“Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future.” —Oscar Wilde
This December I need a Sanity Clause, because this whole blasted year has literarily, fi guratively, fi nancially (and emotionally), driven me nucking futs.
Not that good things, swell things, haven’t happened; but, by in large, 2013 has been a waste of make-up; a wash; a cosmic curve ball. A swing and a miss.
It goes without saying, like most of us, I spend every New Year’s Eve telling myself that this new year is gonna be better than the last, but then I get to about August and I just want to spit. August is when I realize that the rest of the year has nowhere to go but further downhill. At that point, my year is already littered with the carcasses of broken resolutions, abandoned projects and thwarted intentions. The culprit of these setbacks? Life. My life.
What I want is, in January, the ability to set down some noble resolutions; realistic, achievable, attainable resolutions. But fi rst I have to get rid of this year’s baggage; the carryon luggage I’ll haul into next year that causes my current annual winter anguish. Yes, anguish, and I’m not the Lone Ranger here. Do you (at least I do) come to the closing of the year and realize that ‘no, I’m not making more money nor did I change my evil ways; and no, I have nothing to show for the aspirations that had me sallying forth into 2013 like Big Dog only to retreat like Whupped Ass? My money is funny, my debts are dead serious and I still have the same bad habits that I had at the beginning of the year. And those are the least of my troubles. And how are you this December?
Tell me, is there anything weirder than sending Christmas cards made in an outsourced country that wouldn’t know Santa from Moo Goo Gai Pan? Merry merry, Old Pal.
“Next year will be better!!!” Sure, tell me that and then tell me the economy is having a comeback; real estate is worth more, employment is up, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is within our grasp, and “we can all be middle class now!!!!” You know what my reality-check present will be? Hint: it comes right after the fi rst of the year. No clue? It’s my tax forms, it’s my bank statement; it’s knowing that there’s a few people that I should’ve apologized to for my thoughtless actions. It’s my indication that I’m doomed to repeat my past over and over through all the new years to come ad nauseum. It’s my tip-off that, regardless of my hopes and good intentions, 2014 is gonna suck the big one. As well. I got a lot of payback coming. And you? Are you ready to make changes to your morals and your standards in hopes of a better life? Are you ready to pay off your credit cards, square things with the vet, dentist and mechanic and go back into debt to buy shit from China to give away in the December holidays to people that you either give to all year long or hardly know? Are you ready to reform?
Was that a discouraging word? Oh, sorry Sparky. Let’s see if we can put this into some kind of perspective.
Every year at this time we watch a horror fi lm called “A Christmas Carol.” As you know, it’s about a miserable geezer jerk that is surrounded by the good things that he could be doing but doesn’t until three grotesque spirits scare the beejeezus out of him. A.K.A. ‘The Dickens Effect.’ Now, pause for a moment to consider that we are all, to some extent, disciples of immediate gratifi cation and rarely consider the Dickens Effect; you know, how where you came from and where you are is probably an indication of where you’re going. We cruise along being less than perfectly happy because the situations and conditions we’re in are comfortable. More or less. If you’re comfortable, even in your poorest of circumstances you will never escape until something shows you that getting what you want is dependent on what you’re willing to give up to get it.
We certainly know where we came from to get to this place but we rarely look to see where what we are doing is going to take us; until… until something shakes up our comfort zone and those shake-ups are rarely comfortable (unless it’s hitting the lottery). A calamity. Loss of a job or loved one; a value system shattered or hurricane anyone? What’s a fellow to do?
Look back twenty years, fi fteen, ten, fi ve and then today; all the years on the path you’ve traveled that put you in this place. Do you really want to keep going when you view the next fi ve, ten, fi fteen and twenty years into your future in that context? And so, it’s like the person you were who cannot help becoming the person you are is gonna be that person down the road because you cannot help it. Unless you shake things up a bit. Are you up for it? Nah, neither me. I have become a slave to that person I was and am.
Alas, I’m in a position to tell you that immediate sense gratifi cation is the most common addiction and sometimes the most deadly. That’s the person I was; that’s the person I am and that will be the person I become. Maybe. Isn’t that what New Year’s Resolutions are all about?
Now, with that pearl of wisdom and hope, let me see if I can make it through December. Here’s looking at you kid.