'I almost didn’t make it out alive this year,' the director posted on Instagram after turning 48

By Christian Holub
August 02, 2018 at 01:08 PM EDT

Kevin Smith is happy to be here. The filmmaker posted on Instagram Thursday to mark his 48th birthday, which is his first since suffering a near-fatal heart attack back in February. The photo found Smith posing against the wall of the store where Clerks was filmed, wearing one of his signature hockey jerseys.

“This is me leaning against the wall that changed my life. Speaking of life, I almost didn’t make it out alive this year,” Smith wrote in the caption. “So in the words of the great Dante Hicks, ‘I’m not even supposed to be here today!'”

On Feb. 25, Smith had been scheduled to perform two stand-up comedy shows at Alex Theatre in Glendale, California, but suffered a massive heart attack after the first one. Smith posted on social media afterward that he had 100 percent blockage of his LAD artery, a type of heart attack that bears the ominous colloquial name of “Widowmaker.” Speaking about the experience to EW at San Diego Comic-Con last week, Smith joked, “the cure for the middle-age blues is to have a heart attack, kids.”

Smith posted that a “cheap but meaningful gift” his fans could give him for his birthday would be to support his new show Hollyweed. The show is being produced by Rivit TV, “audience-powered television” that hosts a free pilot and then asks fans to pledge whatever they’d be willing to pay for a full season. Hollyweed stars Smith and Donnell Rawlings as two guys running a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles. Longtime fans of Smith’s work may find the formula familiar — he described the concept to EW as “Clerks in a weed store.”