It is that time of year again. You know, I hardly ever realize what it is until well into the day – long after I’ve woken up, climbed out of bed, had my morning cigarette and walk around the block, and started looking at what needs to be done for the day. In fact, it’s normally not until some point in the afternoon before I realize…
“Oh. It’s my birthday.”
I haven’t honestly “celebrated” this annual reminder that I’ve survived another rotation around Sol since I was thirteen. Even then I wouldn’t call it much of a celebration; my mother presented me a cake shaped like the Olde English D, and later that night a few friends and I scarfed it down while high out of our minds. It was a good day, of course, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was a birthday party.
So what’s the deal? Well, I’ve thought about it quite a bit over the years. I mean, when you see all your friends growing excited about their birthdays and you hear about the crazy antics that go on at their parties, it’s hard not to think that something is wrong with you for notbeing overly hyped for the event. At first I thought it had to do with my upbringing – as I’ve mentioned before I grew up poor as hell, so things like “parties” weren’t something that I asked for. I also looked at the day itself, thinking that maybe my psyche just couldn’t stand to celebrate an event that shares a day with two stock market crashes, Hurricane Sandy, and the deaths of both Gene Roddenberry and Raúl Juliá. In the end, the reasoning was far more simplistic than that.
In this day and age, I feel like we’re all pressured into having some sort of grand reasoning for our thinking. The truth of the matter is that sometimes you just don’t groove with something, and the arbitrary celebration of my not being dead yet isn’t something that I feel requires cake and balloons – though I will never say no to red velvet, if you’re going to be insistent.
Now, don’t get me wrong – today is still a day that I celebrate. You see, today just happens to be the day that I met the person who would eventually become my closest confidant and best friend. So, if you’ll allow me the rare opportunity to invoke my birthday privilege of doing whatever the hell I want (and you shouldn’t since you voluntarily clicked whatever link it was that brought you here, suckers)…
Dear “Lamb Chop,”
I know that I’ve not always been the easiest person to get along with over the years. I talk a lot, often without actually saying anything. I’m sometimes dismissive of dissenting opinions without actually listening to them. I can be quite abrasive at times. I know that you hate it when I tell a story because it never, ever takes less than twenty minutes. I know that I sometimes lack patience, and I am only too aware that my manic mood swings and my father’s temper have become the stuff of legend.
Yet, for reasons I’ll never entirely be sure of, you’ve remained a near-constant presence.
You were the one who kept me [relatively] grounded when the winds of success threatened to sweep me into the stratosphere of my own ego. You were also the angel on my shoulder who stayed up with me way beyond their own point of mental exhaustion to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid when I hit my emotional rock bottom. You were the one who reminded me that “life will reward you. It might take years, but it will happen… be strong. I know you can. I know you have it in you. Believe in yourself as I do.”
That conversation is forever committed to memory. And, for what it’s worth, life did give me myreward. I am reminded of that every time you make me laugh.
I will never be able to properly thank you for everything that you’ve done for me. Your wit, your wisdom, your insight, and your kindness have meant more to me than you will ever know.
..as for the rest of you…
I’m grateful for everyone who considers me a friend. I am lucky enough to know a colorful and eclectic group of people – people who are equal parts brilliant and utterly mad. All of them, from those I’ve worked alongside to the friends I’ve made playing “just one more game,”have brightened my day and bettered my life.
As have all of you.
Yes, you, anonymous Internet traveler. I’ve read through my Twitter feed, and I don’t know how in the hell y’all continue to put up with me. But I’m glad that you do, and I am thankful for each and everyone of you who have @replied me on Twitter, poked me on Facebook, pinged me on a gaming forum, mocked me for having an LGV (context in video, I promise), bought the book I co-authored, and continue to put up with the verbal diarrhea that spews forth from my fingertips.
Y’all are spiffy and shit.
So, upwards and onwards. Here’s to making year twenty-six the best one yet.