I originally wrote this blog post on December 9, 2011, in recognition of Martin Day™ (which, coincidentally, happens to fall on my birthday). Today, on my 37th birthday, I've updated the post and, in so doing, have accounted for the years 2012 to 2014. Enjoy and have a Happy Martin Day™!
Every year on December 9, since its inception in 1977, people all over the world have been celebrating Martin Day™. This year will be the 37th celebration of Martin Day™ and it occurs to me a birthday retrospective is in order. So, for your benefit, I've put together a timeline of milestones in my life. So, without further ado, I present to you The Martin Day™ Birthday Retrospective®.
Age: 1 Second (1977)
After nine months in my mother's womb, considering the world and my place in it, I decide that a comfortable sac of amniotic fluid simply isn't enough without cable television.
Age: 5 Years (1982)
While attending preschool, I find there is a bitchin' CHiPs tricycle in the playground. Soon thereafter, I learn I'm in the group of children that is too old to ride it. I learn that life isn't always kind.
Age: 8 Years (1985)
On a random Saturday afternoon, as I flip through the channels, I discover professional wrestling. It's love at first sight.
Age: 12 Years (1989)
After one whole long year of agonizing anticipation, Batman, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, is released in theaters. As a loyal fan, with my very own $5 dollar weekly allowance, I bought the novelization of the film.
Age: 13 Years (1990)
For Easter, my parents buy me a ticket to watch WrestleMania VII at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. With the Gulf War serving as a backdrop, Hulk Hogan will there defeat Sgt. Slaughter (who lent his loyalties to Saddam Hussein) for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.
Age: 17 Years (1995)
While working as an ice cream scooper at Thrifty's, I am interrogated for four hours by a couple of loss prevention agents. During the interrogation, I admit to stealing a number of things, including money and ice cream.
Age: 18 Years (1996)
During my first year at Chaffey College, I take English 1A with S. Kay Murphy. For my first assignment, I write an essay about stealing money and ice cream from Thrifty's. Based on that essay, Murphy encourages me to become a writer.
Age: 19 Years and 2 Days (1997)
As a birthday gift, my parents take me to the Great Western Forum for my first Lakers game. The Lakers host Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers. Kobe Bryant is a rookie and Shaquille O'Neal is in his first year with the team. During warmups, I watch rookie Derek Fisher practice free throws.
Age: 21 (1999)
Having gotten a part-time job working at the Virgin Megastore, I meet Chanel Chakko, who is not only my co-worker, but, I would later learn, the coolest gal on the planet.
Age: 23 (2002)
While studying English at California State University, San Bernardino, I take the first of many creative writing classes taught by James Brown (author of The Los Angeles Diaries and This River). In so doing, Brown unwittingly becomes my personal Yoda.
Age: 25 (2003)
I graduate from California State University, San Bernardino, earning my Bachelor's Degree in English/Creative Writing.
Age: 26 Years (2004)
While a participant at the Cal Poly Creative Writing Conference, I win First Place in Short Fiction for my story "The Night Owl." Later that same year, I will win First Place in the Inland Empire CWC Writing Contest for my short story "The Plan." Finally, in that same year, I will get my first story published ("The Black Curtain") courtesy of The Pacific Review.
Age: 27 Years (2005)
I'm invited to attend The Squaw Valley Community of Writers, a week-long conference that brings aspiring writers together with seasoned professionals. I meet many great writers, including Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Dorothy Allison, and Mark Childress. I also meet a literary agent who asked to read the novel I was working on called The Wishing Game.
Age: 28 Years (2005)
On the 28th celebration of Martin Day™, I receive a rejection letter from the literary agent I met at Squaw Valley. Not since being denied an opportunity to ride a CHiP's tricycle has life felt so cruel.
Age: 28 Years and Several Hours (2005)
My brother, Greg, takes me to a screening of Match Point, which was followed by a Q & A session with the writer/director, Woody Allen, and the cast.
Age: 28 and 1/2 Years (2006) - Part 1
Once again, I graduate from California State University, San Bernardino, this time earning my Master's Degree in Composition.
Age: 28 and 1/2 Years (2006) - Part 2
I get my first grown-up job as an English Professor at Chaffey College. I have no idea what I'm doing, but choose to keep this information to myself.
Age: 31 Years (2008)
I am waist-deep in the writing of my novel, The Sacrifice of Timber Marlow. Upon later revisions, I would change it's title to The Sustenance of the Flesh.
Age: 33 Years (2010)
Having completed my novel, The Sustenance of the Flesh, I decide to change the title to Inside the Outside.
Age: 33 Years, 7 Months, and 3 Days (2011)
I publish my debut novel Inside the Outside.
Age: 33 Years, 364 Days, and 18 Hours (2011)
The Lakers agree to trade Lamar Odom and Paul Gasol to the New Orleans Hornets for Chris Paul. I regard this as an early-Martin Day™ miracle.
Age: 33 Years, 364 Days, and 20 Hours (2011)
The NBA, which owns the New Orleans Hornets, blocks the trade of Odom and Gasol for Paul. I regard this as the worst early-Martin Day™ miracle ever.
Age: 34 Years (2011)
Age: 34 Years, 4 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days (2012)
Inside the Outside is awarded the Grand Prize in the Paris Book Festival.
Age: 35 Years (2013)
On April 5, I'm heartbroken at the news that my favorite film critic, Roger Ebert, has passed away.
Age: 36 Years (2014)
Age: 36 Years, 1 month, 1 week, and 6 days (2014)
Inside the Outside officially becomes a #1 Bestseller on Amazon.
Age: 36 Years, 10 months, 4 weeks, and 1 day (2014)
On November 7, I marry my best friend and favorite person in the whole goddamned world, Chanel Chakko.