My age 42 birthday wish: Meeting 43 by 43
On this day, my 42nd birthday, there is only one thing for me to wish for.
Call it “43 by 43.”
Within the next 12 months, if circumstances should allow for it, I want to meet President George W. Bush and shake his hand.
Paying for a plane ticket from Los Angeles to Texas is not a problem. When something and someone is important enough, you get on a plane.
One year ago it was my desire to meet Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. One month later part of that dream came true. Meeting Vice President Cheney was a thrill. Speaking in front of him was an honor. Meeting him a second time in May of 2013 was even more exciting when he actually remembered who I was.
The message I delivered to Cheney is the same one I want to deliver to “The Dub.”
I will go to my grave knowing they were right. On the big issues that mattered most, they were, are, and will be right. History will vindicate them because, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, I will help write that history.
I do not care if I am the last man standing next to these guys. I believe them, and am proud to still support them when others wavered.
My one sentence to Bush was the same one I said to Cheney.
“Sir, thank you for saving the world.”
My 42 years on this earth has given me many blessings. I have been able to do things most people could only dream about.
As a kid, I wanted to be like Charles Kuralt. I wanted to get in a camper, drive across America, and meet random Americans and hear their stories. I do not own a camper, but plenty of rental cars have allowed me to speak in all 50 states. It started with Los Angeles, with the 50th state coming with a September 24th, 2013 speech in Hays, Kansas. I have made lifelong friends.
My passion for the National Football League has led me to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, the Draft in New York, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. I even got to attend one Super Bowl that came down to the final play and saw one of the greatest upsets in history, the defeat of an 18-0 team. As a fan of the Silver and Black, meeting great Raiders present and past is always an honor.
My love life has seen me find love and lose love. Republican Jewish brunettes gave me more attention than I deserved, and I remain grateful. I could wish to become a husband and father, but that is a responsibility I have to pursue, not something to just wish for.
I have the best friends a guy could ask for. They are lifelong bonds already spanning between 20 and 36 years. The youngest person who lights up my life is a six-year-old son of my friend that we affectionately refer to as “the boy.” Being “Unca Eric” is the greatest feeling in the world.
As a Jewish person, I have learn and grown and met Rabbis and other lay scholars who have given me a valuable education on 6,000 years of tradition.
By the grace of God, I still have my parents. My grandparents are gone, but I had them all when I graduated college and three of them when I turned 30. They are with me every day.
My career saw me leave the stockbrokerage industry to become a full-time political speaker. I left one thing I loved for another thing I loved.
Many people have influenced me, and meant more to me than they will ever know. I have met so many people and thanked them personally. I have met so many people in sports, politics, and other fields, some of them people I admired deeply.
I have all the possessions a guy could need. My television set works, and my computer works often enough. A burger and a soda is more than enough to satiate my hunger and slake my thirst. I want for virtually nothing in this world, except to meet one man.
The only person I have yet to meet is President George W. Bush.
Mr. President, I know you are a busy man. I also know you have been through a lot. Whenever I meet one of your staff, I ask how you are. They insist that you are at peace, with no regrets. Thank God for this.
Between your library, taking care of your ranch, your newfound painting career, and of course being in the grandparent business, I know you have few if any seconds to spare.
If at some point a brief moment appears, it would be my honor to shake your hand.
To meet one of the greatest leaders of all time in one of the most consequential periods in American history is more than any man has a right to expect.
Not every wish is granted, so some gratitude is in order.
Thanks to my grandparents and parents for bringing me into this world, my friends for making it a fun world, the boy for reminding me what matters in this world, and to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for saving the world so we can all enjoy it.