No, the title of today's entry is not a joke. Well, mostly not a joke anyway.
I work with my best friend and his little brother. How we came to work on the same project at the same company is a somewhat tedious story so I will skip it. The salient point here is that today was not only Valentine's day, it was also Dean's birthday. Which is how I managed to remember it in spite of normally being very bad with remembering dates.
So on the way to work I stopped by Safeway (a grocery store chain for my foreign readers) to pick up some birthday cupcakes. But, being Valentine's Day, there wasn't a single birthday themed baked good in the store. Since Dean is somewhat health conscious (he went through a vegetarian phase awhile ago) I wasn't sure that the old office stand by of doughnuts would be a good idea. So I called his older brother.
"Get him some beer. You can't go wrong with beer."
So the oracle speaks, so I obey. I browse the beer aisle and pick out a 12 bottle sample pack. We tend to not like the same kinds of beer so I made sure to pick the ones I wouldn't like. Lots of IPAs and light beers.
When I got to the office I plunked it down on his desk, stuck a yellow sticky on it, and wrote "Happy Beerthday!" on it in big letters. Yes, I know, I'm incredibly clever. It's a gift.
When he got in he was glad to have free beer (who wouldn't?) and it turns out he'd had the Belgian ale variety before and liked it so I knew the gift wasn't a bust. But what surprised me was how grateful he was that someone actually remembered his birthday.
He told me that between having his birthday on Valentine's day and his oldest son's birthday being just two days later, he hadn't really had much of a birthday celebration for years. And since he was divorced about a year ago, Valentine's Day is a less than happy occassion for him these days.
I never know what to say to him when we've talked about his ex. I try to sympathize but it seems like talking about how she left and the crazy stuff she's pulling now just makes him feel worse. But the beer seemed to touch him in a way that I never could with words.
So what's the moral of this story? Girls need a listening ear, guys just need a six twelve pack of beer.