40th Birthday Post #2: On My Birthday and Hobbits and Birthday Advice Boxes

I love birthdays, I really do. The idea of celebrating a person once a year is great. It never had to be on a certain day, but celebrating the “change of age” is as good an excuse as any.

I really do the like way that Tolkien decided that the Hobbits would celebrate birthdays though. The way the celebrated buys gifts for the celebrators. The way they had huge parties, and the parties were about everyone. Perhaps I only like this because it would mean that I get to go to more parties, all year long, and I would get more gifts, too. But I don’t think so.

I think I would love to give gifts to the people in my life on this day next year. Tell everyone not to get me anything, just come to my party, relax, enjoy the day. We’ll play games outside, or cards inside if it’s too cold. We’ll talk about old times, and talk about recent times. We’ll look for connections between people.

Instead of birthday cards, I want an advice box. I want 200 people at my party, and I want them to take an index card and a pen, and put it in their pocket, and keep it there all day and night, and think about the best advice they could possibly give me – I want to know what they learned from life, and I want them to think about it and then write as much as they can write on an index card (I’ll buy the big ones, you know, the GIANT index cards that look kinda ridiculous after you’re used to the normal ones) – and I want them to put the card in the box before they leave.

I want it not for me, but for them. One of the greatest gifts I can give someone is to know that when they have something important that they want to share, they have an audience. When people have an audience that cares, they usually think harder and write more wisely. I think this would help everyone, at least for a little while, value themselves more.

That’s what I wanna give you for my birthday, next year.

Wanna come to my 41st B-Day Party?

Gifts from butterflies…

Butterflies. Yes, butterflies.

Once again, there are certain memories that I just don’t want to forget. I don’t want to let them slip away as so many of these things do.

In April 2005, I was visiting Erie, PA because of the deaths of my aunt and uncle. I was pondering life, as I often do during such times. Sitting outside my parent’s house smoking a cigarette, I watched a Monarch butterfly flying around, about twenty feet away from me. This brought back the memory of a movie I once saw, where someone else was dealing with death and at the end of the movie, a butterfly either landed on someone’s nose, or just flew around in front of them, I don’t remember the movie too well.

So I’m watching this butterfly, and I think to myself, “what if it landed on my nose. How weird would that be?” and the butterfly, almost immediately, flew over to me and landed, not on my nose, but on my eyebrow. I was stunned. I don’t really like “bugs” crawling on me, but I didn’t wave this one off. In fact, I wanted a picture. I walked into my parent’s house and looked for my camera. I couldn’t find it, and my mind was preoccupied. This was CRAZY. No camera, nobody’s going to believe me.

In my frantic search for some way to capture this moment, he (she? it?) apparently didn’t like all the commotion, and went on his merry way, leaving me this strange gift (the memory) that I’m really not sure what to do with. So, I’ve only told a couple of people about this, and they seemed to believe me, but you can never tell the thoughts going around in someone’s head.

“I, like God, do not play with dice, and I don’t believe in coincidences.”
-V for Vendetta

I really don’t know what it was that happened, but I thought about the thing landing on me, and it did. That is too hard for me to chalk up to coincidence. I tried.