Yes, it's not an April Fool's joke. Today really is my birthday. Really. Now I know most people tend to either: 1) love and cheer themselves on their birthday, or 2) mope and be sad. I'm certainly not 1. And though I tend toward the melancholy, I just want to refuse that for the moment. At this time, on this day, I'm thankful. I'm thankful for my family. For my friends. And I'm thankful for those of you who read this blog, and in doing so, have become part of the family as well. Over the past two weeks, I've had two different people from college email me out of the blue and tell me that even though we weren't close at school, they've bought every book from the start and have beeen pulling for me from day one. In response, my father said that I can't possibly know every person who buys my books. But he's wrong. I do know you. Just like you know me. That's why we are a couple.
Is that weird?
But it's true.
For the most part (and yes, I'm overgeneralizing, but not by much), nearly every single person I've met at a signing or book event over the years seems like, well, "one of us." They're nice and thoughtful and kind. How do I know? When you meet anyone, you shake their hand and look them in the eye and you know. Indeed, I once had a signing with a fellow author who writes more macho-y books. And his readers were all, well, macho-ier. Mine were softer and nicer. The other author's readers asked questions about guns (and trust me, nothing against guns). My readers asked questions about character and comics and the beauty of writing Batman. I know the other readers kinda thought we were a bit mushy. But I am a bit mushy. I've been like that since birth. That was my high school experience. And that's how I was for the four years I scooped ice cream at Haagen Dazs in the Aventura Mall. I know who I am. And I'm okay with it. In fact, I'm thankful for it. Because after ten years of doing this, I've gotten to meet thousands of people just like me -- thousands just like you -- who are shy and outgoing and quiet and hysterically loud. But who are never dicks. And who would never laugh at the quiet kid in the corner (because we've all been that kid for a bit). And who never ever ever forget who they are.
So there's my birthday rant. And the best present I have for you: I was in the men's room the other day and there was a guy mopping the floor and cleaning up, and some older man washes his hands and goes to leave, and then looks at the janitor-guy and says, "Thanks for keeping it clean."
I did it yesterday at a baseball game. Felt amazing.