This time of year I look neither behind nor ahead. I look forward to the black hole known as the week between Christmas and New Years. Many folks use the week to take a nice vacation, escape winter or embrace the season and ski or sled or skate or roll around in the snow doing their spastic squirrel routine, which often follows ingesting many ounces of Yukon Jack.
For those of us who remain home, the holiday interregnum is a time to take a look around our houses, take in all the seasonal stuff we plastered everywhere, consider, in our case, both the tree and the menorah, and saying to ourselves, “holy crap. We have to put it all away.” It’s imperative to strip one’s abode of all signs of celebration by New Years Day, lest we be labeled “Holiday Lingerers.” You know who you are. Those people who leave their Christmas lights on their houses past Easter. Guess what? The Easter bunny doesn’t appreciate being greeted by another holiday’s gear. Not only does it piss him off, he swaps out chocolate eggs for ones made of nasty carob. That’s putting all your dregs in one basket!
For those of us who also celebrate Passover, a tardy decoration takedown yields a knock at the door from an incredulous Elijah the Prophet who testily asks, “what? you couldn’t get that schmuck Morty to move your holiday chazerei?”
During normal times when we don’t have lunatic as President there’s not much news to follow either. The POTUS and family go somewhere warm, members of Congress try to remember where they actually live and the government is basically shut down..because employees are on vacation…not locked out of their jobs because the Prez is taking a Twitter tantrum, telegraphing to the world he is, in fact, dumber than any episode of any TV show involving Tom Arnold.
I normally use the week to sort my stacks of Post-it notes, doing a jigsaw puzzle that makes a picture of air, and asking family members to fill in the blank for the sentence: “When I look at my ass in a mirror it reminds me of _________.” That’s a perennial favorite and generally elicits hilarious responses such as “Trump’s head with no hair,” “Two Half Harvest Moons,” and “New Hampshire and Vermont… if their edges were a little more rounded.” I can’t wait to hear this year’s responses. Don’t worry. I won’t share them with you…unless you beg. My readers always come first.
I try not to think about work, which is easy, since I’m mostly retired. My two freelance gigs are fun, don’t take a lot of time and I work from home, which means no office gossip or backbiting. I did, however, spread a rumor about myself to the Walter White bobble-head on my desk that I tried to steal pens and Scotch tape from my wife’s desk. I could swear it warned me to “tread lightly.” Scared the crap out of me.
We don’t do anything on New Year’s Eve anymore because, frankly, we’ve seen a lot of old years become new years and, well, all it means is now I have to trash all my calendars and replace them with new ones. Frankly, it makes me sad to say goodbye to my “Pithy Marcel Marceau Quotes Day-By-Day” calendar. But now I can look forward to the “2019 Reasons to Rejoice the End of The Big Bang Theory” calendar. I looked ahead. January 1st? “Don’t have to go to shrink anymore to try to un-see Sheldon and Amy having sex.”
But that’s all just me. I wish you all a wonderful 2019. Now take down that tree!
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!