-of-home-food will some day be salmon and kale.

You decided on tacos from Amados.  I’m getting the Arizona burrito.

Also, tomorrow, your brother is taking you to see Birdman.  It’s rated R but he looked it up and there’s nothing too inappropriate.  That’s one I’d like to see, myself.

So that’s about it.

You’re playing Call of Duty – Advanced Warfare on the xBox.  You bought it with the gift cards your grandparents Mitchell sent you.  I don’t believe you’ve yet sent them a thank you note.

Your mother and I were going to get you Middle Earth – Shadow of Mordor which is the other xBox title you wanted this year, but it’s not out yet for the xBox 360.

So, we got you the South Park video game instead.  I’m sure it’s funny and rude.

And that’s really about it.

Happy Birthday, Alec!

I love you.


Happy Happy!

Happy Happy!