Today, my friend, Matt Clayfield, turns 22. So I thought if I thought hard enough I would be able to get him a really good present, with low mileage and driver side window that went down so that you could order food at the take-away drive-thru. Alas, Matt has invited me to the most expensive restaurant in town for his birthday, so he can forget any ideas like that.

One of the things I often forget to do is tell people I like them. Hey you, yes you, I like you. Now, like me back.  So, seen as we have been friends for a while, and I don’t have to worry about people accusing me of being a stalker, I thought I would share some of the things I like about you. Matt Clayfield.

I like… the intent look on your face when you write. Staring down the words.

I like… that you introduced me to the extreme sport of pedestrian book-reading. Just today, I walked into a parked truck.

I like… that you have eaten gravel and snorted pepper. But not at the same time. Dangerous.

I like… that in our house it takes us a month to buy a new toaster, and that the purchase of a Breville 4 slice Freestyle Toaster — with electric browning controls, extra wide self-centring toasting slots, cool touch exterior and high lift lever — is something to be congratulated for. Ditto for light bulbs. How long does it take Matt and Dave and Sarah to change a lightbulb? Three weeks, approx.

I like… it when put the phone receiver next to the phone charger, but not on the phone charger.

I like… you for forgiving my past indescretions.

I like… it when you say things like, ‘I don’t know if I respect his palette’. And when you point out the moose in the Toohey’s New ad.

I like… how you receive free books in the mail and immediately re-arrange your bookshelf to accomodate them.

I like… Clare for being patient, when I would want to smack you in the mouth.

I like… your complaints of being lazy.

I like… your hair. What is does, what it doesn’t do.

I like… the fact that neither of us is obligated to laugh at the others jokes, good or bad.

I like… when we go to the cinema or the theatre and you elbow me in the ribs if something impresses you. Ditto, I like the the way you go ‘Ha!’ in the middle of a play or film.

I like… coming home to find you listening to opera, drinking wine and reading a wine magazine in your slippers.

I like… the way you think you don’t know what you want to do with your life.

I like… etc. etc.

Right, now that we’ve got that metaphorical man-love hug out of the way, alls we need to do is give each other a few hard pats on the back, brush off any homo-erotic residue, and we can forget this ever happened.

Happy Birthday, Matt.