For years I’ve been thinking about my fortieth birthday.

I’m not so much dreading the age as I am looking forward to the opportunity to share a celebration that’s all about me.

I always kind of kidded my wife that it would be great to have a surprise party.

And then a few years ago, when I realized my fortieth would fall on a Saturday, I really started to hammer home the idea of a surprise party.

And then, in a twist even M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t cook up, I came to a shocking revelation…

It turns out I don’t want a surprise party.

I don’t even think I like surprises.


It’s probably important you know this: my wife is the best. I can be a bit of a handful, especially when it comes to my birthday. I love my birthday…and I love getting people riled up about it. She patiently allows me to blow it out of proportion.

And this surprise party – the big four-oh – man, was there a lot to get riled up about.

The problem with this ‘rile everyone up’ approach is that if the party isn’t as great a party as I’ve built it up to be in my mind, I end up a little disappointed by the time my birthday is over.

Let’s take a random example of how someone might shoot a little too high for a surprise fortieth birthday: Say there’s a guy who likes Billy Joel. Maybe he’d think, wouldn’t it be cool if my wife got us two tickets to see one of the Billy Joel shows at Madison Square Garden? Wait! Five tickets! Then the kids could come too! Ooh, how about a suite at the Garden? Then we can invite my whole family!

It grows and grows in my mind – I mean, this hypothetical person’s mind – until it becomes a disappointment that a surprise party surrounded by loved ones isn’t a great party because Billy Joel didn’t show up and sing at it.


I’ve matured to the point where I came to this realization recently: I just want to enjoy my birthday. I don’t need a surprise. So I asked my wife to tell me what she had planned. Then I asked her for a rough outline of who was invited. (A little bit of a surprise is OK.)

And it’s going to be a great birthday. It’s all my favorite things rolled into one.

And I have such a sense of relief in my brain about my birthday that there’s no way I won’t enjoy it. I know exactly what to expect.

I guess you do get wiser as you get older.

It only took me 40 years to figure that out.


I’m thrilled to be able to share this Sunday Paper-style post with The Haute Life readers. Allow me to introduce myself: My name is John Sucich, and I’m a writer and comedian living west of Boston with my wife and three daughters, who all feature prominently in my writing and comedy. I was a teacher for about a decade before making the switch to comedy and writing, and before that, I worked in TV news.

*It was while working in TV news that I met Jessica – and I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but that was almost 20 years ago. (I guess I was about 21 years old then.) It was Jessica’s idea to do this little writing exchange. On my website ( I give a little update on my writing and comedy exploits in a weekly post called the Sunday Paper. (I put it out on Sundays.) While I wrote this for The Haute Life, Jessica took over my Sunday Paper. You can look for her post at

*If you care to further follow my comedy and writing exploits – or find out exactly when my birthday is and what the big “surprise” is –  I’d love for you to connect! You can ‘Like’ my Facebook page at and follow me on Twitter @jsucich. I look forward to hearing from you or seeing you at a show!