Joe and I Are Twins
With Similar Interests

Joe Biden and I are 77 year old twin brothers. However, our births were complicated nearly eight decades ago. Even though we were both born of the 20th of the month, Joe was born in November, and I waited until January. Some of you are surely wondering about why it took me two additional months to enter this world. At the time, I didn’t know nor did I even care. It was only recently that I finally realized why my delivery was delayed until January. The reason was that Joe will be our new president on January 20th, which is my birthday. Interestingly, it is also the birthday of George Burns.

Another sibling parallel is that we are both in our twilight years. Many of the concerns that motivates Joe are the same that drive me. We both care about those that are our family. Joe and I have met many people in all our travels both in the States and beyond our shores. We have reached out to help many people who we see as family. Our inclusiveness brings us sheer joy.

Another parallel is that we both know that our clocks are ticking. Joe’s life has involved watching some of his nuclear family dance with death. My experiences were a bit more personal. I was the one dancing. One of my dances was due to a traumatic brain injury and the other dance involved prostate cancer, which spread beyond the prostate. Whether we were an observer or dancer, we can hear our clocks ticking. As we journey down our yellow brick roads of life, we both know that we must address our finiteness.

The Danse Macabre

How much time remains for each of us isn’t known, which is, in a strange way, a bonus. We both know that we must get in gear in our twilight years. There is a finiteness to our lives. Man, that reality drives us to act before it is too late. On either of our deathbeds, we don’t want to lament, “I wasted too much on my time on the yellow brick road of my life. I should have helped more people.” Joe and I don’t know when we won’t be able to lead death on the dancefloor of our lives, but we do know that this is to time to act.

Joe’s family soon will grow exponentially. As our new president, he will inherit a mess, which Donald the Dumb arrogantly created. President Obama addressed the 2008 Great Recession, which he inherited from his predecessor.

The cleanup team

Joe will have to deal with the Trump virus. America has 25% of the world’s confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 even though America makes up 4.4% of the world’s population. Apparently, the virus hasn’t just gone away.

In Joe’s waning years, he follows the lead of his mentor, President Obama. For example, Obama’s inclusiveness of all people was one of his modus operandi. Joe will be as inclusive. His pick of Sen. Kamala Harris is a wise choice. Joe is aware that Sen. Harris brings a different Weltanschauung to his administration. She is a younger leader who is a female and is an interesting mix of minorities. Therefore, the next four years will be a time of restoring both of what America had been and what America can still be. My twin brother will lead and teach as he passes the torch to a new generation.

Biden and Harris

Now, Joe has both a national and global family to deal with. On the other hand, my family is much smaller. I discovered a part of my family when traveling in Southeast Asia nearly seven years ago. I went to Myanmar in the hope of interviewing the Lady, Aung San Suu Kyi, and met a young lady, who is my granddaughter. Ti Ti was nine the first time we met. This is a photo of Ti Ti then.

This is Ti Ti now.

I am following the modus operandi of my twin. Joe is working on a macroscale while mine is a micro one. Nevertheless, my sheer joy is difficult to explain. Ti Ti and her two younger sisters, Snow and Fatty, are my grandchildren. Their parents, Moh Moh and Ko Ko, are my children.

It was nearly seven years ago during winter break from teaching that I met my family. Two years ago, I returned for another visit. And during my winter break just before COVID-19 became the grim reaper, I returned for my third visit. I spent nearly a month touring some places in Myanmar that I had visited before and places that I still can pronounce.

Sometime after the inaugural and the Biden-Harris administration has a moment to breathe, I’d like to sit down with my twin for a chat. I’d like to tell Joe about my coining the phrase, “It is in giving that we get.” I have used that sentence for years. It is especially true when it comes to my family. What I share with them comes back to me and vice versa.

I came up with that sentence on my own. However, there was something about it that reminded me of some other statement. Finally, I googled my sentence and found the genesis of my words. St. Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive.” Interestingly, William Shakespeare understand what both St. Francis and I meant. He wrote, “One of the finest comforts that life offers us is that you cannot sincerely help others without helping yourself.”

So, this essay is about two old white guys, which is true. Nonetheless, what you have read is a parable or a metaphor. In reality, we are all sisters and brothers to each other. Interestingly, we are descendants of peoples that came out of Africa. Or more precisely, our roots go back to the area that is called today Kenya. Our oneness needs to be embraced. Remember, it is in giving that we get. The more inclusive we get, the richer and happier we get.

On the past New Year’s Eve, we celebrated as a family at our family’s favorite eatery, Nyaung Shwe Restaurant near Inle Lake. The owner allowed me to make my favorite dessert, Banana’s Bo Bo Gyi.

Fortunately, I didn’t burn down the restaurant. Then my granddaughters sang Auld Lang Syne. Joe and I know that our journeys down the yellow brick road won’t last forever. However, we will be remembered by our families.