December 06, 2006
We have a ritual that plays out every Tuesday afternoon at my house. That's when, exhausted from the grueling work week that began a day earlier, I take my afternoon nap.
Karen noted a while back that when I wake up I resemble a little boy. I don't know if she says that to make me feel good or not (maybe it's because of the urine stench) but I've taken it to heart, and actually lapse into my little boy persona.
"I was sheeping and then I woke up," I exclaim in my best Little Rickey voice.
"Did you have nice nap, honey?" she asks.
"No," I say with a pout. "I dreamt that during my nap 40 years went by and my entire childhood passed by and now I'm an old has-been!"
"You'll never grow old, honey," she says in her best Mrs. Cleaver voice.
It's about then that I pound down a couple cocktails, realizing, in fact, I have grown old, and my life has indeed passed me by.
This brief interlude of self-loathing was triggered by an article I read about how the holiday season is the most depressing time of the year for many people. In fact, the suicide rate is the highest during Christmas week, a stinging rebuttal to Santa Claus if ever there was one.
It's something about the human condition — those of us who are unhappy don't really like to observe people who are happy, because it exacerbates the despair and loneliness.
In America, where all things are ugly, we know how to really rub it in.
"We bought a big screen color television," someone will chortle to a friend who is being evicted.
"My husband gave me diamond earrings for Christmas!" a woman will exalt to a friend whose husband just dumped her for a Party Babe he met at the bar.
Go ahead, rub it in. That's the American way.
I've embraced the "It's all about me" philosophy that permeates every day of our lives. The way I look at it, if I can spoil and pamper myself because I've become old and irrelevant, it becomes a trade-off. Yes, my best years are behind me . . . buy a new truck. I'll never amount to anything . . . let's have another bottle of wine with our steaks. My knees ache . . . think I'll buy more stuff for myself.
This is how god cares for his children; we begin and end our lives in the same way: wearing diapers, drooling and mumbling incoherently. It's a hell of a thing to look forward to.
On that cheerful note, I am proud to report — and I know all of you are thrilled to learn — that I have come to grips with the fact that I am no longer young.
Henceforth, Low Tidings will discontinue the immature prattle, the shameless self-promotion, the desperate pandering for attention, and focus instead on grave matters that concern all of us, like football and stuff like that.
No more will I wallow in the waters of bathroom humor, take cheap shots at those less fortunate than me, or use this space to connive free liquor and food.
Today, I am a man.
From now on, I plan on being more like my fellow columnists — not just boring and insignificant, but squeaky clean. No more double entendres, slightly veiled references to body parts (or actual references), no more four-letter words. That stuff is for kids.
So, my New Year's resolution includes grown-up stuff. I promise to eat my Brussels sprouts, wash my hands before leaving the bathroom and not to take the lord's name in vain. I promise not to have impure thoughts (well, maybe a few).
I vow to become the eyes and ears of you, our loyal readers, and write about things that concern you, things that consume your lives (if I can figure out whatever the hell they are).
Yes, in the words of Robert Hunter, "It seems like this whole life was just a dream."
"Karen, I was sheeping and then I woke up."
"Did you have a nice nap, Honey?"
"No, I dreamt that during my nap I grew up and my column stopped being a sophomoric embarrassment that's frequently overboard and almost always filled with references to my intimate body parts and instead became a serious newspaper column that discusses important issues in a reasoned, somber, intelligent manner."
"Oh Rickey! You were having a bad dream! Low Tidings will never be an important issue-based newspaper column!"
"Are you sure?"
"Of course I am! You're too self-centered and stupid to write about anything important. You'll always have the literary style of a 12-year-old with dirty underwear. You'll always be a pimple-faced little schmuck!"
Whew! I was worried there for a second.