Years ago, when asked how I was, I would respond with what I thought was a rather factual: "One day closer to death -- just like you."
My co-workers took up an intellectual collection to buy me an alternative greeting. It has now become my trademark: "Practically perfect in every way -- in this best of all possible worlds." As if I were the love child of Dr. Pangloss and Mary Poppins. The Spanish version is occasionally on offer.
Whichever version you like, either one is fitting to today. It is my brother's birthday. A rather major one. It is not often I get to share such an event with my best friend.
And how did we celebrate? In true Cotton fashion, we went on a scavenger hunt. In Mexico, that means trying to accomplish too many tasks in one day. To make it more difficult, we tried doing them in Manzanillo.
Here is what we did:
- Switched a Telmex account from my name into my friend Ozzy's name
- Picked up a modem from Telmex
- Settled a personal account
- Re-filled my three prescriptions with only two pharmacy stops -- it usually takes three or four
- Had a birthday lunch at Monster Burger
- Clarified the payment system on my new Telcel plan, and made a three month deposit
- Bought a battery backup for my computer system at Office Depot -- the prior backup was fried in one of our electrical storms
Then came the grand finale. Darrel and I drove over to La Manzanilla for his birthday dinner at Magnolia's -- where I delivered a muled package to Alex, one of the co-owners.
Magnolia's has long been one of my favorite restaurants. I can always count on a well-crafted meal of quality ingredients. But, most of all, the menu always offer some choices not readily available in the area.
For instance, I had a chicken pot pie that owed far more to haute cuisine than its diner name would imply. It was just the right size to be complemented by a mixed berry pie topped with vanilla ice cream.
Best of all, though, I was privileged to share the day with my brother's wit. He probably knows me better than almost anyone I know. So, it is a waste of time for me to pretend to be anyone else. And I truly like that.
Not only do we share our pasts, we talk about our futures. In less than a year, Darrel and his wife Christy will be moving into the house with no name. It will be a new world for all of us. One that will be filled with adventure.
But that is the future. For today, I will simply wish my baby brother the happiest of birthdays.