Tuesday night as I was driving alone on I-80 towards the sunset, Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer" played on my stereo, and I was reminded that most of life's best moments are the simple ones. Last Friday I turned 32, and though I can present plenty of evidence to suggest that 31 was a lousy year, I can count a lot of blessings, too. So I've assembled a list of 31 of my most memorable "moments" at age 31. A few are bittersweet, but most are just sweet, and even if they aren't very interesting for anyone else to read, they make me feel better for acknowledging them.
1. November 3rd, 2007: Halfway through The Last Starfighter's performance of "Money" at the U32 Ward Talent Show (Not the Pink Floyd version; our own original song), I perform my first ragged drum solo.
2. November 17th, 2007: After ducking out of the ward service auction, I dance in a crowd of oddballs at the feet of the B-52’s at The Depot in Salt Lake City.
3. November 22nd, 2007: 10 years to the day after returning from my mission to Chicago, I catch a touchdown pass in my first Turkey Bowl in four years.
4. November 25th, 2007: After figuring out how to render old VHS tapes onto my computer, I watch a taped interview with my grandparents from my 12th birthday party.
5. November 29th, 2007: After a lifetime of musical influence, my entire family attends our first concert together when we see Billy Joel perform at Energy Solutions Arena.
6. December 15th, 2007: Following a Red Iguana dinner and a tour of Temple Square, a dozen of my close friends and our dates gather in my living room and fight over a two foot white porcelain cockatoo while Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” plays in the background.
7. January 4th, 2008: Three hours after entering the Thaifoon at The Gateway, my date and I are still at our table chatting away when a vacuum cleaner starts in the distance.
8. January 6th, 2008: While transitioning into my new graveyard work schedule, I stagger up to the U32 pulpit during fast and testimony meeting and out Katie and John’s dating status in the middle of a sleep-deprived ramble.
9. January 21st, 2008: Andy Waits says "the KJZZ Cafe is now open for business" live for the first time, and I officially become a TV producer. The next day Scott Pierce of the Deseret News rips us a new hole. Ten months later, we're still going strong.
10. February 2nd, 2008: I drive through Bountiful to Grandma Terry's funeral listening to The Stones play "Shine a Light".
11. March 8th, 2008: On a sunny day in winter, Dad and I weave a red Honda S-2000 at 85mph through Saturday traffic on I-15 with the top down.
12. March 17th, 2008: High up in the upper bowl, I jump up and snag one of those promotional balls that are fired up from the court via slingshot at Jazz games. My one-handed grab becomes a symbolic transitional point in a difficult year.
13. March 20th, 2008: Breto and I get down with 150 other people in Kilby Court in Salt Lake while Jonathan Richman plays "I was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar" a few feet away.
14. March 23rd, 2008: A number of confused ward members laugh as Bishop Greg Kjar sustains me as the U32 English Tutor.
15. April 11th, 2008: An employee at Barbacoa gives me a free lemonade because I had to wait for the transition between the breakfast and lunch menus. Within the hour I am at home enjoying one in a long line of Barbacoa burrito bowls w/pinto beans, spicy pork, two scoops of Pico de Gallo, and one scoop of the hot sauce.
16. April 13th, 2008: After giving an abridged talk at the U32, Mike Driggs tells me he’s never heard anyone refer to dropping acid in a sacrament meeting before.
17. April 22nd, 2008: As I complete a wait that began in the seventh grade, I stand in Randy’s office and try on the pair of Air Jordan IV’s I ordered off eBay…and discover that they are about a half-size too small.
18. May 16th, 2008: I stand in a crowd of 20,000 raging fans in Energy Solutions Arena prior to Game 6 of the Jazz-Lakers series as the pre-game intensity rises to a level I haven't ever experienced in any previous playoff game.
19. June 13th, 2008: After taking Katie around Salt Lake following a string of elaborate clues, I give her a hug and drop her off at the entrance of Red Butte Gardens, where John is waiting to propose by the duck pond.
20. June 18th, 2008: Randy and I enjoy a genuine Chicago Deep Dish Pizza at the Rush Street Giordano’s.
21. June 20th, 2008: Five minutes after grabbing a table at the Blue Chicago, the John Primer Blues Band whips into a cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me", and I lay eyes on one of the most beautiful girls I've ever seen sitting at the next table...drinking a beer with her parents.
22. June 21st, 2008: I confront director George Lucas at a Michigan Avenue Nordstrom's after he's done trying on a topcoat and mumble an awkward "thank you" while shaking his hand.
23. July 18th, 2008: Heath Ledger pulls the “pencil trick” in “Dark Knight”, and as I leave the Gateway Theater I realize that I want to act again.
24. July 30th, 2008: I stand in a small group with three of my longtime friends at the Usana Amphitheater while Joe Cocker sings “With a Little Help from My Friends”.
25. August 1st, 2008: I make my live television debut on the KJZZ Café, doing a short editorial about Techno-Zombies.
26. August 25th, 2008: I sit alone atop a mountain in Island Park, Idaho and watch the sun rise over Henry's Lake.
27. September 11th, 2008: On a perfect night in early fall, I pull out a borrowed HD video camera and record Katie and John as they dance to the music of a professional jazz combo.
28. September 15th, 2008: While driving home from my right-leaning morning show on the newly opened Legacy Highway, I head to Wal Mart and totally embody Rocky Anderson’s worst nightmare.
29. September 27th, 2008: I take aim at an apple with Glock 9mm near Francis Peak in Farmington and in a moment of rare accuracy, blow it to smithereens.
30. October 7th, 2008: Several hundred fans and I jump up and down in a suffocating mass at the feet of Rivers Cuomo, singing along to “Pork and Beans” at the Weezer concert.
31. October 18th, 2008: I watch Bruce Campbell laugh as he takes a chainsaw to his possessed hand in “Evil Dead II” during Zombie Fest 2008.
Of course these weren't all my favorite memories from the year I was 31. I don't put everything on the Internet.
And neither should you.
Here's to 32.