One Score And 12

Thirty-two. Not a birthday that calls for much celebration. When you're a kid, they all count. Six, seven, eight, nine: every one of them is a big deal. But at this age, it's just the denary numbers anymore: 40, 50, 60 ... Unless you reach a hundred, then everyone starts counting all the single digits again.

For most of us, though, there are really only a handful of watershed birthdays. Thirteen is the first one, when you're officially a teenager, or for our Jewish friends, an adult. Then comes 16, when you're allowed to drive. Fifteen, from what I recall, meant you could get a learner's permit, but that just meant you could drive around the neighborhood with your dad.

Next up is 18, which seems to be a milestone beyond the fact you get to vote, though I never really figured out why. I think it may have something to do with consensual sex, but that was hardly an issue for me in high school. Or most of college, for that matter. Was it cigarettes? I don't know, I wasn't cool enough for those, either.

Then, of course, there's the big 21. Legal drinking age. For a while, it's cool to finally be able to whip out your license when you get ID'd, though after 6 months you can't believe people are still carding you.

From there, you don't get another one till 30. You plan a big celebration, which you don't have, everyone tells you how much you're going to love your thirties, then you have a few beers and rehearse the lackluster observance of all your birthdays up to 40 when they break out the funny black cane with the bicycle horn and the cake shaped like a coffin.

But I have to say No. 32 wasn't all that bad. My best friends, whom I recently reconnected with, took me out last night for some beverages — beverages that all differed in appearance, but were, by an amazing coincidence, all called "Just Drink It." Then we all went back to my apartment so we could watch old videos we made back in our salad days and so someone could eat my entire XL bag of Peanut M&Ms. (You know who you are.)

After a full recovery, somebody special took me to a place in Fort Worth today called Spice. This is a terrific restaurant. It's international cuisine, but not in a chic, supercilious, reminds-me-of-my-experience-in-Morocco kind of way. Everything's pronounceable. They even serve Tiki Punch and offer a platter called the Road Trip. It was my kind of place.

As it turns out, a full tour of kebabs and a seven-ramekin selection of sauces doesn't make for such a bland birthday after all. If the rest are pretty much like this one, I guess they won't be so bad.

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