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JWR 3.21 - Take it or Leave It
I’ve been thinking a lot about what 2002 meant to me and I don’t quite know how to say it, but there was nothing too special or inexplicably memorable about 2002...to me. There were terrible events on a personal level and a couple pleasant ones. You get a lot of year-end summaries in a lot of magazines and newspapers and programs on TV, but all that is is a collection of “newsworthy” events. What one person thinks is important, another thinks as trivial. It reminds me of a headline from a few years ago The Onion ran: “Nation’s Whites Eagerly Anticipate Windows ‘98 launch.” The PC I use at work still has 98 on it.
Resolutions are another thing that bug me. I don’t make them, although each year I get a hankering to make a couple. Then I think about them and the ones I come up with are stupid, so I ditch the idea. I think it’s more an issue of the timing than anything. January 1st is nothing special, like my birthday, it’s just another day. I mean, if we could make “New Year’s” on a day that was sixty degrees after it was snowing, maybe I’d be more into it. But January 1st is just like December 31st is just like January 2nd.
So, I don’t have any resolutions, but I do have a number of things I’d like to pass on to each of you that, while they may be obvious and unnecessarily pointed out, I still feel as if I’m doing a service that needs to be done. (Please send your checks directly to me, made out to cash.)
Opportunity. Opportunity does not knock only once. Sometimes it may knock once, but there are times when opportunity comes along again. Opportunity does not mean that this is a gold mine, just a potential gold mine. You may find nothing more than potential. You know the saying you can’t get blood from a turnip? I’m sure the origins of that saying are boring. Well, apparently someone needed to be told that blood may not be extracted from a turnip, apparently someone tried after the saying was created, which is why it’s so commonplace. But hopefully our generation can wipe out this and various other slogans and sayings and ruminations. Of course we have out own to take the places of those we place into moratorium: “Off the chain/Off the hook” come immediately to mind. “Don’t go there/You go girl.” “Raise the roof.” And who can forget: “Who let the dogs out?” “Bling-bling,” is a favorite of mine, as I am sure it is of yours, as is the closely related “Bling-bling, pinky ring.”
When opportunity comes knocking that potential second time, what are you going to do? You also have to wonder how long opportunity will hang around outside your door waiting for you to answer its knock. It comes and goes, sails without much warning.
What is “it”? “It” has been established in previous sentences; it is a complete sentence.
Opportunity more often than not takes the physical and mental form of an unknown. This is the opportunity first time around. “Some people stay far away from the door if there’s a chance of it opening up. They hear a voice in the hall and hope that it just passes by.” (I’m probably misquoting Billy Joel--before he became a composer, or a decomposer.) As an unknown, it can be frightening. Things aren’t worth doing if there’s no reward, no benefit, no risk, and/or no advancement.
It sounds harsh, but here: I am married for fifteen years. The dishes are piled in the sink. I do them. I do them because I know my wife will appreciate it a little. I do it for her benefit.
I do want to go over one 2002 event: Rosie O’Donnell, the guy from A League of Their Own became a lesbian. Or, not became, but admitted to it. She shocked six people. All old women from Long Island. Approximately three days later nobody remembered who she was.
As a year, 2002 melted into 2001, as 2003 will do with 2002. The big difference is the last digit changes. We should stop thinking about time as concise, portioned millennia, centuries, decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds. Although it is handy, I’ll grant you that. But I’m not talking about abolishing time in the time telling sense. How else would we meet for a movie or wake up for work or coordinate air strikes or set a rendezvous for a mid-afternoon full-coital hump? What I mean is, let’s stop segmenting our lives as a year a year a year a year. They tell you you only live once. We’re not fooling anybody by splitting up our lives into chunks of time picked by amateur astrologists in the fourteenth century. You only live once. Think of it as a whole. Think about it. How much of your life revolves around “the rule of the year”?
Copyright © 2003 John Lemut