Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday to Me!

Today is the golden anniversary of my birth. Needless to say, this is a big deal for me and so it has been the basis of a great deal of introspection on my part. I’ve decided to be completely selfish here and share the results of this contemplation as a commemoration of the event.

The first thing I’ve figured out is that I have an enviable life. I love and am loved by extraordinary people, I have a brilliant mind and at 50 years old I have the body of a super-middleweight contender. And on top of all of that, I absolutely, positively know that I have an ultimate purpose that I am destined to fulfill and which justifies all of the evil and suffering in the world (as do you).

I am smart enough to realize that I didn’t do all of this on my own. I have had people in my life at key points along the way whose influences guided me towards the desirable circumstance that is my life. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the people who, for a variety of reasons have special places in my heart (I’m generally going with first names only but you know who you are):

  • Thank you, Lorris (grandma) for being the first manifestation of an Immanent God in my life.
  • Thank you, Marianne (mama) for taking over where grandma left off (as the New Testament version) and protecting me from my youthful arrogance and impetuosity which the odds said would kill me well before today.
  • Thank you, Ann for being the first person in our family to get university degrees and thus show me that it is possible for people from our humble beginnings.
  • Thank you Artie for being “Bo Dean” and “Big Artie”, a reputation that likely kept me from many an ass kicking before I learned to take care of myself.
  • Thank you Artie and Lolo for being cautionary examples
  • Thank you Darren for removing “the Body of Christ” from your mouth and crunching it like a potato chip after I told you that the nuns said it was sacred (a perfect metaphor for your time in my life).
  • Thank you Richard for the kick ass genome.
  • Thank you faculty at Our Lady of the Gardens for not treating me like a freak when you found out what my IQ was.
  • Thank you Gary, Andre, Tony, Phil B, Baby Brother, James, Artis, BG and the rest of the “little boys” in the Gardens for pushing me to be stronger physically and tougher mentally.
  • Thank you Donna for showing me that I could have attractive female friends without needing to have sex with them.
  • Thank you Jeffrey and Jeffery for being people I could talk to about anything.
  • Thank you Mr. Packer for being so incompetent at 6th grade math as to make it a self-study course in which I learned I could
  • Thank you Hazel, Druscilla and Shawnee for being my first crushes.
  • I’m sorry Marion for not defending you against the terrible teasing we gave you.
  • Thank you Nathaniel, Tyrone and Stanley for bringing OLG to Mendel.
  • Thank you Carver for letting me roam your halls while not enrolled there and thus learn how to go anywhere I am not explicitly forbidden to be.
  • Thank you to my AG home boys for parting company with me when you started doing drugs.
  • Thank you Mr. Moss for demanding more of me academically at a time when I could do better.
  • Thank you Arthur for "Childhood's End", the first novel I ever had to read that didn't bore the crap out of me
  • Thank you Miss Sise for assigning it (and for being my first school boy crush)
  • Thank you Billy and Andy for being my home boys at Mendel Catholic.
  • Thank you James for the JBs
  • Thank you Mr. Curtin and Mr. Shields for making me think and write more deeply.
  • Thank you Dale, Mike, Henry and Paul for finishing ahead of me in our class.
  • Thank you Dzado for finishing behind me.
  • Thank you George for the Mothership
  • Thank you Nate for the Bell Labs Scholarship and admission to IIT.
  • Thank you Chris for bringing some of my class at Mendel to IIT and being my cool roommate.
  • Thank you Mark, Danny, Spencer, Cedric, Marc and Wild Dollar Bill for showing me the ropes at IIT.
  • Thank you Harold for being everybody’s anchor.
  • Thank you Herbie, Grover, Ronnie, Hubert, Roy et al for music to study by.
  • Thank you Stevie for the Key of Life.
  • Thank you all of the girls who dumped me by the 6 month mark.
  • Thank you BSO for some great parties.
  • Thank you Mr. Drukarev for reminding me that I actually love learning.
  • Thank you Johnetta for showing me my emotional limits.
  • Thank you Nila for being attractive and compassionate.
  • Thank you Greg for making me a comic book addict
  • Thank you Dr. Kraft for allowing me to see what I could do through senior year and grad school.
  • Thank you to all of the Asian students who came to me for help in grad school.
  • Thank you Bob for my first real job.
  • Thank you Bill for insisting I could do that job.
  • Thank you Mike for taking me under your wing at Bell.
  • Thank you Nila for asking me the questions that led to Rational Answers
  • Thank you Paul for 'Risky Business'
  • Thank you Jim for saving me from Schaumburg and bringing me into a great group of people.
  • Thank you Chris, Mark and John for teaching me that at work the rules are not absolute.
  • Thank you Nila for giving me an appreciation for dance (and for 'Live Nude Dancers').
  • Thank you Mike and Gary for being my work home boys.
  • Thank you Buddy for the '46 Defense' and the 1985 season.
  • Thank you Andrea for asking if I needed help
  • Thank you Kurt for ‘Breakfast of Champions’
  • Thank you Nila for Kamaal
  • Thank you Gail for delivering Kamaal
  • Thank you Kamaal for making me grow up
  • Thank you Ameritech for letting me go.
  • Thank you Fusion for picking me up.
  • Thank you Julie for Darwinian consulting, teaching me to juggle and being my favorite boss EVER!
  • Thank you Carolyn for confounding me.
  • Thank you Marco for showing me I had grown up a bit.
  • Thank you Iris for being smart and not knowing it.
  • Thank you Jody for pushing me to go to the CBOT
  • Thank you Sandy for being authentic
  • Thank you Dave for being so much better than your reputation.
  • Thank you Nila for reminding me its okay to use my brain away from the office.
  • Thank you Nila for Akilah
  • Thank you Gail for delivering Akilah
  • Thank you Akilah for being wonderful
  • Thank you Miles for ‘Kind of Blue’
  • Thank you Ryan for your persistence.
  • Thank you John for your optimism
  • Thank you Aaron for being a monstrously cool geek
  • Thank you Robin being crazy, yet somehow making it work
  • You’re welcome Martin for my suggestion that they make you our boss and thank you for not disappointing me (and for rehiring me later).
  • Thank you fellow Web Works / Net Quotient consultants for being a cohort worth going into battle with.
  • Thank you Dan for taking a chance
  • Thank you Sandy for your generosity
  • Thank you Alan, Hal, Paresh, Pooja, Sean, Steve and Todd for being the best software development team ever assembled (and some of my absolute favorite people).
  • Thank you Louisa for being awesome
  • Thank you Karen for making me think about spirit
  • Thank you Sandy for allowing me to live vicariously through your exploits
  • Thank you Nila for challenging me
  • Thank you Rob for underpaying me and knowing it
  • Thank you Rob and John for being there
  • Thank you Alan for ‘American Beauty’ and the finale of ‘Six Feet Under’
  • Thank you Drea for your honesty.
  • Thank you Karen for your insight.
  • Thank you Sandy for making time.
  • Thank you BlogNigger for trippin’ (and Karen for pointing him out to me)
  • Thank you Allison, Jason and Sarah for giving me hope that the generation between me and my kids will be able to keep those plates spinning.
Thank you one and all for helping me become me!!!


Karen said...

A happy, happy birthday to you, dear friend Kevin. Thank you for helping me clear a path to greater consciousness.

John Stoner said...

Yes, happ birthday, Kevin! And absolutely, thank you George for the Mothership! Hear, hear!

John Stoner said...

aack... that would be 'Happy birthday, Kevin.'

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