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A Fighting 69th

Next Monday, April 8, I will be celebrating the 69th anniversary of my arrival on this planet back in the early 50s. You might think that is a rather odd way to describe my birthday but then again, my dear mother always maintained that I had been “dropped off by the “little green men.” I always assumed that she was jokingly referring to those irascible imps of Irish folklore, the leprechauns but, as it turns out, way back then, flying saucers were all the rage. What with Hollywood’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still” with Michael Rennie and the documented UFO sightings, supported by radar contacts, over our nation’s capital down in Washington, D.C., dear old mom was convinced, I was an early version of Mork sans benefit of Robin Williams’ sense of humor.

But I digress. Any questions of my extraterrestrial origin aside, as my birthday draws nigh, the women in my life inevitably embark upon their annual “what do you want for your birthday” interrogations, to which I always answer, “Nothing thank you, I have everything I need.” 

Just the other day, as I walked into the kitchen, the ladies were talking about a possible birthday gift for me but they all went silent as I approached. I pointed out that their silence spoke volumes and I was sure they were planning a birthday gift decision for me. My daughter, Amy, told me, “Don’t worry Dad, we already got you something. You’re almost 70 years old and you deserve something special. You won’t like it very much at first but you will come to realize that it is something that you really need.” 

I told my girls that it’s the thought that counts and I would most assuredly cherish anything they might decide to bestow upon me in recognition of my birthday. My younger daughter, Vicki, said that she thought I was getting much more patient as I grew older, but she was quickly corrected by my beloved Grace, “she who must be obeyed.” Grace countered that, “Nah…He just doesn’t care anymore. He just doesn’t realize that he’s getting a little long in the tooth!” 

The “long in the tooth” remark didn’t bother me at all. I mean dentures don’t grow do they? But for the rest of the evening all I could think was, “Don’t like it now….will need it later…Oh my God, they bought me adult diapers!”

Making matters worse was the fact that I keep hearing my daughter saying, “Dad, you’re almost 70….” over and over in my head.  For a long time now, I have known that I do not require inspirational quotes to keep me going, a simple cup of good coffee will suffice. I certainly do not get upset when people refer to me as a “senior” as that that term is usually accompanied with a 10 percent discount.

But suddenly the realization that the road before me is considerably shorter that the road already traveled behind me was weighing on my mind and I thought I should do something with the whole family for my birthday. I told everyone that Monday night I would like everyone home early for dinner, after which I would like to watch the new Disney movie, “Mary Poppins Returns,” as I was really looking forward to seeing the updated version’s song-and-dance routine for  “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

One of my daughters remarked that she did not think that song was included in the new version of Mary Poppins. I told her not to worry as, in that case, we would simply watch the 1982 movie, “Gandhi,” an acclaimed biographical drama about the major events in the life of Mohandas Gandhi, the beloved Indian leader who stood against British rule over his country. Grace and the girls looked at me like I had two heads and finally asked what does Gandhi have to do with Mary Poppins. I told them that Mahatma Gandhi often walked barefoot which produced an impressive set of callouses on his feet. He also ate very little, making him rather frail and with his odd diet, he often suffered from bad breath. This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed with halitosis.

Happy Birthday to me!


Broad Channel, why would anyone want to live anywhere else?

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