I’m one of those people who can’t remember a birthday to save his life. If a family member’s or friend’s special day isn’t logged on my calendar, it may as well not exist. Even worse, I tend to record such occasions only after I’ve missed them. Take my brother-in-law’s D.O.B., for example. Just today, I finally got around to inking it onto my calendar. I say better late than never. Understandably, Vincenzo begs to differ.
Though I may’ve been the last to congratulate my wife’s brother upon reaching another year, I was indisputably the first to acknowledge a significant milestone. Vincenzo called me a week ago to inform me of his first-ever arrest. Despite subsequent events, I won’t repeat the criminal charges against him or opine as to his guilt. That’s the least I can do under the circumstances. All I’ll say is, he asked me for the name of a good defense lawyer to represent him. He also made me promise not to tell Sophia or their parents about his legal jam. I’m pleased to report that I kept my promise, even if it’s all I’m proud of at the moment.
My brother-in-law’s brush with the law offered me the perfect opportunity to dispose of a specialized greeting card gathering dust on my desk the past year. A client of mine had given me a sample card from a line meant for prison inmates. The front read: “Sorry to hear about your arrest.” On the inside, a message said: “You’re in my thoughts and in my prayers.” The card obviously seemed ideal for Vincenzo’s situation, so I addressed it to him and mailed it several days ago.
Last night, I learned several previously unknown details:
- Vincenzo’s birthday happens to be this week;
- Vincenzo’s wife, Florenzia, assumes any card delivered to her husband at this juncture must be from a birthday well-wisher;
- Florenzia takes the liberty of opening all “birthday” cards addressed to Vincenzo, so she can display them on the fireplace mantle; and last, but not least,
- Vincenzo hadn’t yet advised his wife and children of his arrest, and he harbored no foreseeable intent to do so.
I learned those details from my wife, who in turn heard them from Florenzia during a telephone call yesterday, which began: “You’ll never guess what that rat bastard brother of yours and soon to be ex-husband of mine did!” As I also learned, a nearly identical call followed to Sophia’s parents, informing them of their “rat bastard son’s” illicit activities.