01:46:28 am on
Wednesday 21 Apr 2021

For My Birthday
AJ Robinson

Source: AJ Robinson

Just last month I had my birthday. I turned fifty-yadda-yadda years old to paraphrase a Seinfeld episode, written by Jill Franklyn and Peter Mehlman. I’ve reached an age where I really don’t want or need anything. For me, it’s more about being with family and friends, which isn’t easy to do these days.

Birthday getaway.

This year we decided to take a short trip; a little three-day getaway to have some family fun. After all, what with COVID-19 it’s not like we can do much. Plus, there are so many resorts in Central Florida with vacant rooms.

It made sense. We got a dog sitter for Gandalf, a nice resort and told Damian he could bring his cousin Vincent along: that got his attention.

Damian and Vincent are close, Vincent is younger than Damian and looks up to him. They love to spend time together.

So, we went to the resort, spent time in the pool, visited Gatorland and Old Towne. The boys got their first ever Ferris wheel ride. They saw a car show made up of some truly classic cars; that was most definitely the highlight for Damian, as he loves classic cars.

When we picked Vincent up, at his home, he presented me with a little gift, which was a nicer surprising. I didn’t know he even knew it was my birthday. He’d used his own money to go to a second-hand bookstore and bought me a copy of Oliver Twist. He said he really didn’t know very much about the story, but he’d heard of Charles Dickens; he knew Dickens was a great author and thought I’d like a book by him.

Yet, that wasn’t all. Vincent put forth a little extra effort. He’d made me a bookmark.

It’s a simple bookmark. It’s something he’d written up himself on a small piece of white paper. Isn’t that what makes a truly great gift?

A gift from the heart.

Not big, not expensive, but from the heart. Vincent put much thought into the gift and for a boy, not even a teenager, that was quite a feat. So, the book now sits on my bookcase in my office in a place of honor: in among copies of my books.

I make a point of reading a few pages of the gift book each day. It’s long, more than five hundred pages. It’s going to take a while to get through it.

I don’t mind that a bit because now, each day in the middle of the afternoon, I get to take a little break. I turn away from the computer screen, put my feet up and crack open my gift to read. It’s a nice diversion from my workload.

As do so many others, I am familiar with the works of Dickens via movies and stage plays. Still, I had not read his books. In the case of Oliver Twist, given its length, it was understandable to avoid reading it.

These days, working from home means that I sit in my home office quite every day. I’ve been told that that’s not healthy. Not good for my eyes, my back, my wrists and arms, and most especially not good for my overall health.

My physician told me it’s important to step away from the computer, at least a couple times each day. In the past, I’ve done that by going for a walk or getting a snack. Well, now I have another means of breaking free of my workload and unchaining myself from my desk.

Reading as if it were 1837.

Now, I sit and read a book. I’d call that a great birthday present. Ten pages a day is a comfortable pace that ostensibly matches how readers, in 1837, read the serialised book.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

More by AJ Robinson:
Tell a Friend

Click above to tell a friend about this article.