[Tanul Agarwal / Unsplash]

Po-Boy Views: Ready or Not

09:00 December 30, 2021
By: Phil LaMancusa

If you're a gambler and, say, this coming year (2022) were your poker hand, it would be three deuces and a Joker. For real. Four of kind, no need to draw one; sit back, bet the farm. "Beat that!" you say…and (with your luck), the dealer pulls a straight flush (beating you). Welcome to the New Year. "The first days are the hardest days; don't you worry anymore, 'cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door," Jerome John Garcia (Jerry to you).

As an eternally optimistic gambler, you hope that this year will be better than the last; but wait(!), didn't you say that last year? And the year before? And the year before that? Life has a way of giving you that "come hither" look while it's kickin' your ass, duddnit? It's something we never get used to. The old carrot and the stick trick.

Here's a prediction, despite your resolutions: in this new year, you're gonna have some really great days and you're gonna have some really awful days; you're gonna have some really REALLY GREAT days and you're gonna have some days that are gonna really REALLY SUCK. With any luck, you'll live through it and come out on the other side and ask 2023 to be a better year, but I wouldn't bet on it. It's called life, and, I beg your pardon, you weren't promised a rose garden (Lyn Anderson). Whatever doesn't kill you doesn't make you stronger; it simply doesn't kill you (with any luck at all). Here's how I deal with it: I treat life like my kitchen; think this through with me.

Some things come in and need prepped and chilled, like paying power bills, car payment, phone bills, and stuff. You know, the perishable stuff that you need to pay close attention to. Some things get put on the menu, like shopping at CVS, calling your pet food delivery service and telling them that you have a buttload of prescription cat food and to just STOP sending stuff, or needing to stop by Foot Locker to replace those blown out running shoes. Some things get put on the shopping list: the dentist, the auto mechanic, the conversation with that lawn guy that blew your leaves into the storm drain.

Other things are cookin': the dinner at Sarah's house (should you bring wine?), play dates with little Dakota and whatshisname at the park, the visit to the veterinarian to get Fluffy's anal glands expressed. Some things merely get shelved: that spa day, sleeping in, answering someone that actually wrote you a letter, sending a donation to the Save the Banana Slug Society. And on and on. So you've got things in the fridge, in the closet, on the cutting board, on the front and the back burner, stuff to get and stuff to get rid of and stuff to keep; then the phone rings: you won the Irish Sweepstakes or the fit has hit the shan.

My personal philosophy is twofold: 1. Don't open any mail that may concern monies owed or paid Friday-Sunday; wait until Monday when you can deal with any complications. 2. Don't answer the phone early in the morning ("Good news sleeps 'til noon," Cowboy Junkies). I needed to realize that I'm not comfortable being uncomfortable, and fretting over a bank statement or IRS correspondence ruins my weekend with no actual closure until Monday anyway, so why subject myself to unnecessary stress (can I get an amen)? The other thing (number 2) is: no pleasant conversation can be had before coffee kicks in.

Last year had births and deaths of people that touch my heart; I shed tears of joy and pain. Last year I gained, lost, and gained again employment; I went in and out of debt (again). Last year I was subjected to a pandemic, a hurricane, and I threw my back out; my car still runs hinky and, once, the cat peed on the bed. I didn't exercise more or drink less as I promised in last year's resolutions; however, I'm still alive and so there is hope for me yet.

Last year watching the news, nothing affecting my life turned out positive; oh, Brittany got her freedom and Alec shot somebody, but did we achieve world peace, combat climate change, help fleeing refugees, or establish women, voter, and animal rights? No. Also, I got older last year and that means that, no matter how I look at it, I have one less year to live; P.S., the streets still have potholes, there's still no recycling, and my electric bill went up despite Entergy posting record profits. Jazz Fest was cancelled TWICE last year!!! What's a poor boy to do?

At times like these when maudlin thoughts rear their head like the Loch Ness monster, I put my rose colored glasses back on.

1. I am of reasonably sound mind and body, despite what others may think.

2. I remain mutually in love and in a positive relationship with a person of worth and beauty because of our working our asses off to keep it
that way.

3. My living situation remains stable and secure, as long as I can pay my bills, keep the termites controlled, and stay on equitable terms with my landlord.

4. I cannot foresee in the coming year any situations worse than those I've faced in the past.

5. I have not missed a meal.

So, here's to 2022; I maintain a suspiciously optimistic attitude that the majority of things (positive and not so positive) that will happen will be out of my control and will eventually lead me to a greater understanding of my value and worth; I will continue to be kind and thoughtful and remember always what the great Keith Richards opines, "Shit happens, but there's always the future."

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