[email composed 10 May 2001]
Today is the 30th birthday of my brother-in-law, Justin. He spent the day home recovering from a stomach flu. I'm told that last night he had a temperature of 103 degrees.
Some people will do anything to get out of having to work on their birthday, eh?
For those of you who have yet to reach this milestone, you probably approach this day with dread. For the rest of us who see it in the rear view mirror of the present, we know that it was the last moment of joy we experienced. Or it was just another day.
What can I say about Justin? He's smart, he has perspective on living, he's easy to talk to, he's can cook, he has a fine sense of humor, he has decent taste in music, and he looks okay in a skirt... er, kilt.
He's a good man. Sure, that expression has lost some of its luster by overuse, but it still holds truth when applied to him.
What does it mean to call someone "good"? Is it merely some default declaration to be applied if someone isn't bad? Of course not, although the not-being-bad angle certainly helps. The popular parlance would interpret it to mean he has a good heart. I'm not sure how well his ticker is pumping the blood, but since long ago someone seated the human emotions in that organ, we continue to use that expression to indicate someone cares.
About what one cares is another story. What it really indicates--having a "good heart"--is that the person cares about the same things that we do... and that really translates as he cares about us. (No one who dislikes us can be said to have a good heart. At least not by us.) So such declarations really say as much about the person saying it as the person about whom it is said.
Hey, there are worse things than having your sister's husband like you.
Justin loves my sister very much. It's almost disgusting how much he obviously adores her (still). (Granted, he didn't have to grow up with her...) He is a very lucky man--not just because he snagged my sister, but because he found love: not that desperate love some people settle for, but (for lack of a better term) true love. This is probably due (at least in large part) to the whole good heart thing.
In the end, it boils down this: he is someone worthy of me composing a message in his honor. There is no higher compliment I can possibly give.
However, I'm sure he'd trade these accolades for spending his birthday feeling healthy. Or to get his youth back.
who proudly considers Justin one of his people (a selective group, rest assured)
p.s. If there are any birthday wishes, mocking comments, random thoughts, inappropriate suggestions, etc., you'd like to pass along to Justin, reply to this and I'll forward them--unedited--to him. I'm sure he would appreciate them (remember: I said he had a good sense of humor). (I would give out his e-mail for you to reply directly to him, but I want him to continue to like me.)
[Six people replied with birthday wishes for Justin, only two of which actually knew him.]