Some famous Joes… (I try to imagine where your name might have come from….)
Jonathan—son of a King, best friend to a man who would be king
Joseph—reputed adopted father of Jesus the Nazarene
I like to think but the name could have come anywhere else, from another source….
I don’t think I will be able to write to you again after this. More than most, I’m possessed to an acute degree with a sense of the brevity of our mortality and the appalling awareness that much as I wish to defy time, all this is futile. That I know this is impossible and that won’t stop me from trying. Naturally I wish this would speak for me all that I think I will ever think of telling you.
What do I know?
I know the sound of your voice though you may never know mine. In my stranger solitary moments which are often enough, I’m convinced this is a good thing. It is easier to be a hero when you are never tested by the realities and in a life with too few of those that is nothing to turn your nose up at. Every boy needs a hero as much as later he needs to tear him down to stop being a boy.
I have worried about you when I knew you were ill, in all my travels and the travels I’m yet to make had you commingled in my home coming thoughts though I have never been able to tell anyone how. I have never been able to tell the one person I should have told.
I have these songs that remind me of you, that remind me of various stages, when it shouldn’t be this way but it is; I have been in towns in countries few people I know will ever go to or wish to, silent evenings on the verandah, watching the sky, after hours of internet chatting, thinking of you, then I hear a song that becomes your song and in some hard to explain way it feels like your tiny sure groping fingers reaching out.
Here is something I have learned since I have come to know you. There is nothing grown up about love. There is nothing like world weary maturity when it comes to love. I learned that from you. Love is eternal youth, love is fierce, love is demanding, love is consuming, love hurts, love heals, loves makes you anew. I have learned this from you.
So what do I wish for you?
I wish you lots of happiness. It took me a long time to learn that happiness is not from status, it’s not from how much money I have saved up, happiness does not come from the kind of job I’m doing but you have to first be happy before you know happiness.
I wish that one day you do not just love your mother but understand the love you have for your mother because it will be all the more precious for your understanding of it, and it will teach you a kindness for her when you think your patience is about to fail you.
I wish that when the time is right, no matter how it turns out, you will love a girl enough to stand outside her house in the rain, drunk or sober, meaning everything you say, slurring her a song in whatever key of voice you have and the girl you love appreciates it and you.
I wish you adventure, I wish you a love of danger, I wish you a love of thrills because no man will ever appreciate the settled sedateness of home without having known the extreme perils we pretend do not exist when our front doors are locked for the night. I wish you a judiciousness and luck to come through the wiser.
Love your mother, love your wife, cherish your daughters, teach your sons to be men, be kind to your father. That is all the world is in the end. Happy birthday! For this one and the ones to come.
PS: For all the people who have never enjoyed the magesterial hypnosis of The Godfather I & II, I feel sorry for you! Baz, really, it is inexcusable! Next you will be claiming that you have never watched The Sound of Music and before we know where we are, you're dennying everything!