26 March 2007

Extra-Special Birthday Edition!!!

No, no, no. It's not my birthday. Not yet, anyway. It is, rather, that time of year around which all of my friends have selfishly decided to arrange their birth dates. Let's get organized here, people! Couldn't we spread them out just a little more, and maybe make them a little less immediately-after-Christmas? I swear, it's like the holidays begin for me a marathon of gift-giving every year. And I forget more birthdays than I remember! Totally; totally. I'm awful. You have to be known by me for, like, at least ten years before I start saying to you: "Wait. Wait. Isn't your birthday some time this month?"

Case in point: My adopted brother (adopted by me, that is), "Anonymous," just had his thirtieth last Friday, and I failed to plan for it. Granted, I didn't hear about the party until about a week beforehand, but I should have been better prepared all the same. I should have realized the significance of this year and--when A Lie of the Mind schedule conflicts were being arranged--included March 23rd as a no-go date for rehearsal. Alas, I did not, and so missed the digging of the shin.

I can be short-sighted like that, but it's also possible that I'm in denial. Anonymous' birthday kicks off the birthday schedule for my troika of oldest friends, affectionately dubbed by my mother as "The Three Musketeers." Anonymous is in March, I in June and Mark chimes in in August (It is August, right, buddy? [Man. Do I suck.]). This year, we are thirty. Ye Gods, the wonder of a round number.

It may not be wonderful, or even wondrous, yet the turning over of another decade of this life makes for some serious reflection. Even eschewing the coincidental little deadlines I set for myself at a very sage 21 years of age (see 2/5/07), Year Thirty holds some significance for me. It holds significance in the universal subconscious as well. Jesus is widely believed to have begun his ministry in earnest 'round about that year of his life. Hamlet is often interpreted to be just thirty when he begins contemplating his readiness. And, of course, there was that hit television extravaganza that took the airwaves by storm for about a season and a half. My hope had been to celebrate my thirtieth year since kicking and screaming into this world in Italia, busking in Piazza Navona, Roma. As time inexorably jogs forward, however, the prospect of that trip grows slimmer and slimmer. Nigh anorexic. Leaving me with the question: What, then, can I do to celebrate whatever it is I am and do on that very special day?

I put it out to the universe. But it is not for this reason I 'blog at you today. Nor is it to point up the bizarre nature of an actor's schedule as it relates to his ever-patient friends (i.e., "Sure, I'll be in your wedding. That is, if I don't get a gig. Even if I get a gig, I'll try to get off, of course. Of course, if it's tech week or a performance there's nothing I can do. But count me in! Maybe..."). No, I am compelled to write today because of other people's birthdays, and the potential artistry in honoring them.

Consider all the people you've known in the course of your life. Consider not even everyone, but just those people you've held a conversation with more than once. There are probably a whole lot more than 365 at this point (not to presume too much upon the age of my [5] readers or anything). So there is the potential that every day of the year, someone you've known is celebrating his or her self; indeed, on some days, more than one is. How many people do you not speak to anymore, who are turning a year over at this moment? How many have you forgotten entirely who might be remembering you attending their sixth birthday, right now? And just what the hell is my point?

Well, I find it humbling to contemplate this. It reminds me that every day we make a choice to honor the people we've loved and who've loved us with our actions, or to not. UU's believe in the interconnectedness of all living things, and when it comes to other people, we're supposed to respect that particular interconnectedness even more. Similar to a bunch of actors on stage at a given moment, we all have to depend on each other for things to turn out right. It's frightening. It's awesome. We have to take it for granted somewhat just to get by, not panic or become mad with power. But every once in a while, it's good to be reminded how things really are.

You say it's your birthday? Well it's my birthday too; yeah. Happy birthday to you . . .


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't know you, but I think this is bullshit. People who depend on others to make things right 1) aren't single for more than 2 months because they become so totally lost and don't know how to live on their own and 2) don't accomplish anything in life. They just coast and feed off of the need of others.

Know yourself first and have others there to help you or be helped. If all actors populated the stage with such crutches, why would anyone in the audience beg the first step?

Jeff Wills said...

Are you SURE you don't know me, Anonymous? I agree: Know yourself first.

What I don't agree with is that people don't need one another. It's a difference of opinion, I suppose--or maybe just perspective or belief--but what I was trying to express was that people are interconnected, not necessarily interdependent. At least, not in every situation, all the time. As for one's fellow actors being "crutches" for one on stage...well, that's artfully put, but inaccurate. Stage characters need something all the time, and seek it out with cunning and vigor in their fellow characters, and actors (good ones) are always trying to make their fellow actors on stage look good.

Now do everyday people always have a need? Do we function best when respecting the choices of others "on stage" with us? Don't know. I only know what I believe. And as a great, flawed character once said,

"How can it be bullshit to state a preference?"

anonymous, too said...

Birthdays are crap! I'm with anonymous on this one. 7th-day adventists don't believe in birthdays, right? And don't the Chinese all celebrate the same day for their birthday or some shit? You want interconnectedness, *That's* interconnectedness, filthy communists.

Jeff Wills said...

My God. I never thought my thoughts could inspire such vitriol in the community at large. Or is this humor? It's hard to tell, but since it doesn't attack anyone (apart from communists, who, come on, aren't really people anyway) here it lies for everyone's viewing pleasure.