Hello, world! My birthday present to all of you is something a bit more…conservative than what you’d expect from me. You’re getting the opportunity to hear my thoughts in stylistic prose, free of gimmicks and shenanigans. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m coming at you live and unscripted.

Somewhere in Brisbane, Australia, I’m learning the traditional art of karate in lieu of the fighting style my grandfather taught me. No wait, that’s Jin Kazama’s profile from Tekken 4…my apologies. Anyhow, I’m going to start by saying that all of you out there complete me. I wouldn’t be able to be who I am if I didn’t have you either supporting/booing my every word. It’s been a rough year. To some of you, I’m Anthony; to others, Guy. Other names include: Asshole, Captain America, Shaman of Sexy, Grease, Tool, Douche, Prick, Arrogant Bastard, The Last Emperor, Dr. Godhand, and occasionally, Geoff. But all of you can universally agree that I’m an open book. I wouldn’t so much say I wear my heart on my sleeve since I don’t wear clothes. Comparatively speaking, I hide very little. All of you know varying degrees of my existence; hell, a couple of you know everything. At my funeral, you should all compare notes on my life, since the full story truly is wilder than the sum of its parts. But wait 70 years or so; I’m not done yet.

It’s been a rough year. I can’t understate just how humbling this past year has been. From grad school, to work, to friends, to family, among other things, I’m not sure how I survived. Luckily, the last 23 days have provided me with time to reflect on success, failure, missed opportunities, and the like. A little known fact about me is that I actually hate all holidays. Since I watched an excessive amount of Dawson’s Creek and Boy Meets World, I have this notion that holidays are for couples and families. I’ve never been a family guy, and my white whale is the fact I’ve always been single. So, usually from Halloween until my birthday, I’m depressed. Cranky. Volatile. Since none of you see me in the summer, you’d be surprised to see me prancing through the woods picking daisies and marveling at the sun shining. But my birthday in particular is a painful reminder that despite everything else I have (and the list is quite formidable), I still lack what I’ve sought the most. Added to the fact that my birthday traditionally comes during hard studying time, I never celebrate it. If I’m not thinking about how unattached I am, it’s probably because AP Exams and term papers have numbed my senses.

This week in particular has been a nightmarish, then blissful experience. While pondering over #23 coming by while still single, I’ve had every branch of my friends (legislative, judicial, and executive) refuse to let me have peace. Yes, you all ruined my peace. My grad school cohort, who are pretty much forced to deal with me (hey, you get into the program, take the good with the bad), brought me to tears with the cake, food, and overall good tidings. I was moved to speechlessness. I kid you not, I thought my birthday would have gone under the radar to my liking, since I’ve never had a true reason to celebrate my existence. Yes, my ego is large, but it is by and large a distraction so people don’t try to really figure out why I’m thinking. However, I was touched, and it wasn’t a bad touch. Then my salsa mates invited me out for two state bashes, both of them increasingly asinine as the night progressed. I would not have had it any other way. I look at salsa as a creative vehicle since it makes me count and extends my creativity past wrestling and comic book ideas. With that said, no birthday dance in history has involved the guy dipping himself or doing pushups after a neck drop. And also, the sangria, the shots, and other debauchery made me feel like a big kid. A big kid who just turned 23 that wears striped knee socks.

As for my actual birthday, I’ve spent it alone in the comfort of my compound, knowing that I’m still single, and (for the __ time), there’s always next year. Quite frankly, 23 can’t be worse than 22. However, for the moment, all of you made me feel as big as I let my ego thinks I am. I’m a simple guy that has a bunch of extraordinary friends, and could not be more appreciative. Collectively, you all enable me to create chaos, because without you watching, I could fall in the forest and not make a sound. Thank you for making an old man feel young for a few minutes. England prevails.


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