A Better Year

I’m sitting here in my big, manly, comfortable black leather poppa chair in my living room, looking at a new calendar propped up on the shelf over the fireplace with a brand new number where 2012 used to be. The world is still here, and so are we. We didn’t pay much attention to the people who took that Mayan calendar stuff seriously. We sort of pinned a sign on their backs that said, “Gone crazy, be back soon.” But hey, what if they were right. Just think, no income tax this April. Arizona would never become beachfront property because of global warming, and we wouldn’t have to suffer through another avalanche of stupid political commercials in the next election.

But then I started wondering what would we do if we believed the hype, and really figured we had only one more year to live. Would we get holier or hotter ? I think I’d cut loose. How about you ? Drop me an email  to dick@dicksummer.com or just add a comment at the bottom of this blog.

I think I’d have as much fun as I could. I’d do silly stuff, like grabbing a handful of condom boxes at the drug store, and slipping them into the shopping carts of everybody who looks up-tight. Then I’d go over to the nearest security camera and look up at it and smile, and do something with my finger that you’re only supposed to do using Kleenex. Then I’d go to the clothing store, run into a fitting room…shut the door…wait a while…then holler, “Hey, there’s no toilet paper in here.”

If I knew we had only one year left, I’d retire, and then spend every last cent we have. The last check I’d write on December 31 would bounce, if there were any place for it to bounce to. I’d put my Lady Wonder Wench into our little plane, and fly low and slow over all of this beautiful country…and suck it all in. We’d stop in Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans for music. We’d walk together in the quiet of the ancient California forest called Muir Woods…and I’d hold her and kiss her there. We’d make all the love we didn’t make before we met. I’d hug more, and pick up my old tenor sax again and practice Harlem Nocturne till I got it right. I’d find something nice to say to every waitress in every restaurant. I’d go back to Coney Island in Brooklyn and swim in the surf at bay 22 where I was a lifeguard so long ago. I’d spend every night of the full moon lying on my back watching it sail all the way across the sky.

You know what ? I just realized that’s exactly what I was thinking this time last year. And when I think about it, I realize that I only had one year left to go swimming at Coney Island. Sandy ripped bay 22 off the coast. If I had only known last year at this time…that I only had one last precious year.

Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast.

1- What should Louie Louie lads do when we meet a pretty girl ?

2- How many men do many New York women kiss on New Year’s Eve ?

3- Why are there more of us than there are ancient Teutonics ?

Dick’s details. They take your mind off your mind.

Most of us are not going to miss 2012. The world did come to an end for a bunch of kids and their teachers, and for lots of folks in the middle east, including way too many Americans, and Hurricane Sandy smashed lives a lot of different ways in my home town. We’re still trying to come to grips with that. My Lady and I were at our favorite diner the other day, and a waitress we’ve known for years came over to take our order. Bridget is her name. A lovely lass from the auld sod. She’s usually bright and happy, but she looked awful. I said, “What’s the matter.” She said, “The kids in Connecticut. I can’t get it off my mind. It’s making me sick.”

She’s right. When you let terrible things like that keep spinning in your head, it can make you sick. My book is called, Staying Happy, Healthy And Hot. Because sad makes you sick and happy makes you healthy. And healthy makes you hot. And I guess this is a plug for the book, but I honestly think it’s something we need to keep in mind when terrible things like that happen. You can’t drive images like the ones from Connecticut out of your head. It’s like the purple elephant syndrome. If I say close your eyes, and don’t see a purple elephant, as soon as you close your eyes, you’ll be trampled by herds of purple elephants. So what do you do to get those awful pictures that are making you sick out of your head ? You start remembering other pictures of things that made you happy. They don’t have to be big things. Collect a lot of pebbles, and after a while you have a mountain. I mentioned the Chrysler building in Manhattan in the book. It’s made of bricks. Bricks are what…six inches thick ? A bunch of guys piled six inch bricks up one on top of another till they made a building so high it scrapes the sky. Lots of good things happen in my life. Little things. I woke up this morning kind of early, and the dawn lit my lady’s face on the pillow next to me so gently. A car stopped next to me at a light, and a guy in the back seat was dressed like Santa Claus. He waved out the window, and said ho, ho, ho. An old song called Lollipops and Roses came up on the radio a little while ago. One of my favorite songs. Lollypops are just little candies, and roses cost about a buck a piece. But they can turn a relationship into a romance.

Look. This works. When something terrible happens…like that Connecticut shooting…don’t run away from it. Understand it. And let yourself feel humanly terrible for a while. But then take control of how you’re feeling. Enough is enough. Don’t let sad things keep churning around in your heart until they make you sick. Just remember some happy things… keep piling happy pictures and the memories you have of the time those pictures were taken into your head. It helps. It really works. They go together. Happy healthy and hot. Sometimes it’s just a collection of little good things. Things that just take you a minute.

My Lady Wonder Wench gave me a minute, a long time ago. And it turned into a lifetime. There’s a story about that in the Bedtime Stories Personal Audio CD and in the current podcast. If you like it you can just keep the podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just go back to www.dicksummer.com  and download it from the Bedtime Stories icon on the home page.

I didn’t know that last year was my final chance to go swimming at Coney Island’s Bay 22. So what would you do if the world had only one year left. Drop me a note. Dick at dick summer dot com. What would you do in the last year you had left to make this your happiest new year ever.

3 Responses to “A Better Year”

  1. Ellen Ferranti says:

    I would spend more time on me! Just taking my time…walking in the mountains; ride our horse more; reading more; writing that book that is inside me!
    Happy New Year, Dick! I wish you many more…

  2. Joanne Meehan says:

    Happy New Year, Dick –
    Play that tenor sax – I remember the Boston nightlight show with Harlem noctorne playing deep into the night. We only have the present moment, and whoops, there it goes. If we are lucky, we will have another and another. Grasp them while you can. We can’t avert our eyes to the tragedy around us. I found it almost impossible to walk into my elementary school the following Monday after the shooting, but there they were, all those bright and shining faces of children. They understand the present moment without a doubt. Look to their example. Grieve, never forget, but hold onto the happy as well.

    Dick, you are a bright light. I hope you can get that swim in next summer.


  3. sgtyukon says:

    I laughed at your toilet paper joke, which I realized was a joke. But, my wife (who worked in retail for some years) said that sometimes people actually do defecate in changing rooms and she says anyone who ever had to clean that up wouldn’t think your joke was at all funny.