West Seneca, NY—The twenty-fourth birthday of Lenorard Luthenpoe was recently celebrated at his parents house with a dinner of Indian takeout that included chicken marsala, samosas and plenty of naan (bread). It was a raucous dinner with everyone talking at once, an argument about how to equitably split up the naan and the family dog, Little Pete circling the table in hopes of picking off a stray fragment of the spicy chicken.
After singing happy birthday and cutting the cake Luthenpoe’s family, which includes his two older sisters and parents, settled in for the Declaration of Greatness. The Luthenpoe Declaration of Greatness is a family tradition when the people who know, love and appreciate you the most push back against a harsh and unforgiving world with a moment of praise and affirmation on your birthday.
His mom Lilly Luthenpoe started. Taking a deep breath, her eyes fighting back tears said, “Aw, little Lenny—my last born, my baby. Though my breasts were essentially ruined nursing you, those were the happiest eight-years of my life. Love you, my boy.” Lily then turned her gaze toward her husband and with a cynical smile said, “Heaven knows, no one else was paying my breasts any attention.”
Next came sister Lucille, “Nobody was ever a better liar than you Lenny. Like that time my old boyfriend Lester left a used condom on the laundry room floor. Remember? You told dad you were experimenting with your body, but you didn’t want to leave incriminating evidence like crusty towels or socks around, so you were using condoms. It was the dumbest lie ever, but you were so sincere dad bought it.” Lenny laughed and nodded. “I’ll never forget that Lenny. You’re the best,” his sister smiled
Lynda Luthenpoe, Lenny’s oldest sister said, “I always appreciated your lack of inhibitions. Like when I used to dress you up like a girl and we would play Brittney Spears and sing “Opps!…I Did it Again” and “Toxic.”
Again Lenny nodded and said, “Yeah, that was a lot of fun until that Larry kid started to come over and play Justin Timberlake with you. And after him that dude—what was his name? Luke, yeah Luke would play Kevin Federline with you. Good times.”
After glaring a hole through his two daughters, Luther Luthenpoe, Lenny’s dad took a few breaths and with some emotion said, “It took about ten years before I didn’t have to remind you to bring the garbage totes in from the curb and you still do a shitty job cutting the lawn, but you can really grow a nice beard. It’s all even and full—no holes whatsoever. And, another thing, you’re great at picking up a pizza. Not once in all those times you went and got the pizza did you ever come back empty handed. It was always hot and you never lost it or dropped it. Not once—you’re 100%. Quite an accomplishment. I appreciate and love you son. Happy birthday.”
Lenny then raised his glass in appreciation and said, “To the greatest family ever. Thank you.”