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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

I stopped celebrating birthdays some time ago. 

After dozens of them, it gets a little tiresome becoming a year older. As if getting older every second isn't enough. There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year. Tell me that doesn't exhaust you.

Facebook has changed that.

Now, each year, I look forward to hearing from friends in my (too) many stops who take time out of their day to wish me a happy birthday. When Facebook is used well, it can be gratifying.

Each year I make sure I thank everyone of them, sometimes with a Facebook button, occasionally a personal message and certainly a sarcastic comment -- that's usually why they're my friends.

Much has changed in the year since I celebrated my birthday in a cabin on the shores of Lake Lemon in Indiana, a couple weeks away from moving back into a cheap motel.

I'm working. I have a permanent address. I am home in Wisconsin.

One year ago, I couldn't  have imagined that. After applying to hundreds, perhaps a thousand jobs, I couldn't have imagined how well this worked. Serendipity is a thing.

Back then, virtually no one returned a call or email. Sometimes, when returned, the email was clearly generated by some computer program. When that happened, the email came back within minutes after the software scanned my application and determined I didn't quality. Human eyes never saw it. I applied for a content manager job in Indianapolis and was told with minutes via email I didn't have the requisite skills -- even though I've been a  manager content for 30 years.

I also applied for jobs as a fast-food manager, a hard liquor salesman, countless communications positions. I think I even applied for a bear trainer but at my new advanced age of 56, I could be wrong. (That was a joke. I would never apply to train Brian Urlacher.)

In addition to serendipity, I could use the word blessings. I could write about Karma. I might suggest hard work in that nine months of job searching, I only took off three days: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

But let's be real -- there's always a ton of luck involved. Right time, right place.

And a ton of friends who bathed me in birthday greetings Tuesday.

Peace and friendship unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


  1. Hey Rich. Happy Birthday. Not sure you even remember me. I was your biggest fan in NW PA. I always considered you the best of us (humans.) Your odyssey from here to there was nothing short of inspirational.

    Your arithmetic is also inspirational. You do not travel far into astrophysics or quantum mechanics before you encounter the very big and the very small.

    31,557,600 seconds in one year. To tally a billion - at one number/ second - allocate 31.688 years. A trillion requires 31,688 years. Politicians might also use this exercise when contemplating the size of spending bills.

    But I digress. Did you say your Mom is still alive? Send her a thank-you card, from humanity writ large.

  2. Happy Birthday, Rich! Thanks for sharing your long, strange odyssey with all your faithful blog readers. You are truly an inspiration for all, young and old, housed and unhoused.