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  • I have a friend Huy. His name is pronounced Hwee but people sometimes call him Huey or Hooey and occasionally far worse. He is a computer engineer and reads The Economist cover-to-cover weekly but calls other people, like me, nerds for referencing things he is secretly fascinated by.

    Huy is an avid cyclist and teaches a spinning class whose difficulty level has been known to make tattooed gang members weep openly. Consequently, he is slim. Once he posted to Facebook that he had inadvertently lost 10 pounds and felt he needed to make a concerted effort to incorporate more calories into his diet. I never took a formal poll, but I'm pretty sure that day he would have won Most Hated Person On Facebook.

    Many of Huy's stories reference his uncle. I used to think this was a singularly prolific uncle, a widely-traveled polymath and possibly Renaissance Man, until I realized that in the shade of Huy's family tree, uncles sprout like mushrooms after the rain. They are in endless supply. I believe the last census counted dozens of them.

    Huy and I used to be roommates. Once I asked him for clarification about a story in which he used the word "tchotchkes". Misunderstanding, Huy patiently explained to me, a Jew, that he believed the term meant "baubles". I have never let him forget this outrage.

    Like me, Huy is lactose intolerant. He claims that his Asian heritage has also endowed him with a limited capacity to stomach his liquor, although I privately suspect he uses this as an excuse to perform outrageous acts of behavior with impunity. One evening, he and I and our other roommate Chris had a few cocktails before heading out to dine at a vegan eatery. Once there, Chris and I looked on in mingled fascination and horror as Huy repeatedly breached the restaurant's kitchen in an attempt to reach the bathroom. The waiter (presumably a member of the restaurant co-op), a peaceable earnest type sporting dreadlocks, grew red-faced with anger and threatened to expel us all. I have never been back since.

    Huy is sardonic and generous to a fault. On other people's birthdays Huy will usually ask them if it's just him, or have they had quite a few of these already and do they plan to make it a regular habit, and then note that the occasion is one which brings them inexorably another year closer to their ultimate demise. Today is his birthday. Happy birthday, Huy.
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