30

I may not be as great as Alexander the Great (my historic figure name would be something like "Abu Halen the Benign" or "Abu Halen the Feckless"), but I'm now one year closer to outliving him. In honor of my birthday, I've compiled highlights of my first glorious 30 years.

-- August 1979: Was born. It's arguable that if this highlight hadn't occured, the other highlights would carry significantly less import.

-- Sometime in 1982: Sleepwalked into my parents' walk-in closet and whizzed in my dad's snow boots. Hey, my life hasn't been that cool. I really have to dig for highlights.

-- July 1983: Made my first friend, Stacy, who was walking down the street with her mom. I followed her home (this tactic grew less and less effective for landing girlfriends the older I got). She ended up being in my kindergarten class. Seven years later, she rebuffed my suggestion that we "go out," instead opting to "go out" with Luke Siver. I was crushed. I still kick an effigy of her every time I leave the house.

-- December 25, 1987: Received an Atari 7800 for Christmas. It was one of the all-time great parental gift-giving blunders, as this was the year that kids with parents in the know were getting Nintendos. Getting an Atari for Christmas in 1987 was like getting a Huffy for your 16th birthday.

-- May 1988: Got a venus flytrap.

-- May 1988: It died.

-- September 1988: Joined a Pop Warner, full-pads, tackle football league.

-- October 1988: Quit.

-- Sometime in 1991: Obtained one of those Hypercolor shirts that change colors wherever they touch your body. Talk about a really crappy idea. It's hard enough for 11-12 year-old boys to not stare at girls as it is, let alone having the girls wearing Hypercolor shirts that Hypercolor their pubescent development.

-- March 1993: Took third place in the school-wide decathalon, which was held over the course of a week during P.E. I usually choose to ignore the fact that only three or four people in the whole school actually put forth effort. This was the peak of my athletic prowess.

-- April 1995: Was elected Student Body 3rd Vice President of my high school. Yeah, that's right. We needed three vice presidents. The first one did stuff, the second one showered occasionally and usually combed his or her hair, and the third one drooled and tried really hard to form complete sentences when speaking.

-- Early 1996: Relieved of my duty of updating the reader board beside the busy street that fronted my high school. I always received a slip of paper spelling out what was to be posted on the board: basketball game Wednesday at 6:30; Spring play Friday and Saturday at 7:00. Well, one day I was sent out to take down all the existing posts but was told there was nothing new to put up. My creative juices got the best of me, and once I'd cleaned off the board I set out to see what I could spell with all the letters I'd just taken down. This was during the ebola outbreak in Africa, and I found that I could spell "Ebola free are we" with the letters I had, so I put it up. Within a few hours, several deeply offended passing motorists had phoned the school to complain, and I was told that, effective immediately, I could stand down from ever even approaching the reader board again.

-- May 1997: Inexplicably dyed my hair blonde along with my buddy Thomas. Just in time for high school graduation. We looked like bafoons when we accepted our diplomas with bright orange hair. That is, we had bright orange hair. The diplomas did not have bright orange hair.

-- April 1998: After going to the trouble of co-leading the planning of a dance for the freshman housing complex I lived in my first year of college, me and the other planner shamelessly named the dance after ourselves -- "The Luke and Joey Dance." To advertise, we spelled "Come to the Luke and Joey Dance" in duct tape on the floor at the entrance to the dining hall. When the dance was over, I removed all the tape except for that which spelled "Come to Joey," in hopes of increasing my dating pool. The effort failed miserably. Plus, my girlfriend dumped me.

-- July 2000: Went to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. Not that cool.

-- September 8, 2001: Met my future wife at a shindig where we tie-dyed our own shirts. I tried to act smart while she explained her honors thesis to me, and she tried to look interested while I explained the meaning of "Stairway to Heaven."

-- May 2002: Married.

-- October 2003: Got invited out for pizza by a Hizballah member on the streets of Damascus, Syria. Politely declined.

-- June 2005: Drove across the United States in a U-Haul and, in Kearney, Nebraska, got the only motel room in the whole country with a guy next door with a pet parrot that talked on a CB all night. I'm not joking. I heard it all night with my own two ears.

-- July 2009: Single-handedly changed the oil filter in my motorcycle, which entailed removing the mufflers, an exhaust pipe, and the right foot brake. For someone as mechanically deficient as me, this is a highlight. I can now add "Grease Monkey" to the list of adjectival descriptors that define me, along with "Bad Cartwheeler," "Hater of Sumo Underpants," "Johnny Mosely Wannabe," and "John Denver Fan -- He's Cooler Than Fall Out Boy."