Sunday, March 3, 2013

a surprise birthday blog for a friend

It’s Sunday, and you know what that means, boys and girls: Right, I should be preaching a sermon or going on a political rant about sequesters or guns or something. But no, I’m feeling like I want to do something different today. So since it’s my friend, Arnie’s birthday, what the hell, he gets a blog! (I know, Arnie, you can’t imagine a better gift.)

I’d like to start off by telling you that Arnie is a genius. Actually, now that I think about it, all my friends are geniuses, which, frankly, is getting to be a little annoying, but wait, this isn’t about me.

Anyway, I actually met Arnie on one of his first dates with my friend, Tanya, whom he subsequently had the good sense and fortune to marry. And while I have little recollection of our first introduction, years later, we would all wind up in Nashville, where we became close friends who spent a lot of time together.

But back to the genius thing for a minute. For those of you who don’t know him personally, Arnie Roman is a hit songwriter. I don’t mean the kind with just one or two hits, either. I mean, Google his discography and it will blow your mind as you hear yourself exclaiming aloud, “Oh my God, I love that song!” about song after song of his. (I actually did this after we became friends, because God forbid the man should hang a gold record on his wall to clue me in. I had no idea what he’d written.)

So the hits are great, as is the shared camaraderie of the roller coaster ride that is a professional songwriting career. But while songwriting may be about life, life is not, in fact, about songwriting. And so the years have seen us spend countless evenings discussing politics, life, death, spirituality, books, you name it. I don’t know that I can say that we’ve ever had a superficial conversation, not that I’d ever have use for one, anyway.

I could tell you that we’ve each lost parents, relocated a few times, shifted writing genres and focuses, and processed much of it together. I could tell you that no one tells an off color joke better than Arnie, or revels in it as much, and that I still laugh, anyway. I could tell you that he enjoys the occasional cigar, and our conversations are valuable enough to me to tolerate choking on that cigar smoke on those occasions. (Also, I think something about puffing on that cigar makes him more philosophical, but I could be wrong about that.)

It’s rare that a girlfriend marries a guy that you can be equal friends with, too, so I don’t take this friendship lightly, especially when the three of us are watching Rachel Maddow or Bill Maher together. (And can I just say that you haven’t lived until you’ve watched an episode of Rachel Maddow with Arnie. This is not a passive experience. There is mandatory animated participation involved.)

Of late, my friends and I have found ourselves back in New York once again, where Arnie is working on two shows he’s been writing. We’ve resumed our discussions and dinners, though our surroundings have changed quite a bit.

After the devastating flood in Nashville in 2010, I was the one helping my friends sift through the damaged belongings at their house. Ironically, that’s when I saw Arnie’s gold and platinum records for the first and last time.

During hurricane Sandy in New York only two years later, Arnie (and Tanya, of course) were the ones offering my father and me refuge while we were without heat, water, and power. Nothing bonds people like natural disasters, that’s for sure.

So as Arnie celebrates his birthday today, I wish him many, many more years of good health, the awareness of how much he is valued and appreciated, and generosity as great as he’s shown, both in heart and in home.

Thanks for stopping by. And Happy Birthday, Arnie!!!

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Ileney. We sure love us our Arnie.
    xo The Dolls