I posted about this earlier, but today’s my birthday. And while I appreciate all the birthday greetings I’ve received via text and social media, I also wanted to tackle something embarrassing that’s been a year in the making.
When blowing out the candles on my birthday cake in 2015, my one wish was for the death of beloved actor Gene Wilder by my next birthday.
I have no idea why I did it. It all started at my birthday celebration last year, surrounded by friends and family. They finished singing happy birthday to an adult man who insisted they throw him a party and instructed me to make a wish. I focused hard, took a deep breath, and extinguished the flickering candles with a mighty gust of air.
“What’d you wish for?” said my friend Steve.
My expression darkened, almost as if I was possessed, and I blurted out robotically, “I wished for the death of beloved actor Gene Wilder sometime before August 31, 2016.”
To this day I have no idea what came over me. Everyone went silent. “What?” someone said. “Why?”
Snapping out of my trance-like state, I said, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know. I love Gene Wilder.” Because I did and do. Willy Wonka? Young Frankenstein? Blazing Saddles? The man was not only a comedic legend, he was one of our finest actors. Growing up I adored his work.
“Well, you said it out loud,” said my brother, trying to let me off the hook. “That means it won’t come true, right?” A couple people mumbled, “Yeah, that’s right,” but I wasn’t convinced. “How can we be sure?” I said, in a panic. “I have to undo this.”
“What if we get another cake?” said my Dad, shrugging. I nodded. It may have not been a great plan, but it was all we had.
I forced my family and friends to go to 37 different area grocery stores to buy 37 new cakes and candles, all at their own expense. This wish wasn’t just getting replaced, but BURIED. My first extra wish was easy enough: “I hope Gene Wilder doesn’t die.” Other than one wish hoping for multiple sequels to the Entourage movie culminating in a cinematic universe, the rest of my wishes were for good things to happen to Gene Wilder. One was for him to achieve everlasting life, which I felt brought us full circle. I even wished that Johnny Depp would die, knowing that no God would ever allow for a world without at least ONE Wonka.
I then screamed at everyone to get the fuck out of my house so I could cake, cry, and watch See No Evil, Hear No Evil.
The rest of the year was nightmarish. I set up a Gene Wilder Google alert just in case anything happened to him. I was up late every night worrying. Any time someone recommended we watch a Gene Wilder movie I would curl up into the fetal position. I started hallucinating people on the street were him. As I was signing for a package my UPS guy morphed into him and said, “We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams.” I went to Vegas for a distaction. I had a great time until I busted out at the poker table and had a dealer tell me, “You get NOTHING. You LOSE. GOOD DAY SIR.” I ran out of there screaming. I’m not welcome back at the Wynn, or as the sign outside read to my eyes: the Wynny Wonka.
Cut to a few days ago. I figure I’ve made it. And then poor Gene passes right before the year deadline. I felt horrible. Also, no sign of ONE Entourage sequel, mich less several. Now all I can do is ask his friends, family and fans for their forgiveness. I’m also dedicating every last one of my remaining birthday wishes to hoping scientists find a way to bring people back the dead. Once they do, I’ll be the first one in line for Zombie Wilder’s autograph. And I’ll say, “I got SOMETHING…I WON…GOOD DAY SIR.”
Rest in peace, Gene. Save me a slice of birthday cake…in heaven.
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