I wish you could have seen his face when he saw his best out-of-town friends and his brother yell, "Surprise!" when we came into the restaurant. Especially since it was over two months until his actual birthday. But hey, that's a minor detail, I figured. Besides, getting everyone together in December would have proven to be much more difficult. So, surprise, Honey! It's your birthday party two months early. No wonder he never suspected a thing.
The show was one of the funniest I think I have ever seen. You may not know who Patton Oswalt is by name, but you may know him from television shows such as "The King of Queens" and from his voice-over work as the main character, Remy, in the children's film, Ratatouille.
I had contacted the manager of the theater months in advance to set up a "meet and greet" with Patton, and after explaining the special night I had planned for Eric, she seemed on board to try and make that happen. My directions were to find Ms. Very Important by the stage right ushers when I got there to learn if Patton had agreed to meet with us. The manager seemed optimistic when she called earlier that afternoon, so I admit that my hopes were high. So you can imagine that I was a bit annoyed when Ms. Very Important said that Patton wasn't feeling well, but he would sign a program for Eric. Boo! I was truly disappointed and figured he was blowing us off because we were lowly Delaware peons. No, it turns out that he was so sick that at times he joked that he was coughing up different lifeforms. He even took his medication on stage because "it was time." By this time, he had totally gained my respect back even though he wouldn't see us; I was surprised that anyone would continue on with a show who was that obviously ill. And anyway, serious flu germs weren't on the list of items I had planned to get Eric for his birthday.
Outside of the theater