Surrendering to the Inevitable
by Calendar Hacksaw
A lot of folks around the basin prodded ol’ Calendar tryin’ to find out in advance what he intended to write for his final column of the Twentieth Century, as if it mattered a whit. Calendar hasn’t realized incredible success as a columnist, and is hardly known in Bodfish, Meridian, Sageland or Hart Flat.
But, well, all that speculatin’ got me pretty fired up, and I started thinkin’ this column might be a big deal after all, perhaps ranking right up there with Nixon’s resignation or the discovery of margarine. It’s amazing how something like this can get ahold of your ego and twist you into thinking you’re important enough to order someone else’s dog around.
As usual, I’ve got a lot on my mind these days, and as the holidays approach I find it harder ‘n harder to focus on any one topic for more than a few seconds. My mind closely resembles a worn-out Nat King Cole record incessantly skipping between "Mona Lisa" and "Route 66." There’s very little continuity of thought, and even less reasoning.
One minute I’ll be wondering what dietary deficiency would possess my dog to tear into a 1.5 cubic foot bag of steer manure and eat the contents, and the next minute I’m wondering why the cashier at Super Cuts insists that I take my receipt. What in the hell am I supposed to do with a receipt for a haircut? Feed it to the dog?
What few friends I have left freely suggest that my state of mind reflects high levels of "Acute Y2K Anxiety," most likely attributable to the uncertainty of what’s going to happen to society’s fabric and social structure when the clock strikes twelve. Maybe they’re right. Maybe all my preparations have done little more than set me up for a fall; a self-fulfilling prophesy, of sorts.
Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I decided it would be best to de-emphasize the importance of this month’s column, in the interest of my own mental health. So I fully intend to just ramble on for about 1,000 words and then sign off until the next century, should it come. It’s Calendar’s variation of "refusing to act is better than doing nothing at all."
I must admit I’m saddened daily by the unexpected and violent deaths of so many seemingly innocent people who probably had their own plans for celebrating the arrival of Year 2000. Whether by gunfire, bonfire, air or ground, potential party-goers are falling by the wayside at what seems like a rapidly accelerating rate. Is there a connection? Ask me in another month. We’re only going to see this particular December one time, so pay close attention. You can’t step in the same stream twice.
There’s not much we can do about what happens to other people, so it’s best that we just selfishly concentrate on looking out for ourselves and those in close proximity. Frankly, I wouldn’t ride in a car or truck without good reason during these few remaining days, and I surely wouldn’t venture into the skies. Leaving home after dark is out of the question; there’s no place worth going that could be that important. Restaurant food anywhere outside of Twin Oaks is questionable, and should be avoided at all costs. Doctors’ offices and hospitals are full of deadly germs. Bears, puma, black widow and brown recluse spiders abound. And there’s still that damned Hantavirus.
I’m in ‘survival mode,’ I’ll admit. The pantry is stocked, the ammo stockpiled, propane tanks topped off, water stored, wood piled, batteries charged, toilet paper stacked, loads of gasoline, a dozen tubes of hemorrhoid cream, bottomless coffee, cases of Budweiser and sanitary napkins, and plenty of cash buried in the backyard. Calendar’s ready to rumble!
Two things I will not do at the stroke of midnight are (1) pick up the phone to see if there’s still dial tone and—if there is—call 9-1-1 just to see if anyone answers. I assigned these trivial tasks to my neighbor.
If and when I do wake up on January 1, 2000, I suspect the world will look a whole lot different to me. I might find a new beginning; I might have some old 20th Century baggage to shed. But it could be the beginning of the end, too; adjusting to writing ‘20xx’
where ‘19xx’ had always been sufficient, and trying to figure out if anything else has changed. It should take me the better part of the morning, if I work slow and take lots of breaks.
Then I’ll have to face the prospect of using up all that ammo, toilet paper, coffee, propane, gasoline, canned food, firewood, and remember exactly where I buried our life savings before Betty finds out what I did. The Budweiser, et al, will take care of itself.
But all things considered, I’d rather be celebrating in Twin Oaks, where the beer’s cheap and friendships are priceless.
Happy Holidays, folks, and I mean it.
Calendar Hacksaw hangs out at http://www.calendarhacksaw.com, and obviously this is just a set-up for next month's column, "Barhopping in Arvin."