Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Happy Birthday David Alan


The Big 4-0, right?



Dearest David Alan,

I was talking about you today at work and I happened to have this picture of us handy on my computer (thanks to you). These people I work with don't know me well - what they know of me - is what I have allowed to be revealed over the past twenty months.

When they saw this picture, they assumed it was of my husband. I chuckled and then said - no way Homer! That's David Alan! It was like I was transported back to 1982 and you were right there next to me. I swear, I started talking all Valley Girl like (or maybe I just imagined I did).

So anyway, people saw this picture and they were like - who is he and why do you two look like you stepped off of a wedding cake?

I was stumped. How much to tell? I mean, here I am 42 - it's your birthday - and I'm not sure I can do justice by describing who you are and what you mean to me in - like - three sentences or less.

So this is what I said.

I have known David Alan since before the beginning of time. He contributed significantly to my sanity during those John Hughes - Coming-of-Age-Years. He is someone whom I go for five years without talking to and three seconds later, it's like no time has gone by.

In a nutshell, David Alan is an extension of my heart, mind, and soul (in the most non-romantic way).

As you can imagine, people just looked at me like I was a freak, but, I figured that it was better than trying to describe why band practices, Uncle Jimmy's house, and the green jacket - all had significant relevance to me, my life, and my existence.

I love you David. Thank you for being my color purple. Here's to another 40 + years of us.

clink

P.S. I really did have this ready to post on your real birthday - I just didn't get to post until after midnight :(

3 comments:

Joe said...

I don't even know you guys and I found this to be very touching and very happy - nice!

by DAVID SPEAKMAN - said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
by DAVID SPEAKMAN - said...

I must say - that sharing my teen years with you as an "accidentally found" soul mate made my life bearable in the mid-1980s.

True examples of Generation X - we were basically unwanted or forgotten children who raised and parented each other since the adults in our lives were either unwilling or not up to the task themselves.

We both were talented, intelligent people unlucky enough to be from from broken homes with absent or overwhelmed parents.

Countless nights - over the phone - we would instinctively cling to each other like those orphaned baby monkeys in laboratories do to a ragged teddy bear.

Friedrich Nietzsche was right - we not only lived through a dual and shared hell as teens and survived, we both emerged stronger and went on to live lives that, in reality, are much more happy and fulfilling than our childish teen dreams could have imagined.

We helped each other stay optimistic even through the bleakest times and never let ourselves become bitter and broken by the hand life dealt us or by others who tried to pigeon-hole us as "less than" them.

It's really odd. I look back at those years as some of my most joyful and happy times. But when I tell it to those close to me now, I get sympathetic looks of pity from them.

They do not understand. You truly have the type of indomitable spirit that is normally - and falsely ascribed upon others; you are the real deal. I fed on that and attempted to add my own optimism and sense of humor so that together, we were an unstoppable team in high school.

Luckily we figured out rather quickly in our friendship that our attraction to each other was more familial than romantic. That realization let our bond get closer and last longer than it would have otherwise.

The days I had you there as my best friend in high school were the only happy days I had in a school where at best I went unnoticed and at worst, I was the victim of severe and violent bullying for being too weird to fit in.

You know, one day I may even forgive you for being a year ahead of me and leaving me to fend for myself my senior year. But, luckily by the time you left, we had built up a protective wall of courage and hope around me that neither passive-aggressive naysayer family nor ego-crushing foe could dismantle before I escaped to college to truly find the path that would lead me to become the man I am today.

It is quite odd in retrospect that our separate careers in college after we lost touch followed very similar paths. We both started in the arts before moving on to business-related majors.

We both were very active in leadership positions in student government - you at IPFW and me at Ball State. We both ran for Student Body President - you won; I lost by 12 votes (ARG!).

And we both studied law in grad school.

Finally - we both broke the family cycle of our parents and each remain in committed, caring long-term marriages.

--

So by now, decades have passed and we are truly middle aged (if you use the definition that middle age is when your age multiplied by 2 is an age when most people are dead by natural causes).

And, as of February 4, we are both in our 40s.

[Well, I prefer to call myself thirty-ten. I figure, if you can be thirty-nine, you can be thirty-ten, right?]

---

On that picture of us:

I'm sure you'll be pleased to know it was very popular in college. I had this whole story concocted that I was "secretly" married at 17 .. or 18 ... or 19 .. (it changed to suit my mood) and had about 100 wild stories about what happened to my "wife."

I'd keep making the story more and more fanciful until my new friends - those who never met you - would finally realize that they were being told a tall tale.

--

I do love you Kristina Michele, and am thankful you are in my life. Without having you there for those crucial teen years, I have no doubt I would have eventually succumbed to the life of drugs and alcohol that ruined the future promise of many of our classmates.

Please give your husband and child a hug from me. And give a big hug to yourself, too!

(replaces previous comment - which had a fatal typo)