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Entry date: 10-18-2022 - It's my birthday - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

I am 53 today. Happy birthday to me.

It’s hard to believe that I am this old. It’s not like I ever had those feelings when I was young that I was going to die early or anything, but it is weird to think I am on the cusp of being in my mid-50s. Lately, I feel every bit of my age because all the old injuries are making themselves known again.

I remember my birthday party in second grade but only because there are pictures somewhere of it. We had a little party at Golf and Games which was a goofy golf and early arcade kind of place over by Tempe. I remember you had to cross the Salt River to get there on 48th Street. There may have been go karts there, too.

The party was made up of a group of my buddies from school and cousin Ben. Looking back, I have to hand it to my parents for doing these types of things because they couldn’t have been cheap. I probably didn’t say thank you enough so thank you, Dad.

A lot of times for my birthday in the grade school days I would have a sleepover. I kind of remember one that we had at my mom’s place on Joan De Arc in Paradise Valley. I think it may have still been warm enough that we went swimming, but I could be wrong. Another group of buddies and Ben.

When I turned 11, my mom took me to Disneyland on my birthday. This was when her boyfriend, Bill, was doing the Halloween store thing and he had some in LA, too. I remember spending the day before my birthday at a weird mall in LA but having the best steak sandwich I have ever had in my life from a little divey place nearby. I wish I could remember that a bit better.

Disneyland fucking sucked on October 18, 1980. It was motherfucking IBM day at Disneyland or some shit like that and I got to go on four rides. The lines were so long and it was just miserable to be there. I was so stoked on getting to go to Disneyland for my birthday and had bragged about it at school and then that shit happened.

I was bitter about that for a long time. I don’t remember much about the next few birthdays. During my freshman year I had just started to make some friends by the time my 14th birthday rolled around and my friend, Charles, gave me a travel chess set. I remember being really touched by this and it was very unexpected. I wonder what that guy is up to today?

No real recollection of 10-18-84. I’m sure I did something. We would go to Ed Debevic’s for birthdays a lot in those days. It was always fun and the sassy waitresses would flirt extra hard on your big day. I probably enjoyed that.

10-18-85, though was memorable. My buddy, Bill, gave me a ride home from school on my birthday and had some excellent hash. He got me super high and I had to have dinner with my dad, Lori, and my grandparents. I think I pulled it off and it seems like I have written about this before, now that I think of it. Sorry if this is a repeat story. I was cursing Bill for getting me so stoned, but I can laugh about it now.

That was also the last birthday I spent with my dad for a long time.

10-18-86 was supposed to be a party at Mike’s parent’s house but something came up and we couldn’t have a party there. I’m sure we found some fun, though, in some way. I think I was single for that birthday. It seems like in high school, I always got dumped before a birthday. I must have asked for presents that were too expensive.

I detailed my 18th birthday which was celebrated at Fort Benning during the Army blogs. It was an interesting day, for sure.

No recollection of my birthday in 1988. I’m guessing we had a party at the apartment Jeff, Brian, and Mike and I lived in for Jeff and me. I’m sure it was a rager.

In 1989 and 1990, I have no idea. Alexa and I were dating and I kind of remember her getting me something cool. She was a good birthday present giver, for sure. 1991 saw me back from Berkeley for number 22. No recollection of that one and the next several were all sober birthdays.

1993, though, was killer. Jesus Lizard played on my birthday. What a great show that was. Nirvana played the Az State Fair the same night but I chose the Lizard and have never regretted it. David Yow even said something about the birthday thing, too, because someone told him there were two people there celebrating a birthday.

A few years later, David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails played on my birthday at Cricket Pavillion. It was a strange show as Bowie was doing all the “I’m Afraid of Americans” stuff and didn’t do many hits, but NIN was great. It was the only time I got to see Bowie. I think that was 97 or 98.

During my first marriage, I don’t recall their being anything too exciting for my big day, but I could just be blocking that out. When Rhondi and I got together, she helped put together a big show for my 40th birthday where I played four sets including my one and only solo set with an acoustic guitar. This was followed up by sets by Pinky, Hillbilly, and The Father Figures.

We also threw a humdinger for my 50th that I shared with Tom and Bobby. We crammed so much beer into the beer fridge that I don’t think I bought any beer for a long time. Last year was pretty fun, too, getting to celebrate in Maine. This year will be my first time celebrating my birthday in the greater Chicago area, so I’m stoked for this one, too.

The best part, though, is all the people that reach out to me. I am very blessed. I don’t really want or need anything, so I kind of hate the birthday present aspect of the day, but I do like all the messages. I’ve had a lot of good birthdays. I’m sure I am forgetting a few that deserve mention. Thanks in advance for the messages I get here.

In fact, if anyone wants to give me a birthday present, start a conversation in the message board, please. Steve’s the only one who has tried.

Happy birthday to Chris, too, since we share.

See you tomorrow.

I like this picture of me.

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Sylvia Harlow
Sylvia Harlow
Oct 18, 2022

Have a super Happy 53rd Birthday, Tom! And many more...


Chris Trzeciak
Chris Trzeciak
Oct 18, 2022

Happiest of Bdays Tom - 53, unreal. It's pretty cool reading this stuff this year. It's like knowing the author of the book your reading. Totally different perspective. I'm sure you have something awesome planned for Chicago, enjoy and tell Mark hello for me.

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