It’s always fun to celebrate a 21st birthday, that raucous rite of passage into American adulthood.
When your path to the party takes you through such unimaginable places, that the milestone can feel like a miracle, you get to celebrate with extra joy.
That’s how we felt last night as we toasted Jojo the Pizza Guy (who used to make delicious pizzas for a living but has since moved into the world of electronics and gaming retail services. We’ll be updating his nickname soon and we’re taking suggestions..Jojo the PS Guy? Jojo the X(box)man?)
Meanwhile, at his restaurant of choice, Joseph enjoyed a rack of ribs and a little time in the spotlight (at least until the little guys showed up and shifted the attention to them.) He didn’t mind.
Joseph is a go-with-the-flow kind of guy who has built a nice life for himself. He has a good job, a fiancee, an apartment of his own, a big, extended family who loves him, a Wednesday night basketball league, a PS5 he paid for himself and a kitchen he mans with increasing skill.
He approaches life with a consistent smile and a friendliness that makes outings with him such a joy. The first alcoholic drink he ever ordered (a carefully considered Malibu and orange juice) ended up on the house thanks to the birthday boys’ charm and our server’s generosity.
As part of his present I gave him a book, which he politely slid back into the bag when he saw what it was. He does not love to read.
“Your cousin wrote that,” I said with a grin and he pulled it back out of the bag.
Joseph’s cousin Caron Butler, currently an assistant coach for the Miami Heat, has had a storied professional basketball career and is currently writing a series of stories for young adults. My sister Kathy, the family book guru, secured a signed copy for us and Joseph was thrilled.
“I don’t really read books,” he said. “But I’m going to read this one.”
In the coming days, if you happen to see Jojo the PS Dude, or Jojo the X(box)man, or Joseph the legal adult, send a little love and good wishes his way.
He deserves every good thing.