Aisle Of Wit

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Happy Birthday, Name Withheld

By some chance, are you or do you happen to know someone who is celebrating a birthday today?

Better yet, might it happen to be a milestone birthday?

If so, I wish you or that person a very happy birthday.

I’d love more than anything to wish one particular celebrant just that.  But we’re currently not on speaking terms.  Tragically, we may never speak again.

Oh, don’t worry.  This person is very much alive.  In fact, this person is one of THE physically healthiest I’ve ever met.

When it comes to their capacity to love, when they choose to love someone or something from my observation the recipient will be hard pressed to experience any love quite as complete and as genuine as what I very briefly experienced from this person when we were on speaking terms.  Here’s my experience in atypcially but necessarily ambiguous detail:

This person entered my life by sheer fate at a time when my personal world was completely at a crossroads and the world itself was arguably at its nadir.  We were in the middle of the hottest summer on record, the earliest stages of a pandemic without vaccines, riots literally blocks from where I lived,and worse of all for me, no active live sports in the United States.

For me, add to it the necessary decision to leave the world, the home and the life I knew without a job and the knowledge I might never see my cat again as a result.

This person gave me the strength to soldier forward via the safety of sanctuary.  When I unpacked my clothes (that’s all I had room for) in my small perfectly furnished room, this person hung a sign above my closet:  “This Is A Drama-Free Zone”.

This person then cooked me a piece of tilapia.It was the first meal anyone else had made for me in more than a decade.  It tasted superb.  The company was even more appreciated.

This person, who is indeed physically fit to a level where they have been professionally photographed, convinced me that as long as I had two working legs I had the capacity to get in better shape myself,   This person reminded me that I had an app on my phone that counted steps, and that at my root I was a “numbers guy”.

My edict was to aim for 10,000 steps a day.  I was urged to get up off my otherwise comfortable bed and  not come home until I hit that figure.  The additional carrot was that for 20,000 steps I’d get a hug.

To help me toward that goal, and to help me deal with losing access to my pet, this person offered to let me take their friend’s dog for walks.  Their friend was pulling three and four-day shifts at a nearby hospital dealing with the onslaught of COVID cases that were flooding the system.  While this person was attempting to launch a business from their kitchen table, I took that dog (or, rather, it took me) on numerous long walks, gleefully running after birds and other dogs, rewarding me with nuzzles when they’d finally slow down.

I often reached that 20,000 step target.  I did get a few hugs.  And a few licks from the dog, too.

When basketball and then football returned I learned this person was, surprisingly, a huge fan.We watched a few games together, often with friends of theirs.  It had been a long time since I had even watched games with anyone else.  Occasionally this person would even cook for us.  I’ve rarely tasted a taco quite as yummy as theirs.

Needless to say, my summer of bliss and my fall of sports viewing took a bad turn, eventually becoming a winter of discontent.  I haven’t spoken to this person in more than a year.

I miss this person more than I’ve ever missed anyone I’ve ever known.

The pain of not being able to actually wish this person a simple happy birthday is excruciating.  I’m certain they are celebrating today as they did this past weekend, with really wonderful friends and family members, great food, spirits, smoke and music, and probably lots of hugs that I know I miss more than ever.

The only way I can even put out into the universe that my sincere wish is received is through this outlet.  In fact, since this person has been acknowledged silently by strangers thousands of times, the concept of using my strength to gain similar accolade was indeed a seed they initially planted.  If they had a shred of awareness of the road they helped me put myself on, and could see the progress I’ve made, I’d like to think they might actually be, for a second, happy that they could have such a deep impact on someone else’s life.

I have my sincere doubts that is the case.

So in lieu of that I’ll simply wish a happy birthday to everyone born on January 25th. I’ll ask that you do the same,  There’s a slight likelihood you might actually know this person.  For that person, I simply have four words that I’d ask you please pass along.

Buon Compleonno Y Grazie.

They’ll understand.

Alla prossima…