I don’t wish Jared Fogle any specific harm. He seems like a nice guy, and I can’t fault him for beating the low-fat corpse of Subway’s dead horse for as long as he can. It’s also not his fault that he and I have the same first name and similar visage, and that when people meet me for the first time they usually say, ‘Hey, like the Subway guy!’
Learning that Britney Spears and I share the same birthday was disturbing. Recently discovering that Jared Fogle is exactly one day older than me was freaky, and has pushed me that much closer to joining the legions of rabid Jared Fogle Sucks mercenaries.
Yet despite his wealth, power, and horde of foot-long-bearing super-models, there’s no way that Jared Fogle’s 30th birthday was better than mine.
I won’t go into the details of how the wool was pulled over my eyes, except to say that my wife is very clever and I am not. Somehow my wife was able to wrangle a surprise party at the (real) greatest place on earth, complete with pizza, cake, and nearly forty members of my family and friends.
I felt stupid, embarrassed, and dearly loved. If I was speechless, it was because I nearly cried, and wouldn’t have been able to stop.
And as I wandered in a daze, blushing and hugging, my circuit through the crowd was punctuated with small arms around my legs and flashes of sandy-blonde hair. ‘Happy birthday, Daddy!’ Again and again. ‘Happy birthday, Daddy!’
A twenty-something friend asked me how it felt to be thirty. I replied quickly, confidently: ‘Settled.’ Like Saturday mornings in bed, when I won’t move because I can’t, my body at last in that position, arm here, leg there, covers warm, sleeping but not. The instant before Ian opens our bedroom door, or the instant after, when he crawls beside me. Comfortable, secure, correctly placed.
Ten years ago I acknowledged my birthday in solitude, with a new clock radio and extra-large pizza. Ten years later I celebrated with siblings, dads, moms, babies, toddlers, friends, an aunt, an uncle, a niece, co-workers, co-workers’ spouses, a sweet-natured son, a loving and lovely wife, several pulled muscles, and pizza.
Some things never change. Thankfully, others do.