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The kid takes the podium. He has bucked teeth and hair combed to one side. A young woman in a gown is standing by. She helps people on and off the stage. The crowd, the well-dressed men and women and children, the prominent doctors and the matrons in their horn-rimmed glasses all smile indulgently. He announces he will read a poem. A few people chuckle. The teenaged boy in the back rolls his eyes.

"Hafta groan!
I go home!
How much does your mother moan?"

While the crowd puzzles over this, looks for the link to fundraising and medical research and Finding a Cure, the boy turns to the accoutremental woman. "May I see you pee?" She tries not to look too shocked. The funny-looking kid laughs and laughs.

"Penis! Vagina!"

She tries to get him off the stage. He only tightens his grip on the mic and begins swearing.

"Poo-poo! Titties!"

The audience keeps the outrage in check, but they're feeling it all right, wondering why they're being held hostage by this little maniac who appears to be experiencing both a Tourette's outburst and a cocaine rush. A few of the older kids hide their smirks. After speeches and an older generation's idea of music, this has been the best entertainment so far.

He screams his final "fuck!" as attendants drag him off the stage. From the wings we hear faint, fading singsong: "Oh, The Tampon Man, the Tampon Man...."

The MC returns and hopes to restore order.

It didn't start out this way. Oh no. No. It began, as a matter of fact, when I was diagnosed, and set my course to Dee and Char's place.

Although I'm in no way "afraid" of aging, and am NOT going to do the ridiculous thing many (women, especially) do of turning "29 again" for years... I'm not really looking FORWARD to turning 30 on Saturday.

Somewhere in my head is the feeling that I've got to be a "real" adult now, or "grow up", or... maybe that I don't have an excuse for making stupid mistakes and bad decisions anymore because I'm no longer a 20-something.    It feels like a major transition for me somehow.

Maybe it's the feeling that I should have done more with my life by now, or been further along with things.  Some of that is upbringing, that I should be a doctor or a lawyer by now, not a college dropout, or the idea that being a 20-something with no degree is "ok", but being *30* without one is somehow shameful.

Any words of wisdom, advice, blessing, or encouragement, oh internets?

Wuukie's turning 30 celebration trepidation immediately struck me with two memories.

I was in my early twenties and bumbling about life, finally emerging from a cloistered familiar environment into the confusing but invigorating world of reality; of friendship, love, interaction and experience. One of these friends invited me to her 30th birthday party at her rented house on the beach with her boyfriend and dog. She'd already been around the world a few times (literally) and was finally settling into a career as an artist and a writer, finally starting her studies, and looking forward to it, yet completely afraid of how it would constrict her.

So she tried a silly ritual. She had invited all the people that were the most important to her right then (there were 6 of us). We all made masks from sheets of vanilla scented and coloured paper and decorated them with glitter, paint, crayon. We went out on the beach to a campfire and had a wild rumpus, drinking wine. My mask was a crudely made beaked thing with a top hat. Our host’s boyfriend did a Bart Simpson, while she had made a domino with phoenix leaping from it. Even the dog had a happy grring mask. Then we all made a wish and burned the masks.

When I turned 30, I wanted to die.

Life sucked. In the months before I turned 30, I’d kicked a drug habit--having to move from my hometown and all my friends to do so--been dumped by my girlfriend, had lost a stable job and was couch surfing at friends’ houses. I had lost everything, and had nothing to look forward to. The only people I could depend on were friends I’d made in my brief time in a new city, who let me have a place to crash to sort myself out.

My brother lived near the city and had promised to pick me up so I could hang out with him and his family that night; he forgot and never showed up. I headed ‘home’ but got dragged by a couple of people there to see a band two other friends were in. A raffle was being held and someone bought me a ticket. I won the raffle and the prize was this:

They buried me on stage. I was placed in a wooden coffin which was ‘hammered’ closed, carried around the audience, then ‘lowered’ into a grave, with a sermon, ‘testimonials’ and wailing admirers. Dirt was flung on me, then covered me (all an aural illusion for my benefit.). The stage was closed, and the coffin carried away. The troupe that had put this on opened the lid, smiling down at me. They asked if I wanted to get out.

I did. (sometimes when they did this, they told me, some people asked to stay in for a while longer).

A couple days later I got a birthday package from a girl I fancied on the internet. Inside was a leaf from the London Zoo. A couple years later, I proposed to her there in front of the giraffes.


Been around the world a few times.

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