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When I was a humor editor at Hallmark Cards, one of my favorite birthday cards was the one shown above, picturing an old man regaling his grandson with the tale of his very first colonoscopy. The inside of the card reads something like, “Welcome to the gross personal story years.” It’s a Shoebox card, so it doesn’t really matter what the inside says. The funny stuff is all on the cover. A very talented Hallmark writer named Russ Ediger created the card.

I gave this card to numerous friends celebrating birthdays. I felt the sentiment matched my dark sense of humor. It was my little way of saying, “You’re getting older, pal.”

Today, the joke was on me. I went in this morning for my very first colonoscopy, after fasting and drinking my bowel prep kit for the past 24 hours. The good news is the procedure went well. The doctor said I don’t have to do it again for at least five years, which is fine by me. Maybe by then, they will have done something about the flavor of the bowel prep kit.

So it’s the last day of February. It’s overcast and 20 degrees. There is more snow in the forecast. I’ve just turned 43 and I’ve had my first colonoscopy.

Welcome to the gross personal story years.