So, here we are for our third annual year in review, or, on average, 2 years and 364 days longer than most folks thought I would make it. I took two weeks off to rejuvenate the spirit and inspire the soul. That was the plan anyway. Then a midlife crisis arose, mild depression set in and I joined a senior softball league in which the average age of the players is 68. And they're all better than me.
This circled back around to the midlife crisis and the mild depression, and thus a vicious cycle commenced. Now I have "On Golden Pond" and "The Bucket List" playing on a loop on the TV and "I Did It My Way" repeating on my iPod. Good times, they are a happening. Surely, things were better a year ago, let's go see.
Well, that didn't work. The first column of last year involved me planning my funeral a la commode, after realizing all my friends and family could pay their last respects by comfortably assembling in the men's room of the church.
I then wrote of my harmless use of the male pronoun while referring to God, which inspired my decidedly feminist lunch partner to scale the Mt. McKinley of soap boxes and preach from on high. I allowed this blustering to go on unabated until my cheeseburger chilled, at which point I jettisoned all her beliefs by simply explaining that God had to be a man because who else could invent the DVR, the one device in the universe to allow the game to be paused while the little woman empties her hot air balloon to an audience, and then to be resumed, nary a play lost to loquaciousness? If God had equipped the Garden of Eden with a DVR, the world would surely be a better place.
The next week I revealed that my first name is actually "Howell," an annual full-moon inspiration to the pack of wolves that were my classmates for roll call on the first day of school. Though still scarred from the sting of these serenades, I'd like to thank that lady down at the courthouse, the one who, upon my 18th birthday, talked my drunken self out of changing my legal name to "Howell You Like Me Now?"
I told the tale of a lesbian couple in England who raised their infant son, Sasha, "gender-neutral" for the first 5 years of his life due to their negative opinions of stereotypes. Only upon Sasha entering school did they reveal he is a boy. They say curiosity killed the cat, but if Sasha ends up in the girls' bathroom one more time, he'll get neutered and be wishing he was the cat.
After writing of my New Year's resolution to quit sweating the small stuff, I realized I'd have nothing to write about and the perpetually peeved would lose their voice, so I scrapped it. News of our third straight church league softball championship failed to generate a single spring training invite, forcing me to accept as fact that the Yankees really did lose my number.
I told a traffic tale in which a gentle tap on the horn to alert an oncoming motorist that had crossed the center line and was about to initiate spooning between our respective radiators, led to me getting a "fork you" from said driver , one conveyed both verbally, as well as physically through the "One-Finger Howdy."'Tis known far and wide that the worst drivers in the galaxy roam our roads. What's really scary is they think it's your fault.
A family vacation to Williamsburg, Va., in which the wife threw her back out unloading the luggage and was bedridden for the duration brought a tear to my eye. Truth in journalism requires that I inform you that the tear came from how close I came to breaking 80 that week and not the wife's horizontal confinement.
The following week I wrote of a long-ago golf bet with a friend that I had no chance of winning and of his yard, which I had no chance of mowing, least of all with the Victorian age mower he kept for just a wager. That his grass had last been mowed by the same locusts mentioned in the bible caused not guilt but a grin. That he died that week at 57 caused a sadness that has not receded.
Drinking from the endless fountain of column ideas known as plastic surgery, I told of a guy who did breast augmentation surgery...on his teenage daughter. Ewww. No word yet on whether or not he got her pole dancing lessons for Christmas or if she's paying him back with one-dollar bills.
Posing as a ghost writer, I penned a letter to the wife from our oldest boy, a Mother's Day tribute, but everybody knew it was bogus because it was nice and teenagers burst into flames if they're nice. I told of a growing trend among some women in which they eat their placentas after childbirth, a trend which led to the recycling industry changing its ad campaign slogan from "waste not, want not" to "waste not, want not, unless it's gross and came out of you." I then wrote of our own boys as infants, in which the first one tricked us into having more by posing as an angel. When his cherubic, chunk-trunk twin brothers infiltrated the family, Satan had two working on the inside.
With great trepidation, I wrote of an upcoming trip to New York, my first. Naturally, a resident of the northern clime wrote to eloquently point out that I, as a southerner, was a redneck, and as such, had no place criticizing the greatest city in the world. I reminded him that my ancestors used to call Atlanta that before his ancestors barbecued it. I then suggested that if he'd remove his head from his arse, he'd see my tongue in my cheek.
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Kevin asked if he wrote a column and nobody read it, does it exist? He seemed upset when we replied, "You wrote a column?"He finishes his review next week and can be reached at LIFEisHEALD@yahoo.com.