I woke this morning with some pangs. They were not just the savage aches in my legs after my brutal 25 kilometer walk the other day - but the yearning sort of pangs. It is my nephew Ben's 21st birthday party tonight and I should be there. I want to be there but I can't.
I am here in Singapore.
I seriously thought about flying over for the big night and even went so far as to check out flight schedules however I was thwarted by my cursed English Employers who have demanded that I stay here to deal with the work that we have going on in India.
Ben is the eldest son of my brother Richard and he is my favorite nephew. I have been close to him for all of his life. I remember him being born and he was not a pretty baby. He was all ears and he had a boofhead but he grown up to be a very handsome young man. Like his father - my little brother Richard - he is big and he is strong and he is also very well-endowed.
Both Richard and Ben work out regularly in the gym. They pump iron and they have big muscles. They share a strong streak of vanity.
This bloody spell-check on my computer does not recognize the word 'boof'. It auto changes it to 'boot'.
The term "Boofhead" is Australian slang. In the Australian Urban dictionary it is defined as being:
"one who is a little slow, or maybe just does silly thing. They are generally good natured. Boofheads are the sort of person who drink and get so pissed that they decide it is a good idea to occasionally shout people they barely know drinks"
The Urban dictionary also defines a boofhead as:
"a person of significant coiffure or otherwise prominent hairstyle".
Ben does have a prominent hairstyle. He spends a great deal of time in front of a mirror styling it and gelling it and he doesn't like people touching it. He also regularly does silly things.
Ergo Benny is very much a boofhead.
I should explain a few things here and now for non-Australian readers and particularly for Americans who have quite a different take on the term 'pissed'. We Australians refer to being 'pissed' as a state of inebriation. It is being drunk or wankered or hammered. Americans use the term to describe a condition of anger. An angry drunk Australian in America could theoretically be both.
They could be pissed and pissed.
The term 'shout' that I have also used in the quote from the Urban dictionary refers to an Australian custom in pubs. It is when a group of people take turns in buying drinks for each other. This is not yelling or screaming. Shouting is buying a round of beverages which are usually alcoholic and are mostly beer.
The pangs that I felt this morning are still with me now and they are strong. I like the word 'pang' and I also like the words "pong" and "ping'.
A pang is a feeling of anxiety and remorse. It is anguish. I have endeavored to discover it's etymology but it is a little obscure. There is a school of thought that it may be a derivation of the old English word "prong'. There is some reference to it from some literature in the 1560's when it described a son's "prongs of deth' when attending his father's funeral. The word 'death' was spelled 'deth' back in the sixteenth century. I have no idea when or why the 'a' was added. My spellcheck doesn't like it either and has tried to auto correct it. As with the word "boof" I have manually over ridden it.
I rang Ben this morning to wish him all the best for the party tonight. It is not his actual birthday until next week and I will ring him again then to say "Happy Birthday". I will also sing him the 'Birthday Song'. I do this for all my family and friends. You know the one.
"Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Benny. Happy birthday to you."
According to the 1998 Guinness Book of Records the 'Happy Birthday" song is the most recognized song in the English language. The singing of it is often followed by the song, "For he's a jolly good fellow".
I don't sing that one for my friends and family.
The melody of the "Happy Birthday to You" song was composed by two American sisters named Mildred and Patty Hill. They wrote it in 1893 for a song titled, "Good Morning to All'.
Patty was a kindergarten teacher and her sister Mildred was a pianist and composer. They wrote the song for little children to sing when they started school each day. I think the concept is a very nice one and I think if we all sang, "Good Morning to All' at our respective workplaces and homes the world would be a happier and better place.
It would at least be a nice start to the day.
I will endeavor to introduce it in my place of work next week however I suspect that the Singaporeans and English with whom I work will resist.
The lyrical combination of the "Happy Birthday to You" song first appeared in print in 1912 but it was not formally copyrighted in the USA until 1935. It was copyrighted by the Summy Company. The Summy Company credited a man named Preston Ware Orem and a lady named Mrs. R.R Forman as the authors.
In 1990 the American Music Publishing Company Warner/Chappell purchased the copyright for the song and they paid $15 million for it. According to the original 1935 registration documents the copyright does not expire until the year 2030. Unauthorized performances of the song are technically a breach of this copyright and are illegal unless royalties are paid to Warner/Chappell. I have sung the song a few times to American friends - but generally over the telephone from a far away country - so I don't think that I have infringed the copyright law. I will however consult with my lawyer on this matter.
Americans can be vindictive and litigious people and I do not wish to be sued.
I can’t afford it.
When I spoke to Ben this morning I told him that I was quite upset that I couldn't attend his Twenty First Birthday party and he told me that he understood but he would have liked for me to be there. Apparently more than 120 people are attending. The vast majority of them will be getting pissed. Ben told me this with a slight lisp. It is not a natural lisp as Ben has a pierced tongue. I have always told him that he is a dick for having such a piercing but he just laughs and pokes his pierced tongue out at me and he wiggles it about.
He is a cheeky fella.
Twenty first birthday celebrations are big events for Australians. It is their 'coming of age' even though they can drive a car when they are seventeen tears old and they must vote in elections when they are eighteen years old. Voting is mandatory in Australia but it is not mandatory in the USA. In the 2012 Presidential elections in America only 57% of eligible persons chose to cast their vote therefore 43% of the population chose not to. They didn't give a fuck and I don't blame them.
Politics is a dirty game and most Politicians are full of empty promises.
After I chatted to Benny for a while he passed the phone over to his younger sister Georgie. She is my favorite niece and I have written about her before. She likes it. She rings me up and she begs me to write about her in fact.
I asked Georgie how things are going with her boyfriend Rory and she informed me that all was going well. I have written much about the Georgie and Rory saga. The Rory saga was detailed in a post I wrote and unimaginatively titled, "Rory'.
My brother Richard doesn't really approve of Rory. This is mostly based on Rory's appearance and his somewhat checkered junior gangster past. Richard has however now mostly accepted that Rory and Georgie may be in love. Georgie assures me that Rory is a very nice guy and I trust her judgment on such matters. I trust her implicitly and I adore her completely. My niece is feisty and fiery but she is a very good girl.
My love for her and for Benny is boundless.
It is infinite.
Georgie told me that her father who is my brother Richard is not allowing Rory to attend Ben's party so I assume that his acceptance is not yet complete. I asked Georgie whether Rory had now got her name tattooed on his body and she told me that he actually had. He apparently found a small patch of un-inked skin on his left buttock for this but unfortunately the tattoo is spelled "Goergei". Spelling, reading and writing are not strong suits of Rory. He is supposedly an excellent graffiti artist though and is a very talented and experienced shop lifter.
My homesickness pang has not diminished after speaking to Benny and Georgie this morning. It has intensified. I feel it in my stomach and in my heart.
It hurts a lot.