I love reaching another milestone, even though that means that I’ve been doing exhausting work on INAM for a long time now!

8c65585e7d66471955f2c6c6ae462d1cI had planned a whole other story here, but then I realized—sixteen! As in…Sweet 16! I’m a Jewish girl from Brooklyn, (Happy Rosh Hashanah to my peeps tonight, by the way,) so how could I not discuss Sweet 16s in my Sweet 16(hundred) column, right???

So, in case you’re not familiar with the concept, I’ll tell you all about it, as it’s the only way that I can come up with to celebrate column #1,600. It may not be incredibly apropos, but at least I’m still accomplishing something.

I doubt that anyone has a real Sweet 16 nowadays, but in case you want to have a throwback sixteenth birthday, this is how they go:

First off, you seat your guests from the closest ones around you out to the lesser pals. Classy, eh?

Then your best friends have jobs to do during the soiree. Your very best friend takes the “minutes,” so you have to make sure that you have a clever, talented writer bestie in time for the fete. As you open the presents, she writes down some of the comments in a “He: She:” format. And then she reads them out, as what you and your “husband” will say on your wedding night. Of course, you have to receive at least one giant gift, so that someone will inevitably shout, “Ooh, it’s so big,” so the minutes-taker can incorporate that shocking statement into the script. I repeat—classy, eh?

Yours truly (the girl sitting high up,) at my own fabulous Sweet 16, surrounded by my besties.  Photo by Martin Salkin.

Yours truly (the girl sitting high up,) at my own fabulous Sweet 16, surrounded by my besties. Photo by Martin Salkin.

Then your most artistic pal (who also has to be your second best bud,) makes a stupid hat out of a base fashioned from one of the cardboard gift boxes, and then decorates it with all the wrapping paper and ribbons. And then you wear it for a total of ten seconds, to laughs mixed with oohs and ahhs if she does it well. (And, oh yeah—your guests have to give you good presents since they’ll be opened in front of the assemblage. That’s the best part of the entire shindig!)

Lastly, your third best pal, (that’s getting down to it, isn’t it?,) makes you a “memento glass” by filling one of the restaurant’s finest goblets with water and one of the flowers from the table, and then dripping a candle over it until a topping of hard wax covers the whole glass, while your mother looks on in horror, just praying that she can throw it out sometime before your seventeenth birthday. (No such luck in my case—it was still there when I emptied out my Brooklyn house—just three years ago!!!)

sweet_16_queen_throw_pillowAnd a good time is had by all! I’m actually not even kidding about that—it really is. You and your friends will talk about it in perpetuity! And, if you’re me, you’ll keep those goony gifts for just as long!

[Note: I explained this all on a video on my YouTube channel on my birthday last year, so if you want to actually hear the longer, more detailed explanation of that rite of passage, you can view it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifLygLOFwGI.  The readers in Colorado might enjoy watching it the most, if you get my drift.]

So, I guess I’m grateful to my 1,600th column today to have made me think about all that fun once again. I guess I should be sort-of attached to this number because I’m basically Forever 16!

This is the perfect pic for my 1,600th column!  Why, you may ask?  Because it's entitled "1600 Pandas In Hong Kong," and also features--wait for it--columns!!!!!!!  Loving it!

This is the perfect pic for my 1,600th column! Why, you may ask? Because it’s entitled “1600 Pandas In Hong Kong,” and also features–wait for it–columns!!!!!!! Loving it!

Now, on a sidebar, part of the fun for me of celebrating these milestones is finding the perfect picture to accompany my written lauding of the occasion. For the first few hundred, I was always looking for pictures of hundreds of actual columns, like ones in ancient Greece.  But after a few of those, I figured I should give up the search for “columns,” and just go with fun images, when I could find them.  I thought I had hit the jackpot with the pix for #1,500, (which you can see here, I hope for the second time: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/special-day-my-1500th-column.)  But this 1,600th treasure hunt proved even more fun.  The only problem was whittling them all down.  [Note: I hope they prove as good as I originally thought—I was doing my search in the actual middle of the night while I was watching the super-long, super-late quarterfinal U.S. Open tennis match between American Sam Querry and South African Kevin Anderson.  Kevin won, by the way.]

One more 1,600 Pandas pic, just for fun.

One more 1,600 Pandas pic, just for fun.

But I’m happy with the ones I shared here. I hope that you are, as well. (And I have to confess that I think the reason I made this entire story so long is to be able to fit more pictures in. I did it subconsciously, but I really do believe that’s the reason. At least I hope it is, and it’s not just that I’m a windbag. See? I’m still doing it!)

And, let me be the first to say it, (as usual): Happy 1,600th Column to me! Now, tomorrow, on to the next hundred. I hope that you’ll all still join me on that journey!


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