With each passing year, becoming more transparent…

Last year on this day, August 6, I was staying at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, in the middle of a 10-day trip through Israel with my family. It was a special time which I’ll never forget. August 6 was particularly memorable because it was also my birthday. And, moreover, because nobody actually remembered that it was my birthday. Go figure — something memorable for not being remembered.

I started the day with my usual travel routine. Ate breakfast, went for a run, and then met up with my family to start a walking tour through the Old City. I kept my mouth shut. Didn’t say a word about my birthday all day, waiting for someone to remember it. But no one did.

Then at about 5pm, after we got back to the hotel, I walked into my room with my son. Waiting for me on the coffee table was a chocolate cake that read, “Happy Birthday.” I was relieved. Someone remembered my birthday after all. So I asked my kid, “Hey, did you arrange for this?” He said, “No.”

So I called my parent’s room down the hall and thanked them for the cake. But all I got was an apology that they forgot my birthday and that they didn’t send the cake either.

Next, I grabbed my cell phone and sent a text to my girlfriend, who was home in the U.S. I thanked her with a snarky note, “It’s about time you wished me a happy birthday! Thanks for the cake!”

But she too offered only an apology, and said the cake wasn’t her doing.

I was baffled.

After we got cleaned up for dinner, my kid and I walked down to the lobby and I asked a receptionist at the front desk who sent me the cake. As it turned out, when I checked into the King David, someone at the front desk noticed the date of birth on my passport and a guy who worked in the hotel’s back-office made the decision to send the cake to me. I laughed at the irony that the only person who remembered my birthday didn’t even know me!

I have a pretty good sense of humor and my family does too. There were no hard feelings and it served as a lesson that I should be more transparent. I don’t remember whether I was amusing myself by keeping my birthday a secret, but I probably should’ve spoken up. Whatever. Live and learn.

This year, I’ve taken a big leap forward in the transparency department, especially by making my opinions known though my weekly commentaries. August marks the one-year anniversary of the blog, which I’ve been diligently grinding out (and amusing myself with).

I’ve tried to couch all of my commentary appropriately so that readers don’t mistake me for a paid journalist. And I’ve tried to maintain the integrity of the blog as a place for unbiased information — and sometimes biased information, too. (Hey, I just said I’m not paid for this stuff.)

If you’ve got critical comments for me, if there are deal-related topics you think I should be writing about, or, if you disagree with me about something, I welcome the dialogue. I read and respond to every email.

And, oh yes, thanks for remembering my birthday this year, even if I did grossly promote it in stark contrast to last year. I’m working to be more transparent (plus, I want to make sure nobody forgets my cake).