Sunday, December 30, 2007

Elusive Joy

I apologize for leaving this blog with such a dark sentiment for the Christmas holiday, such as what was expressed in my entry of December 21st. Now that I've had my medications adjusted it is clear I was suffering from some sort of seasonal depression disorder. Like so many people I often forget this is a time of sharing and joy and gratitude for the embrace of family. Even if the sharing takes the form of massive credit card debt. Even when the joy of those around me appears almost entirely alcohol propelled. Even when the gratitude one expresses to one's spouse for the brocaded sweater vest that will never see the outside of a closet again rings false. And even when the embrace of family includes a lot of 11th hour reading of newsy Christmas letters from distant cousins and colleagues which, at our advancing ages, have become what I like to call The Gallbladder Reports. Even then. Yes. Especially then. My heart fills with the spirit of the season and the hope it represents.
Of course it is entirely possible that today I am simply feeling the afterglow of the New England Patriots completion of the first perfect season in NFL history. Joy. It's so hard to pin down.
Happy New Year to you all. I treasure this time we have together.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Short Days, Short Tempers

Parents take note: It is illegal and wrong to bind your children with blue painter's tape and throw them through the back door into a snowbank. I thought this through at some length and came to that inevitable conclusion. It will be no mystery to you how the subject came up in the first place if you have or have ever had small children in your house in the days preceding Christmas. Their unstable little personalities go into complete meltdown until the China Effect eats every last vestige of celebration from your mood and household. We've threatened to cancel Christmas, to sue Santa Claus, to enlist them in the Marines (although Blackwater would be more remunerative), and to fill their stockings with sticks and rocks. Coal is far more expensive than these little monsters deserve. Nothing, of course, makes a scrap of difference in their behavior. So, we count the days until Christmas in some grim advent ritual and wait for each day to end. Bedtime. Peace. Today is the shortest day of the year. Good thing.

Friday, December 14, 2007

NFL Legend, Others, Dead

I am writing this on my flight home from Chicago. If you’re reading it, then it means I made it. I have my doubts today. There is no evidence this is my final destiny except that also on board this flight, sitting four rows in front of me, is the legendary former Chicago Bears head coach, Mike Ditka. This is the second time I’ve run into Da Coach on this run. The first time I had the same fear, which goes basically like so: At this point in my career, after grinding my name and voice into America’s heads one commercial at a time for the past 20 years, I’ve got a fair shot at maybe a 3 line obituary in the New York Times. Nothing they have on file in advance -- like Henry Kissinger or Ike Turner -- but at least one where the junior copywriter will be compelled to Google me and check the spelling of my name.

But. Here’s the thing. If I were to meet my end while on a flight with a person more famous and accomplished than myself -- statistically likely and certainly the case today -- I will only be remembered for having had the misfortune to die within the same news item as the more deserving party. The crawl on the bottom of CNN will read “Former NFL coach Mike Ditka, 40 others, perish aboard tragic flight 666. The New York Times will say nothing about me in the obit section, but I will factor into the last line in the second-to-the-last paragraph of the news story, “Others killed or missing include folksy pitchman Don Burdett.”

That would suck. So. I hope you’re reading this.

© Current Tom Bodett
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