Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A prisoner of the past says Happy New Year!

You can tell just by peeking in my checkbook I’m really looking forward to 2016.
As is my custom, this is the week I designate our 9 year old to begin writing “16” after all the 20s on the dateline of each check.
I do this because I’m one of those boneheads who’d use the old year on checks clear up through May before I’d finally stopped living in the fiscal past.
But I am looking forward to 2016.
Saying that makes me seem like a rosy optimist and, yeah, I am.
But I’m enough of a dour realist to stipulate I do so because I have no choice.
I can’t stop time even if I wanted to.
Would I stop it right now if I could? This week?
It’s been a very good week. We had a fantastic Christmas. It’s a joy to have two loving daughters around this time of year. And Val does so much to make everything special.
But, of course, I’m broke and believe 2016 will be the year that changes all that for the better, I hope. So I’m itching for happy results the new calendar is sure to bring.
That almost never happens, but I’m convinced one day it will.
Maybe part of my problem is that according to my calendar it’s still 2013.
That was the last year I’ll ever buy another calendar.
I used to put a lot of thought into buying the current calendar. I’d wait a few weeks for the prices to drop — you can get a $13.95 calendar for just $5 in February if you’re not picky about your January dates.
I’d get snazzy golf ones, ones of lighthouses and once in a while one that was a tasteful homage to Moe, Larry and Curly.
That all stopped in 2012 when my daughters for Christmas gave me a “Girl’s Coloring Book 2013 Calendar!” The cover promises “A fun new picture to color every month!”
Why it was restricted to girls, I don’t know. It seems unnecessarily sexist, especially in these days when people are more sensitive about those sorts of things.
I’m sure a lot of boys like coloring pictures of rainbows, flowers and unicorns, too.
Anyway, the girls colored all over the thing and stood there while I gushed about the result.
What could be more precious?
So I’ll keep it forever. I just print out the new month and tape it over the lower half date part so I don’t get confused.
Now part of me will be forever stuck in 2013.
A lot of bad things happened that year.
It was the year of the Boston Marathon bombing, Edward Snowden, the death of Nelson Mandela and the year our Catholic friends had to adjust to life under not one, but two living popes.
North Korea was up to no good, George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin, partisans in Syria decided it was time to commence to killing, and in Washington there again was gridlock galore.
But the Pirates made the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, we took the kids to Disney, I scored an invite to golf at Oakmont and immensely enjoyed the final season of “Breaking Bad.” And it was in 2013 I got my picture taken with Playboy Playmate of the Year Clair Sinclair.
I wonder if she still has her copy.
Too numerous to note are all the times I laughed with friends, hugged my family, experienced contentment, enjoyed a good book, savored a fine meal, and felt grateful that so many of you read my blog.
I contend it’s not surprising bad things happen to us.
What is surprising is how much joy we can wring out of even the worst of times.
So bring on 2016. Let us revel in the possibilities the future may bring.
Sure, the news is full of dire prophets who contend it will be a terrible year.
So what?
If our happy history proves anything it is that we’re all are capable of having really great times even during bad years.
Bring it on.
Happy New Year!

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