Happy Birthday – Absent Friends

Ever hear of the “Birthday Paradox?” There are 7 billion people in the world, 365.25 days in a calendar, and yet the odds of two people sharing the same birthday is only 1 in 30. That’s right. Just 1 in 30. You have a better chance than me trying to guess which card you picked in a standard deck of 52 playing cards.

It so happens that beginning from April 18 to 25 – I have a friend having a birthday on every single day of the week except for April 21. What are the odds of that? Rather than calculating the odds, I’m going to post a photo montage of my friends. Many of them I have not seen in at least 10+ years and I miss them all.

I should say something about the next photo. This was a joint party for Stephanie (center left) and Liz (center right). Their birthdays are April 23 and 24 respectively. Our law school classmates decided to throw a joint party for them. It was hard because at that time, they were roommates so we decided to host the party at another classmate’s place. To make Steph and Liz do not get suspicious, we told them the party was a surprise for the other. The bait was hooked and the surprise complete when both of them literally exclaimed: “I thought this party was for you!” We all had a great time before graduation and going our separate ways.

Last but not the least, Alan – April 25. This photo was taken the day before his bachelor party in 2005. Sorry, those are off limits.

I did mention friends whose birthdays fell on April 20. Unfortunately, I don’t have their pictures but these are more than enough to recall old times and friends even if we are out of touch.

In their books on Relationships, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott came up with two fitting types of friends: friends of the road, and friends of the heart. Friends of the road are those friendships formed by circumstances – classmates, roommates, work colleagues – and pushed together for shared survival. Those feelings can be very intense – no doubt at all, but when those circumstances are over and we go our separate ways, some of those friendships just lapse and it was no one’s fault. Even with Facebook or Whatsapp, me in California and Liz in South Carolina, things don’t work out but we will have fond memories. Sadly, everyone pictured above leans towards being a friend of the road.

As for friends of the heart, those relationships stand the tests of time and distance. I have no problem calling or texting and our conversation continues as if no time has passed. And when we find a friend like this, that’s one of life’s true blessings.

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