Thursday, March 04, 2010

It's that time to start thinking of leaving a legacy

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

If you were wondering why church bells are ringing across the country this morning, why the pope is on every television channel blessing everyone, and why schools are closed, it's because today's my birthday!

Yes, (an unspecified number of) years ago today, my gigantic pumpkin-sized head necessitated a caesarean section for my poor suffering mother in an operating room at The Moncton Hospital that's probably been long-since renovated into a morgue, gift shop or waiting room.

Since that eventful day, the world has been a much better place. Angels started getting their wings whenever a telephone rang, leprechauns who saw their shadows on St. Patrick's Day predicted six more weeks of August, and the Easter Bunny flew around the world with eight tiny reindeer giving each good girl and boy a bag full of Halloween candy. Yes, my birth set in motion a wonderful domino effect of good fortune.

Oh, maybe I'm not getting my holidays totally correct, but you get the drift. The sun is shining out of my you-know-what and I'm not afraid to gloat a little bit.

I just wish I had birthday parties like I did when I was a kid. I'd have friends over. We'd have cake, pop and ice cream. As an adult, I'd have parties, too. I'd even have cake. The pop, however, was replaced by wine. Sometimes lots of wine. Sometimes way... way... way too much wine.

And then my pumpkin head would return -- but only because I'd have a hangover. Luckily, God gifted me with the affliction of "hangover horribilis," so I pretty much get a hangover every time I whisper the word "booze." These days, when people tell me they're going to "tie one on," I just say, "No thanks!"

These days, the cake is gone, thanks to a low-carb diet. The wine is pretty much gone thanks to a very sensitive pumpkin head. The pop is gone because I rarely drink it anymore. Lately, I pretty much content myself with being treated to a few meals from friends and family, maybe a card from the office (I'll know they forgot my birthday when I hear, "Oh my God! We forgot Brian's birthday!" as I hear the sound of newspaper pages rustling while someone reads this column. That's OK. No harm done. I take cash or cheques -- and first-born children, too, but only if they're cute.)

Birthdays in my family were never a huge deal. We kids would all get a cake. I seem to remember giving my mother breakfast in bed for her birthday a few times. My father would always get strawberry shortcake since he was born in July and his mother would always make that for him -- strawberry season, don't ya know.

I think birthdays are great, even though they've become a much calmer affair as I've aged. I'm just as happy to be treated to lunch at a nice restaurant rather than waking up naked in a ditch clutching an empty tequila bottle in one hand and my passport in another -- all while being stared at by some stranger wearing a sombrero and riding a donkey. "Do joo need help, meester?"

I've always felt like I'm just getting started in life, but lately I've been getting the feeling like that's getting pretty old. While others my age are getting within a decade or so of (very) early retirement, that's not even on the horizon for me. I'll probably still be writing this column from my nursing home bed. I'll be lying there practically bed-ridden by the ravages of old age, but I'll be darned if I'm going to miss my deadline.

I'll have some sort of system set up where I just have to blink Morse code into a computer or something along those lines. I'll make jokes about my diaper not getting changed on time and about how I've outlived six roommates in the last month -- three of them who met untimely deaths after I accidentally knocked their respirator plugs out of the wall with my walker on the way to the bathroom.

Well, at least that's what I figured happened to them. At that age, and with a prostate the size of a bowling ball, it would take me so long to pee that they could have died and been buried by the time I got back from the bathroom. "That's funny... the buds were just opening in the trees when I went to pee, and now the Christmas lights are up around the neighbourhood and it's snowing." And Bob-with-the-heart-condition who was in the bed next to me is now George-with-the-bad-kidneys.

But I digress... I'm not old, but it's time to stop feeling like I'm just getting started in life and actually do something that will leave a legacy. I dunno, maybe open my own amusement park -- BrianLand. I have no idea what it would look like, I just know that people would spend an awful lot of time upside down on rides so that I could pick up all their spare change on the ground afterwards. A guy's gotta eat!

Actually, I want to be disgustingly rich. I don't mean just the kind of rich that you have enough money to pay your bills. I mean the kind of rich -- like Oprah rich -- where you use $100 bills to towel yourself off after a shower. The indoor pool in your house is filled with gold coins that you go swimming in every night like Donald Duck's Uncle Scrooge did in the comics. I'd want a house so big that it would have its own airport used for flights from one end of the house to the other.

I don't believe someone when they say you can have too much money. That's just crazy talk. So yeah, for my birthday, I wanna be filthy rich.

And, maybe this year, someone can give me the gun I'll need to rob the bank that will be giving me all this money, too. Just remember to put a file in my cake next year.

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