How did 2016 go for you? For me, it was a year of lots of changes including an exit, a re-entry and a rough touch down resulting in an acute need for pain killers and Jack Daniels.
My personal highlights:
- Perfect timing–Two weeks before my scheduled retirement from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles we were informed our Italian boss, away on “personal business” simply wasn’t coming back, having been reassigned to a position in his homeland. Having been through this sort of sudden transition during my television days I knew the timing of my exit couldn’t have been more perfect. In fact, I could hear several of those I left behind begging, “please sir, won’t you take me with you?” Not really. I was trading the turgid bureaucracy of Corporate America for long, leisurely lunches and happy hours laced with Jack and Crown Royal with my wife and bumping shopping carts with fellow retired guys in the super market.
- That was fast–After roughly three months of full retirement, the good people at Automotive News offered me a part-time job reporting for the paper’s video unit and anchoring their daily online newscast on occasion. It was a chance to return to journalism after 11 years, work limited hours and once again have the opportunity to apply makeup in front of other men, sparking all sorts of rumors and accusations, such as the photo of my wife and kids was really a beard. I told them to get over it and call me “Caitlyn.”
- With only moments notice I suddenly ditched my Facebook account and the 783 “friends” I had accumulated over the 6 years I posted on the site. After a couple of days I began to receive urgent texts, emails and even Linkedin messages inquiring about my health, welfare and mental state. Some were very sweet, saying they missed my jokes and puns, others simply wanted to know if I was in hospice. After all, how could someone simply disappear from Facebook with virtually no notice, considering comments or taking into consideration the possibility of scads of “dislikes?” It was easy. Couple of clicks and I was gone. I’ve now retained some degree of privacy, lots of time to do other things, like measure the distance between fire hydrants in my neighborhood, and speak with actual people…with my mouth…not a mouse. Try it.
- Our family summer vacation took us to both Hershey and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Quite a contrast. One day it was death by musket. The next, death by chocolate. But perhaps our most startling discovery was a regional restaurant chain with the high tone name, “Hoss’s.” Where you eat like horses. For about 12 bucks a person you get an entree, such as a million fried shrimp, unlimited access to a saladandotherstuff bar then a dessert bar just to top off the summit of the mountain of food you just ate. Sadly, the nearest Hoss’s to Detroit is in Erie, Penn. about a five hour drive. Hmm…Erie is the gateway to…um.. Buffalo. Perhaps our next family vacation?
- Finally, while playing pickup ice hockey at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m. a member of my team who has not yet mastered looking up while skating, slew-footed my left skate, sending me down to the ice performing a complete split with my left leg. I heard some sort of noise that is probably what it sounds like when a building falls on a street vendor’s head. My teammates helped me up and I limped back to the locker room vowing to be back by the next game. Actually, I was out for a month, walking around like one-footed wallaby. I eventually returned and immediately scored a goal…before the goalie showed up. I was encouraged by my progress.
I look forward to 2017 and all the nonsense, adventure and discovery it’s sure to provide. Then again, there’s the inauguration of our next president…a businessman/reality show host who I’m sure has all sort of big ideas, if only he can wrap them in his tiny hands. Happy New year everyone! Health, happiness and sanity!