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How To Make A Surprise Really Surprising


So it was my 34th birthday on Tuesday and I’m a bit old to throw lavish parties and expect fabulous presents. These days I like to have a low-key day, not “celebrate” as such, but just do the sort of things I like doing normally. We went to see The Dark Knight on Saturday at the local cinema but foolishly underestimated how popular it still was – we couldn’t get in! Instead we saw Wall-E (which I actually wanted to see anyway) and it was fantastic (including a couple of noticeable references to the classic Silent Running in there which it owes a lot to). It’s amazing how Pixar manage to get you so emotionally attached to something that has no facial features at all! But that still left The Dark Knight to see…

So we looked at our diaries (well, metaphorically speaking as I’ve never been any good at keeping a diary up to date) and decided that we might as well go on Tuesday night, which also happened to be my birthday. Seemed like a nice way to “celebrate” and sounded good to me. Whenever friends asked me what I was doing on my birthday I’d say “it’s great, we’re going to see The Dark Knight and I can’t wait!”. Until my birthday comes along and my good lady returns home from work with a surprise…

We’re not going to see The Dark Knight at all! We’re going out for a special meal at our local Aagrah curry house with our friends Ben and Anna – it had been planned for weeks! Now normally if that was sprung on me I’d have been immediately thrilled and punching the air (well, probably not punching the air per se, but metaphorically punching the air). Except it was a double surprise. On the one hand I was going out for a delicious meal, but on the other I’d spent the day looking forward to seeing the film, made sure I’d eaten throughout the day as I knew we weren’t going to have a big meal (since we were off to the cinema) and now I wasn’t. Of course if you’d given me a choice of seeing the film or having a meal with my friends I’d have taken the meal every time!

But my first question to my good lady was: “why did you tell me we were going to the cinema? Why didn’t you just not say anything?”. If it was the other way round and I was planning the surprise I’d have made sure that she didn’t make plans (maybe hinting that we were doing something) or just not mentioned anything at all – perhaps said I was having my legs done on Tuesday night so not to go and book cinema tickets (well, that’s what she’d have said, I’d have probably said I was doing a power workout or something more manly).

It turns out that she’s a terrible liar, no doubt as a result of her being such a fair and honest person whereas I’m an excellent liar and, eh, also a fair and honest person (I wouldn’t lie to you!). So I’ve explained to her for future reference that the key to success in fabricating a lie or keeping something from someone is to not compound it by adding another lie on top. For one thing that just makes it more difficult to remember but for another it just makes things more complicated. Sometimes the best way to lie is to just say nothing at all.

And for the record it was a delicious meal and I enjoyed it far more than I would have done had I gone to the cinema. We’re going to see the film on Saturday and this time I’ll be booking the tickets, just to make sure. Oh yes, and I’m an ungrateful git. But you probably worked that out already! 🙂

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

13 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. The thought of you “having your legs done” is an image which is going to haunt me for the rest of the day!

    Oh, and BTW, I’m really liking your new site layout.


  2. Happy (Belated) Birthday!

    I always like to celebrate my birthday by taking the day off from work. I also encourage others to do so as well. I’m thinking of trying to get my birthday established as an international holiday, so no one has to work that day.

    Needless to say, I’m not having much luck. 😉


  3. Thanks! 🙂

    Yeah, a national holiday on your birthday, I like the sound of that! Although I wonder if there’s a day of the year that falls on the weekend all the time…


  4. Happy Belated, John. My birthday is coming up, too! I’ll be 33 soon, but I won’t be going to see “The Dark Knight” just cause I’ve already seen it, but I am taking the day off (might go to the beach if the weather cooperates!).

    And, as far as your birthday plans go, well, at least her heart was in the right place, right? If she had said nothing, perhaps you would have been worrying about not having any plans at all for your birthday? Anyway, have fun on Saturday!


  5. Heh heh, yeah, her heart’s always in the right place – it’s me that’s the ungrateful one!

    And congratulations in advance! 🙂


  6. Hey John, belated Happy Birthday!

    Its mine on Sunday and 34 also beckons…. Heading to Nice on Monday for a week, courtesy of the girlfriends credit card, so that will be a relaxing break.

    You’ll enjoy the Dark Knight, good film.

    Do you ever talk to Fletch? Would be interested to hear if hes still alive 🙂


  7. Thanks Steve! Sounds like a plan – the weather in Nice is fantastic just now, quite unlike the rain and clouds of Yorkshire!

    I’ve not heard from him in a couple of years (since my wedding in fact), but I understand having kids does that to you – they take up all your time! At least that’s what’s happened to most people I know who’ve started families.


  8. After seeing the Dark Knight 3 times (I love Heath Ledger) I can safely say I think you’ll prefer the film 🙂

    And I think it was very nice of her to plan something like that for your birthday! She was trying to make it special.


  9. Ha ha, we’ll see about that! And I know, I was just being a miserable git!

    Now come on Donna, go and get yourself a gravatar for your email address – I’ve told you about that before! 😉


  10. I tried and I found a dark knight one and it wouldn’t work 🙁 You’ll have to help me I am useless!


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