Once in a great while, i do something right. Last night was one of those times.
Emma had her familial 14th birthday party last night, as it was her birthday and many of her friends were gone on spring break. Emma is the daughter of the former Masters of Wiess College  while i was at Rice whom i have known since the age of six. She is preternaturally sweet, perhaps due in part to the fact that she has had many, many medical problems  in her short life. She utterly adores me...and, well, who can blame her? This link sends you to a picture of Emma and an unnamed, shiny-foreheaded fellow taken at a wedding last May.
So one night back around the time of her 7th birthday, i was hanging out at the Wiess Master's House with some friends. While they conducted adult-like conversations with the Masters, i played air hockey with Emma, talking trash back and forth throughout the entire match. Turns out, 7-year-olds are not very adept at talking trash. They're not very adept at air hockey either for i won our match (albeit by only a single goal).  Nonetheless, a good time was had by all.
Our puck-based antics kept Emma up past her bedtime, so after she scored the game-winning shot on herself, Mom dispatched her to bed and i joined the adult activities. However, after getting ready for bed, Emma rushed down the stairs and thanked me for the evening's entertainment by giving me this:
Did i not tell you she was preternaturally sweet?
Moving the narrative clock forward, i needed a card for Emma's birthday present.  Now i'm not a card person. I usually find them impersonal and Hallmark's sense of humor doesn't closely align with mine. This shouldn't surprise you. Nevertheless, Emma is a card person, so something needed to be done.
Now, unbeknownst to everyone, i kept the above "thank you star" from years gone by. Thus, in lieu of a card, i thought i'd return the long ago favor by thanking Emma for still simply being Emma, despite since doubling in age, with this attempted recreation:
Sadly, it's lacking the artistic merit of the original. Whereas Emma's piece is a poignant statement on the indomitable spirit of the human condition...how in the end, while there may be occasional setbacks and, sure, some laws may have to be broken, man perseveres, flourishes, my work is nothing but a cheap knockoff, with no subtext, shading, or message at all aside from "thank you" and "i love you."
Nevertheless, after explaining the context for my thank you star and then producing the original, i'd say that my work effectively communicated its modest message.
I had, in fact, done good.
 Every residential college (i.e. dorm) at Rice has College Masters consisting of a Rice faculty member and their spouse. They live in the Masters' House nearby the college and, in a hands-off way, help out students whenever needed, such as when a student needs to be bailed out of jail, has personal or academic problems to discuss, or to call a student's parents, say, if they defenestrated themselves through the front door of the library while naked and covered with shaving cream.
These particular Masters related to you in this story were/are excellent. I still regularly hang out with them since they have this endearing, and all-to-rare, habit at laughing at my attempts at humor. I like that in a person.
 I cannot recommend strongly enough that if you insist on being born that you have functioning kidneys.
 I think one of the reasons Emma loved me so much is that while all the other college students would always let her win games just because she was only 7 and often sickly, i'd have none of that. I'd beat her and then i'd mock her momma.
 Mario Tennis for Nintendo 64. She wanted it. Her parents couldn't find it. I did. She's happy. I rule.