Happy Birthday To Me, Happy Birthday To Me

Yes, my friends. Today I am an old(er) man. And failing Ezra Levant showing up at my doorstep and beating me within an inch of my life, I think it will be a pretty good day. It begins with a long run along the canal (’cause I gotta fight back that middle-aged spread) and a drive to work. Yes, you read that right. I rented a lousy Hyundai Accent for the weekend, and I can barely drive! Of course now I have a migraine, but I’m not letting it get me down! People have been universally good to me today. For someone who normally doesn’t celebrate birthdays, I’m surprisingly quite touched by everyone’s well wishes. Here’s what The Toronto Star‘s horoscope had to say about me:

“If today is your birthday: You are embarking on an amazing expedition — a journey of discovery. This is your chance to see right into the heart of a vital matter. Despite your troubles, which will prove to be temporary, your future looks quite splendid. Happy birthday to Pete Sampras, 34.”

Who gives a fuck about Pete Sampras? I share my birthday with George Hamilton, baby! Yeah! Also celebrating today are: my good friend Rosa Aguiar, my old deceased acquaintance, Jon Donald and failed professional wrestler, Terry “The Red Rooster” Taylor. (I forgot to mention that yesterday was Hulk Hogan’s birthday.)

Not for the faint of heart, if you want to see the card that my buddy Andrew Currie gave me, click here. I warn you, it is not safe for work. Or for anywhere, for that matter. On the back, he wrote, “May all your dreams come true.”

On to the links:

  • This site checks up on right-wing Canadian pundit so you don’t have to
  • Nojjy Boy sends us this NY Times article stolen directly from this blog.
  • You want to know what a hero is? This guy is a hero. Bringing porn to the downtrodden of Iraq. Bless his burgeoning capitalist heart.

Now this is quite unusual. As you know if you’ve browsed this site, my first book won the prestigious national book award of the nation of Guyana in the “first work” category. It is, so far, the crowning achievement of my literary career. When I won, I did so at the expense of another much beloved local contender, Hendree’s Cure, by Moses Nagamootoo (a former Information Minister). When I went down to accept the award, I met a smart young man named Ruel Johnson who was trying to become a writer. We got on well and tried to stay in touch.

When I went back to Guyana a couple of years ago, I was pleased to discover that Ruel’s first book had won the same prize right after I did! In the words of one reviewer, “I can safely say that Ruel Johnson is the best young writer to emerge in Guyana in at least a generation.” He really is that impressive, and I made it a point to congratulate him on his accomplishments, fully expecting more great things from this fascinating fellow.

Interestingly, I recently came across an article in Guyana’s national newspaper which heavily cited Ruel’s quotations. In the article, Ruel (seemingly a fan of Nagamootoo’s) states, “What passes now for Indo-Caribbean literature, just as what passes for Guyanese literature, is simply an authentic literature of disproportional misrepresentation”, and gives as an example the fact that a Canadian named Raywat Deonandan eclipsed Nagamootoo for the Guyana Prize.

As hurtful as this was initially, I must concede that Ruel has a point. In terms of rewarding accomplishment, ex-patriate Guyanese with only tangential involvement in indigenous Guyanese culture tend to be revered more than the local flavours. Maybe Nagamootoo was indeed more deserving of the award than yours truly.

But let me finish with this thought. Is it not possible that since there are now more Guyanese ex-pats living in the USA, Canada and the UK than there are in the shrinking nation of Guyana itself (population <800,000), true modern Guyanese culture is not to be found necessarily in streets of Georgetown or the villages of Demerara. Perhaps the real contemporary Guyanese face is to be found in Miami, New York or Scarborough. Or in Ottawa, writing a stupid blog.