-- Mark Twain
The hustle and bustle of Christmas is but a fleeting memory in our mind’s photo album as we stare down the foggy path into the future. Preparations to traverse a threshold that is a brand new year punctuate the energy and excitement of the holidays.
I love the year-end retrospectives and predictions which permeate television and print media at this time of the year. They’re helpful reminders of where we’ve been and what’s to come...even though we're about to careen from the media proclaimed "Fiscal Cliff."
As an added bonus, year-end reviews are so much more meaningful and deep when hosted by Al Roker or Ryan Seacrest.
Past is, indeed, prologue.
I hope that the new year unlocks the door to pressing unknowns in this crazy, fast paced world…such as:
a) WHO will be the next American Idol??????
b) Did I pay my bar tab last night?
c) HOW is South Beach Tow a real television program?
d) How are there absolutely NO nude photos of Jessica Alba on the Internet. I'll settle for photoshop fakes!!
e) Will I ever, EVER successfully make it through the traffic signal at the intersection near my house??
I had but one obligation on Christmas day this year…it involved laying on my couch eating a tuna wrap and Fritos, bouncing between a Star Wars marathon and “A Christmas Story“, then the NFL Network special edition football game.
Each Christmas morning I usually call my buddy Todd to verify that the “Santa” presents are being unwrapped by his kid and that he's still married.
I wait for an additional hour (usually the amount of time that it takes for his kid to break all of the “Santa” presents and for Todd and his wife to wage a full scale argument.) I then swoop in and rescue him by taking him out for about three shots of whiskey as his wife blows up his cell phone.
For the record, Todd usually stashes a sexual toy in Melissa's stocking. This year his in-laws stayed over and Melissa opened "The Eager Beaver" right in front of mom and dad. Hahahaha! Todd is a hopeless romantic I suppose.
Somehow, I got blamed for it??!!
Todd is a political thriller and history author. When he's not writing, he's usually making up a story as to how I've kept him out late in order to avoid trouble at home.
Todd usually gives me a book for Christmas and this year he presented me with my very own copy of a Time Life book titled:
"Twenty Largest Disasters In World History"
Nothing says Happy Holidays quite like a front row seat to death, destruction, mayhem and suffering. The only thing which would have made my gift complete is if he’d punched me directly in the head as hard as possible and then lit me on fire.
Another part of the preparation process for greeting the new year is dismantling the Christmas decorations.
Folklore has it that it’s bad luck to enter a new year with decorations still in place. It appears that it’s bad luck to put up decorations in the first place; as proven by a close friend who fell and broke his arm this year while situating a star atop his 20-foot Christmas tree.
I only taped Christmas cards to my kitchen entryway this year. I also placed a beautiful poinsettia on my front porch...which I lifted from the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton downtown.
I received many cards this season and appreciate each one. However, in retrospect, I wish my friends would have just given me the $131.00 which they collectively spent on this pile of cards so that I might pay my parking fines to the city of New Orleans.
I don't mind paying fines and city taxes to the New Orleans Municipal Government, as it goes toward important services such as:
- Filling the same pothole in front of my house 197 times per year
- Repairing crime cameras after criminals either shoot them or dismantle them with ball bats
Writers sometimes freelance and I figured this would be a PERFECT independent project for me. Some of my sample submissions included:
Even though my dad is dead, I wish you a happy father's day.
In your time of mourning, please know that our thoughts are with you. And, everyone wishes that it had been you instead.
On this Valentines Day, I realize that many of your co-workers will receive masses of flowers and fancy balloon deliveries. Don't be envious...just remember, I have a huge penis!
To the BESTEST grandson in the whole wide world**
**Please give this card and enclosed money to your brother…Oh, and Happy Birthday!
I miss you very much. So, I've engaged in a large amount of promiscuous sex in order to allay my feelings of loneliness, neediness and low self esteem.
F%*k You Mike!!
Congratulations on your engagement. As you spend this blissful time before the big day, keep in mind that there’s still time to find someone much better!
Get Well/Male Child
Get Well/Male Child
Sorry about your boo boo. If you had a stronger male role model in your life you wouldn't be such a sissy.
Baby Daddy/ Father's Day
Insert name(s) here
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
Baby Daddy/ Father's Day
Insert name(s) here
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
My published writing and blog silliness is just that…silliness. As I reflect at the end of 2010, I'm reminded of a reader email which I recently received:
Love reading your stuff from the middle of nowhere Iraq. I could tell you where I'm stationed, but then I'd have to kill ya. Haha! It must be fun to be in your head for a day...I'm curious, do you EVER write serious stuff? If you do, I'd love to read it. Have a great New Year!
Let me refocus your attention to, what I believe to be, a very serious issue about which I wrote earlier in this piece...
WHY are there no nude photos of Jessica Alba?? WHY?
Serious stuff huh? Okay, here goes...
While I believe in the importance of assisting impoverished regions throughout the world, it’s important to note that we live in the world's wealthiest nation. Yet 13 percent of people living in the United States live in poverty. It's not my fault, nor yours...but it's a fact.
Nearly one in four children live in households that struggle to put food on the table. The number attached to that percentage translates to 16.7 million children.
Between Iraq and Afghanistan, over 180-thousand soldiers put their lives on the line each day.
Whether or not you believe in the foundation for these wars, that statistic is real and represents real people--such as the soldier who sent the above email. They greatly deserve our support and honor.
Between 6 and 8 million animals end up in shelters each year, with the exception of one little needy cat and a scruffy little dog who have recently found a happy home in the tiny offices of Pontchartrain Press.
Of the above number, 3-4 million of these animals are euthanized yearly.
The numbers go on and on and on, representing the good, the bad and the ugly. Oddly, I still find myself concentrating on the numbers which represent "good."
The number of people who volunteer for a higher cause, the number of people who make the world a brighter place and the number of people who I encounter on a daily basis who offer something as simple as a warm and genuine smile.
Those are the people who generally make me not want to throw them or myself into an oncoming bus. And...that represents the good.
Don't mistake my sentiments...I'm not going left wing or soft...so as not to anger Rush Limbaugh.
I do, indeed, act like a child most of the time, so I recently reached out to a close writer friend of mine for deeper perspective. As an historical note, I typically do not engage in conversation of a serious nature when I call Amanda because I'm usually undressing her with my eyes, but she sums up selflessness and friendship much better than I:
Anytime I'm at a red light and someone is standing there with a sign, I give them the 72 cents in the ashtray. I know these people aren't gonna spend it on food. It's not like they're one hot meal away from turning it all around.
In fact, I hope they spend it on booze or drugs or whatever's gonna get them through one more night. At least I know where I’ll be sleeping tonight, and it won't be in an abandoned warehouse where the very attempt at staying warm may very well kill me.
I don't know how to help you make your point in this article, except to tell you MY point of view on it...
Give when you can, whatever you can, to whomever needs it. Start at home. Take care of the people you know and love. Don't let anyone in your realm be hungry, homeless or lonely if there's a way for you to help.
A healthy perspective indeed Amanda. I'm still trying to figure out how she knows that there is precisely 72 cents in the car ashtray. Then again, Amanda remembers each and every time I've been incorrect about something or did something dumb for the past 6 years.
From the streets of America to a village in Africa; another enlightening perspective from Pete:
An acquaintance who served briefly as a missionary in Africa told me about the most interesting observation she made while there:
The Americans had brought some non-perishable food items and they had fun teaching the kids to bake a cake from a Betty Crocker mix. But, the kids had the most fun with the BOX. They'd never seen one, had no concept of waste and no word for "trash."
Who needs a word for trash? A picture is worth a thousand words...
Of course, I'm KIDDING! I know trash when I see it...
I really have no clever way to make my exit from this piece other than to offer my wishes for peace, love and prosperity to you in the new year.
This has certainly been an enlightening year. A year filled with ups, downs, in betweens, gratuitous nudity, laughter, tears, a weird football season, the ONE time I finally beat Todd at a game of pool and some random guy who pulled his pants down on the St. Charles streetcar line while singing a Fats Domino song...but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Life is much more interesting that way.
Here's to the new year...and many more!! Now, back to my quest for Jessica Alba photos.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
coyright Pontchartrain Press 2010