That was what Bob said to me shortly after he'd met me. He was a bartender at The Barbarossa at the time, and I was already entranced with him, despite having known him less than a week. I was sitting at the bar, late at night, after the live music had stopped. Perhaps someone had put a dime in the jukebox; I can't remember. But I remember him pulling the joke on me, much to my horrified surprise. I also remember how horrified he was, in turn, when he realized that he'd just pulled the joke on someone who didn't know enough to move her arm away in time.
Sort of a weird thing to start a birthday wishes post with, I suppose. Perhaps I should have started with the story about him drooling beer down the front of his shirt as a piece of guerrilla bartender theater? No?
Then let me follow with why I remember those things, from way back at the beginning - it was because he always knew how to laugh, and how to make other people laugh. And it was because his sense of humor was so sideways that it invigorated me, and reminded me not to be so sour and dour. He made me laugh, and that was, if not lifesaving for me, then certainly a priceless gift at a time when I wasn't too apt to smile.
Over the years, he taught me about more than just when to laugh at fate.
He taught me how good and patient a man he is, as he became the full time parent to our son.
He taught me how talented he was, and he taught me how to entertain people.
He taught me about rock and roll. He taught me about jazz, and made me listen to A Love Supreme, and now decades later, he doesn't have to force me to do that, because I want to listen to it myself.
He taught me about living outside my comfort zone in other ways; sushi, and foreign films (at least some of them), and anime, and long late-night talks about whether or not "Is There A God" wasn't the wrong question to ask about life.
He taught me about persisting in the face of pain, and fear, and uncertainty, and about how important it is to talk to the one you love when you need help.
Much of what I am today is because of him. I am so grateful to know him, and to celebrate his birthday with him.
Love you, President of the World!
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