The urinary fluorescence of twelve men!

Posted June 21, 2010 by Matthew
Categories: Uncategorized

Regular readers of this web log will doubtless have concluded (correctly) that my eating habits are not especially… balanced.  My nutrition is far from terrible, but I’d be lying if I said I paid nearly enough attention to it.  So, in the interest of preventing scurvy, and on the recommendation of several friends who are into such things, I have begun taking a daily multi-vitamin.

I believe this officially marks my passage into geriatria.

(Don’t worry; that isn’t a real word.)

But, this isn’t a discussion about my fading youth.  I’ll save that for an upcoming entry about my recent efforts to start jogging again.

Instead, this post is about a rather unexpected side-effect of multi-vitamins.  It turns out that vitamin supplements often give you more than the amount of vitamins required daily for good health.  The idea is, basically, that as long as the extra isn’t dangerous, there’s no harm in taking more than you need, just in case.  After all, there are varying opinions on the value and effectiveness of vitamins, so why not err on the side of caution and be sure you’re getting plenty?

The excess isn’t dangerous, because your body just uses what it needs and gets rid of the rest.  No harm, no foul, right?  Except for a rather awkward moment, when you realise something a bit distressing:

Vitamins make you pee Gatorade.

Yep.

The first time it happened I ran straight to my family doctor with a description of the symptoms.  Unfortunately, since my family doctor is Google with “SafeSearch” disabled, my initial diagnosis was a long and somewhat baffling variety of urine-related pornography.  A slightly more specific search string, though, confirmed my hope that this is just a regular and un-dangerous side effect of my vitamin supplement.  It turns out that some vitamins aren’t clear, and so if you don’t absorb the supplement fully, the stuff that remains will leave the same colour it came in.  Apparently, vitamin B2, Riboflavin, is a particularly unnatural and distressing hue of yellow-orange.

To be sure, I checked the label on my supplement.  On the back of the bottle are listed the various vitamins, and the percentage of my daily recommended intake provided in one pill.  Niacin, 125%; okay.  Folic Acid, 100%; good.  Vitamin C, 300%; well, it doesn’t hurt to be sure.  Riboflavin… 1,176%.

What the freaking hell, man?

No wonder my urine is the colour of a glow-stick at a rave; I’m getting the nutrition of twelve guys.  The bright, neon-yellow nutrition of twelve guys.  I suppose I should consider myself lucky that my bladder doesn’t glimmer ominously through my belly.

I understand that there is theoretically no harm in large doses of these vitamins.  The body is (obviously) more than capable of removing the unnecessary nutrition.  But, just whom are these vitamins for that someone might actually want or use  a twelve-fold daily dose?  This is an over-the-counter vitamin supplement purchased in healthy, happy suburbia.  No one is taking this vitamin and air-dropping it into a famine zone.

I’m also a bit curious about what I need with 6,667% of my daily recommended intake of Thiamin.  Offhand, that dosage seems a little excessive, but at least the stuff is apparently a more subdued colour.  I should really find out what it’s good for, though.  If it helps ovulation or something, I’m probably not getting the full benefit.

(That wasn’t a typo, by the way.  This pill actually has in it enough Thiamin for 67 guys.  One pill could get an entire infantry division ovulating nicely, or somesuch.)

But, my doctor tells me (in the form of websites whose connections to the vitamin industry one can’t help but wonder about) that this supplement is perfectly safe, and that urine with the shine of an emergency flare is a perfectly normal and healthy reaction.  Still, I get the vague impression that I’m being sold the solution to a problem I don’t have,

(and, frankly, the guy whose problem is alleviated by 67 times the recommended dosage of Thiamin probably has bigger concerns)

but since I’ve bought the pills, and my overall nutrition is indeed pretty spotty, I’ll keep with this for awhile. It certainly seems, though, that nutritional supplements like these vitamins might best be administered under the advice of a doctor who doesn’t initially direct a patient to Photoshopped images of Lindsey Lohan peeing on a Japanese schoolgirl.

(Or, maybe not Photoshopped.  Who am I to judge?)

It says something, perhaps, that an entire thriving industry exists around rather apocryphal notions of nutritional inadequacy.  Preventative medicine is a good thing, of course, but one wonders if this is a case of the cure motivating the condition.  Can so many people really be eating so badly that a giant aisle at the drug store is necessary to keep everyone supplied with sufficient vitamins?  I can’t help but feel like I’m once again being convinced that I want something I don’t need or even have a meaningful use for.

(That reminds me, those new iPhones look sweet, don’t they?)

But, I bought this supplement just in case.  I suppose it’s not especially expensive, for peace of mind, but it would be even cheaper not to stress about probably-nonexistent health concerns in the first place.  However, even if the supplement doesn’t help, it probably doesn’t hurt, and if I can get over the desperate, clutching fear of my own urine, I should be fine.

So, I continue with my daily vitamin habit.  I don’t feel any different for the moment, but I also don’t feel the onset of scurvy, so maybe I’m on the right track.  And, I’m not sure, but maybe my ovaries do feel a little healthier.

Here be jerks

Posted June 15, 2010 by Matthew
Categories: Uncategorized

So, yesterday I was standing in line at the drug store.  It was the usual long line, filled with the usual bored and indifferent people, waiting for the usual slightly-overworked cashiers to get through everyone.

Then, this fellow walked right up, past the line, and put a couple of small items on the counter to buy.  When the cashier politely informed him of the queue, he replied, “I’m just buying a few little things and I’m in a hurry.”  The teller, to her credit, was unfazed, and withstood the queue-jumper’s increasing insistence until he eventually announced that if they didn’t want his business he would take his money elsewhere, and left in somewhat of a huff.  The teller (doing that thing only underpaid, overworked cashiers can do, where she managed perfectly to emote sighing and rolling her eyes somehow without any actual noise or movement) called the next person.

It’s easy enough to write off such moments as one of those random encounters with weirdos that we all have every now and then (especially for those of us who frequently take the bus).  This time, though, the fellow in question wasn’t (at least, seemingly) a local oddball.  He was young, clean, wearing clothes that probably marked him as an office worker, perhaps on his lunch break.  He spoke normally, even eloquently, didn’t act drunk or stoned, didn’t have his penis hanging out or a shoe on his head.  He was just a regular guy, to all appearances — a regular guy who, somehow, got it into his head that the world revolved around him, and that he was more important than all the people waiting in line.

I used to be confused by such people.  You have to be quite the jerk, I thought, to wander through the world expecting (and demanding) that events fall into line neatly with your desires, regardless of what anyone around you might want.

Anyone who has ever lived in a student residence has seen this happen.  There are always people who are pleasant, smart, and polite, but who somehow just don’t understand why they get asked to turn down their booming stereo at three in the morning before a final-exam day.  I once saw two of my neighbours almost start a fistfight after the following conversation in the hallway early in the morning:

“JUST A SMALL-TOWN GIIIIIIIRRRRRRL…”
“Hey, man, what the hell?”
“LIVIN’ IN A LONELY WOOOOOOOORLD…”
“It’s 6am and I have an exam in four hours.  Could you possibly not…”
“SHE TOOK THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN, GOIN’ AAAAAAANYYYYYYWHERE.”
“Hey!  Shut up!  I’m sleeping!”
“JUST A CITY BO… what?  Dude, what’s your problem?”
“I have an exam in a few hours and I’d really like to go back to sleep, please.”
“I like to sing in the morning.”
“Just shut up so I can go back to sleep.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?  I’m just singing.  I didn’t do anything to you.”
“You woke me up!!”
“I like to sing in the morning.”

Fortunately, another neighbour (oddly enough, also awake) intervened between the two just before the moment became ugly.

The guy who likes to sing is a nice guy.  But, he just couldn’t grasp that singing in the hall at six in the morning is uncool.  If he wants it, then it must be fine.  That’s how it works, right?

It’s easy to blame self-centered students on them being young, and maybe spoiled.  “That’s just stupid kids being stupid.”  But, it’s a cop-out (and vaguely discriminatory) to blame this on youth; adults do it too, just as often if not more.  Mr. I’m-too-important-for-lines-at-the-shop was certainly old enough to know better.  And, when it comes right down to it, most crime is really just an extension of the idea that what is important to one person is worth more than what is important to another.  For that matter, most of the economic policies that maintain the wealthy at the expense of, well, everyone else, are based on the same principle.

So, in my head I’m mostly trying to decide if the correct analysis for all of this is a rather simple, “Some people are really selfish.”  Part of me likes that idea because it blames our bad behaviour on basic human nature, and also because it makes the guy cutting in line at the store an example of everything wrong with mankind.

But, that raises the question of how we could all be like that.  If people are generally selfish (which, to at least some degree, is probably true), then how do some people learn to be so righteously indignant about it?  You can’t watch everyone else thinking that the world revolves around them, and then conclude that it must therefore revolve around you.  That learning pattern might work if everyone were unabashedly and un-hypocritically selfish, but many people (like store-guy, or hallway-singing chap) are completely unaware of how self-centered their perspective is.  You don’t naïvely assume the spotlight as a result of watching other people do the same, because obviously not everyone can have a spotlight.

But, it also can’t simply be that some people are spoiled and wealthy.  I know plenty of wealthy people, and many are spoiled, but not all of them are over-expectant whiners.  And, I also know plenty of people who act like selfish jerks but aren’t especially wealthy or coddled.  I’ve actually got to wonder where some people get their sense of entitlement, because I’ve seen people who have nothing and achieve little (and will likely never amount to anything) walk around like they own the place.

(And, sometimes it works.  We’ve all seen the short pudgy guy leave the bar with the hot girl just because he acted like an arrogant prick all night.  Protip: women go for arrogant pricks.)

So, there might be a correlation between being spoiled and feeling entitled, but it’s hardly an absolute connection.  And, it’s probably also not as simple as behaviour being validated with rewards — I really doubt that Line-Cut Guy would have found a different response anywhere else.

So, where does this come from?  Is it really as simple as, “Some people are jerks”?

My theory is that it’s universal.  All people suck, but we only notice it when they suck in a way that we personally find particularly annoying.  Everyone does thoughtless things, and by definition we don’t really understand that we’re doing it.  Being thoughtless doesn’t make you a bad person (although, of course, you might independently be a bad person); it just makes you human.  That doesn’t make it a right and proper thing to completely ignore the perspectives of the people around you, but it does mean that you’re somewhat less evil than Hitler.  Good people aren’t the ones who never do anything wrong; they’re just the people who do their best to stifle it.

That sounds pessimistic, but it’s really not.  Yes, it’s basic human nature to be a jerk.  But, the way we regularly go about our lives without being incessantly bothered by thoughtless losers shows pretty clearly that in general people are good at stifling their less considerate impulses.  This distinction is important, because it re-frames what it means to not annoy everyone around you. No one is inherently and magically a wonderful person — people have to put thought and energy into being considerate.  It’s important to remember that getting along takes some effort.  Not that we shouldn’t expect it, but we should also be appreciative when it happens.  And, maybe we could stand to be a little forgiving when someone has a bad day and just doesn’t have the fortitude to worry about the rest of the world.

I bet even Gandhi peed on the toilet seat every now and then.

What am I doing here, exactly?

Posted June 8, 2010 by Matthew
Categories: Uncategorized

If you go right back to my first blog post last year, you’ll see where I note that writing a web-log is a new thing for me.  Frankly, when I started I didn’t really expect anyone to read this, and for a few days the sub-title of this column was a sexually-inappropriate (and rather explicit) reference that I changed in a hurry when I saw that I was actually getting traffic.  I’ll always wonder if my first few readers found this blog by accident while Googling the particular act that was mentioned.  But, perhaps the less said about that, the better.

At any rate, while the intent of this blog has always been just for me to wax philosophical (or simply rant) about whatever’s going through my head on a given day, I noticed quite early that there is an odd balance to maintain in allowing my personal life to inspire a topic without making my personal life the topic itself.  I’m not keen to reveal too much about myself (although careful reading actually implies an awful lot of the details) because I’m not trying to write a diary or autobiography, and I’m not trying (at least consciously or intentionally) to share myself with strangers.  On the other hand, some of you clearly know who I am, and that gives me a completely different thing to be careful about — several of these entries reference things that actually happened to me, and therefore anyone I mention (even vaguely or cryptically) in a post could potentially end up reading that post, or (even worse) someone else could recognize a person I write about.

“Hey Jim, you don’t happen to read Matthew’s blog, by any chance?”

“Matt has a blog?  I had no idea.  No, I don’t read it.  Why do you ask?”

“Oh, no real reason.  It’s just that he talks about this stupid moron he knows, this guy who’s really stupid, and a moron, and who smells, and who is totally unpopular, and Matt hates him and paid a guy $100 to rip off his ears and make it look like baguette-cutting accident.”

“Oh, that’s interesting.”

“Yeah, it’s a good read; you should have a look.  Hey, how are those ear-stumps healing?”

So, I’m very aware that if I write about things that I know or see, I’m also writing about my life.  It’s not as easy as it seems to keep these posts about my ideas and not about me.

The question, I suppose, is what this blog is actually supposed to be, and who it’s actually written for.  Some blogs amount to commercial online newspaper columns, written on a specific topic, and the writer is putting his knowledge out there (and not so much himself) for a specific audience that is interested in a specific topic.  On the opposite end, some people use blogs as diaries (private, or not), an opportunity to document their experiences for personal fulfillment or to let friends and family follow their lives.  I’m not personally a big fan of this kind of blog, because it often gives me the feeling that I don’t rate enough time and attention to actually be told how someone is doing.

But, then, diary blogs are really little different from posting details of your life on Facebook or other social-networking sites, and I’m apparently willing to do that.

This raises the question of why I’m putting myself “out there” in the first place if I don’t want anyone to see me when I do it.  To me it seems that mostly I just like writing and feel a vague urge to do a little of it every now and then, to see my words on the page; it’s a little like talking just to hear the sound of your own voice, something that I also do, probably more often than I realise.  On the other hand, I could also be a giant fleshy sack full of repressed desires fighting for release and recognition.  I don’t think I’m like that, but then I probably wouldn’t.  If I have a post in a few weeks titled “Hey everyone, I’m really gay!” then you’ll know that everything up to that point was just beating around the bush (ahem).  Of course, I’m not gay.  But, then, all this denial certainly suggests otherwise.  Although, I’m not.  Not gay.  That is.

Why am I even thinking about all this?  Well, frankly, you people are actually reading this blog, for some reason.  I can’t imagine why.  I like to think that the quality of writing has something to do with it, but for all I know, it’s just a bunch of people who don’t like me personally checking every couple of days to see what damn fool thing I said this time.  Although, I’m personally aware of exactly two people who know me and read this blog, so I’ve got to think that a clear majority of my regular readers have never met me.  Knowing I actually have an audience who return with some regularity to see what I’ve written forces me to think about what I want to say, show, or acknowledge.  I’ve actually got several posts saved as drafts that I’ll probably never put online, simply because they feel too personal, or too clearly refer to people in my life.

So, I want to put enough of myself out there that I’m interesting and worth paying attention to, but not enough that I feel vulnerable or exposed.  That… sounds like pretty much how everyone goes through life, doesn’t it?  That’s not a blogging mentality; that’s a living mentality.  When I look at it like that, I suppose it makes a little more sense that it’s tricky to find a happy balance between interesting and vulnerable.

(And, before anyone thinks, “But, vulnerable can be interesting,” consider how you would feel if I started my next post with “So, I have a rash on my junk.”)

(I don’t, by the way.  Have a rash.)

One person has already told me that holding back personal details is actually part of the allure of my blog, as if I’m some sort of interesting mystery or puzzle to be figured out with careful reading.  I kind of like the idea that I’m a sexy enigma; it’s almost certainly a more interesting image than I’d foster with accurate details.  In the meantime, I’m fairly happy to just treat this blog as a metaphor for life, balancing information and privacy while I babble about whatever strikes me as interesting or annoying at the moment.  And, if a little bit of sexy rompecabezas sneaks in there as well, then I suppose I won’t complain.

Maybe I do have a rash.  Isn’t the mystery exciting?

(Definitely not gay, though.  Really.)

Purple is the new orange

Posted June 3, 2010 by Matthew
Categories: Uncategorized

The first time I watched this video, I didn’t guess the correct answer; I was as confounded as Cookie Monster.  This embarrasses me, and I still feel Kermit’s palsied indignation weighing on my soul.  There might be no one in the world I would less like to disappoint.

Cookie Monster’s logic isn’t exactly unreasonable, however. Maybe it’s the result of the artificial sensations in our modern lifestyles, or perhaps the cause is simple semantic drift, but the happy synesthesia linking colours, tastes, and objects has fragmented and mutated.

Yesterday, I asked some first-graders what flavour grape candy is.  The answer?  Purple.

And, I agree with them.  Grape candy isn’t grape-flavoured.  I would argue that most grape juice isn’t either.  Go eat a grape, then pop a Jolly Rancher in your mouth; they aren’t even close.  Most food products with grapes on the packaging are actually purple-flavoured.

Cookie Monster wasn’t slow or stupid to miss what was in the box from the clues he was given.  Rather, Cookie Monster represents a dissociative sensibility in which the contextuality of a simpler time has been surpassed by our contemporary sense of diversity and variety.  In rejecting the associations of the past, Cookie Monster is the modern zeitgeist

Although, he was just plain wrong about it being a cookie.

Not a bang, but…

Posted May 31, 2010 by Matthew
Categories: Uncategorized

Graduation from university is a considerable achievement.  Whether or not the experience provided genuine challenge, and whether or not it conveyed stronger skills or character of any sort, a university degree nonetheless entails the satisfaction of a process that takes years, and sometimes just the act of crossing the finish line is impressive, whether or not you ran an especially good race.

So, one would expect that graduation ceremonies would properly reflect the scope of this achievement.  Fireworks.  Brass bands.  Prostitutes.

(the pretty ones, not the cheap ones with missing teeth)

Yes, one would expect that.

Last week I went to five graduation ceremonies, because I have a fair number of friends who completed their degrees this year.  I would possibly have been to more, but a few just happened at bad times, or even directly conflicted with one another.

(One might imagine me, eager-to-please but confounded, standing between two close friends, each luring me to one graduation ceremony or the other with promises of treats and affection.  “Here, boy!  We all know you love me more!”  “No, here boy!  I bought this shiny new Playstation game for you!”  Actually, both times I had to choose I went to the ceremony with the most comfortable seats.)

Now, graduation ceremonies are a little like sex: they take hours but lead up to one especially nice ten-second moment.  The thing about sex, though, is that the rest of the time is still great fun; with graduation ceremonies, not so much.  If I’m going to be sitting there for two hours waiting for the person I actually know and like to walk across the stage, the least I deserve is something more interesting than my shoe to look at in the meanwhile.  Instead, most commencement ceremonies are the rough equivalent of that boring sexual encounter where you spent most of the time trying to remember what the fourth thing was that you needed to pick up at the store after yogurt, apples, and orange juice.

(It’s always milk, by the way.  No one can ever remember milk.)

After one ceremony, a friend asked me how many others I’d been to.  I answered five, which would have been correct a few days later, but that day had actually been the third.  Why did I mistakenly answer five?  Probably because the other two were just that long and boring.

I’m not blaming the school, exactly.  Certainly, these days a public university can hardly afford fireworks and Dixie bands.  Even the financially-stable private school across town has been forced to cut back the caviar and flame-jets at graduation.  The problem, really, is that commencement ceremonies, pretty much by definition, aren’t actually for anyone there.  Obviously, we’re all, audience and graduates alike, there for a reason.  But, that reason is always one person, or a perhaps a few, and not the entire thing, not all the other people, and certainly not the commencement address by a prominent personage whose achievements unfortunately do not include lessons in effective public speaking.  As such, there is literally no one at that ceremony with a reason to be there for the entire event (or, in fact, more than about ten seconds of it) beyond pure politeness.

It is, sadly, considered rude to rush into a ceremony at the half-way mark, loudly conclude, “Ah, they’re doing the N’s now; we showed up just in time!” and then leave just as abruptly minutes later: “I’m so happy for Bill.  Let’s get out of here before we have to watch any of these other losers graduate.”

I like to think that if someone actually did that, I would mentally reproach them.  Honestly, though, I would probably just be enormously jealous that I hadn’t done the same.

Regardless, because we’re so determined to be polite, we all sit there, for the whole thing.  We try to stir some emotion for the dozens — perhaps hundreds — of people we don’t know, but in the end we never do; those are total strangers down there graduating, and frankly we just don’t give a rat’s fuzzy butt about them.

Now, this post sounds like a rather strict condemnation of the whole commencement process.  That’s actually not what I’m trying to convey here, and several of the ceremonies I attended this year were reasonably interesting, at least by the standards of the genre.  The fact remains, though, that these events really are rather a trial for everyone involved, and I have never yet met, heard about, or even seen speculated to exist anyone who has ever attended a university graduation ceremony with rapt enjoyment.  That’s just not how it goes.

But I still attend these things.  Why?

Well, the strawberries and cookies afterwards are good.

But mostly, I figure it like this: if these people can spend four years, or more, getting their degree, then I can forego a few hours of my life to show that I noticed the achievement.  Yes, it’s boring.  Oh my god is it boring.  But, the whole ceremony is a perfectly appropriate metaphor for a university experience that is itself mostly wasted time interrupted by rare moments of what you actually went there to get.

I care about these people enough to remind them that I care.  If graduation ceremonies were fun, it wouldn’t mean anything to be there.  In point of fact, these university departments are arguably doing a poor job just by making the ceremonies as tolerable as they are.  If, for example, every ceremony started with kicking each audience member in the groin, I would be more able to remind these people how much I like them.  I’m quite certain that even in these tough economic times, public universities can afford to hire vagrants to kick the friends and family of graduates in the groin.

So, graduation ceremonies are like sex, and like the entire university experience, which is therefore also like sex, which is also like being kicked in the groin.  No wonder people work so hard to get into good schools; who wants to spend four years sleeping with an ugly person, just to get kicked in the groin?

Which, again, raises the issue of why there are no hookers at these things.

Worst. Pain. Ever.

Posted May 22, 2010 by Matthew
Categories: Uncategorized

Nicking yourself with a knife while you are preparing food hurts.

However, there is no pain the world worse than nicking yourself with a knife while slicing lemons.  It is the worst pain ever.  Ever.

Oh my god it still hurts as I type this, and it happened half an hour ago.

I’m sure some of my female readers are reflexively counter-arguing with that hoary old chestnut of an example, childbirth.  Well, you’re wrong.  Nicking yourself while slicing lemons hurts worse than childbirth.

Although, I’ll concede that, hypothetically,  giving birth to a lemon might be worse.

Happy Birthday, Pepito!

Posted May 12, 2010 by Matthew
Categories: Uncategorized

Today is my friend Pepito’s birthday.  He’s 22: “I feel like 22 gives me drinking street cred. Like, it’s proof that I didn’t get drunk for the first time last week, which is what most people seem to think 21 means.”

(His name isn’t actually Pepito.  To protect his identity, reputation, and delicate future as an overworked document monkey, I generously describe him with a pseudonym.)

He makes an interesting point.  Pepito is a success by almost any standard.  He attends a prestigious law school, will shortly start an impressive law-type summer job, and is many times more together with himself and his life than I was at 22.  He can also grow a better beard than I could then.  Or can now.

But, he’s right about how people view his age.  At 21, you’re automatically a scrub, pretty much entirely because an arbitrary milestone (that in many countries happens years earlier) is recently crossed.  Now, his birthday last year wasn’t exactly a showpiece of mature restraint, but that was hardly because it was his first time drinking.  He was, in fact, celebrating his newly-legal drinking age extra-hard mostly because it was such an arbitrary convention — it’s not like he was drinking for the first time, and it’s not like the sleazy bar at which he celebrated was really a special accomplishment to enter legally.  But, because he was turning 21, a social benchmark, he got drunk off his ass and needed help to pee.

(Not my help, thankfully)

And, now he’s 22, and still feeling the social expectations of being 21 even as he escapes them.  It shows the kind of weight that gets put on 21 that it becomes both a goal and a stigma at the same time.  A 20-year-old drinking is cool; “Look how slick I am, just barely flaunting a widely-ignored law.”  A 21-year-old, though, is just a scrub; “Now that I can legally buy beer, I’m starting to notice that beer tastes gross.”

22, though, should represent some measure of freedom for poor Pepito.  Now, he is officially a real adult, and not just some sort of stunted trial adult.  He officially gets his “grown-up” merit badge, and can enter society as a productive and useful contributor.  He begins a grown-up job shortly, even if just for the summer, and that is kind of a big deal; he may not magically become a different person just because he is officially one year older, but a summer of cocaine and hookers will probably get him up to speed.

So, why am I babbling about all of this?  Yes, turning 21, or 22 (or 16, or 40, or whatever) may be just an arbitrary milestone, something socially-conditioned like a Hallmark holiday.  But, (like those holidays), all that really matters is that we take the milestone to heart and use it as a reason to move forward. Pepito is going to remember today for a long time,

(There may be… gaps, but he’ll still remember not remembering.  And, YouTube and Facebook can do wonders for preserving interesting details)

and he’s going to remember it surrounded by people who care about him and wish him well.  And we, in turn, will always try to remember him as the idealistic and hopeful friend who turned 22, and not as the burned-out syphilitic wreck that will doubtless return to us after a summer at the firm.

So, happy birthday Pepito!  May your birthday leave you with all the memories you hope for (and none of the ones you don’t…), and may the coming year bring you all the happiness and success that you deserve.

But, seriously, shave the beard you freaking hippie, at least for your birthday.