I was looking for my passport the other day. True, I was only heading to New York for the weekend, but it’s always good to have a way out, lest the opportunity or the need arise. I have a vague reverie of stopping in at one of the Sky Clubs at the Atlanta airport and stumbling upon some hapless international fashion model, sulking in the corner, arms wrapped around her fur knee-highs, distressed that she has nobody to take with her to Milan for an extremely important Oscar de la Renta runway show, and that her tiny toy poodle “Kimchee,” a perpetually quivering canine mouse, “really needs a solid male role model. Kimchee hasn’t been the same since Hans ran away with that Argentinian houseboy. Sob. Sob. Can you help me?”
It would be a quick phone call to the family up on Long Island to apologize for my sudden change of holiday plans, and then off to Italy, first class, to hobnob with waifs, transgenders, and high-profile heroin addicts.
The Russians have a saying that goes something like, “Don’t worry about doing the dishes when the house is on fire.” I go a little further with it. “Don’t worry about doing the dishes.” Who cares what is going on in the rest of the house. That is to say, I can procrastinate with the best of them. Wading through a sea of receipts, documents and old news articles, and still not finding my elusive passport, I came across my New Year’s Resolutions list for 2016.
“I forgot all about this,” I said to myself, which is what I intended to do from the get-go. I always make the list at the beginning of the year and then stash it. The real benefit lies in making the list, not following through on it. Making the list is like aiming a shot at an intended target. Once the trigger is pulled, and effect is committed from cause, then it is time to sit back and let the complex forces of global activity guide the trajectory wherever it may. I cursed myself for not burning the list. That would be a better ritual. Make the list and burn it. Cast it off to the four winds. Then there would be no way to accidentally discover it. I suspect, at my core, I am an honest being. Fate had succeeded in placing my plans for my own betterment back into my grasp right before the end of the year. Foiled by my own ambition, I decided, what the hell, there are still about a hundred or so hours left to get this thing done. I figured I’d shoot down the list and knock it all out real quick. First off:
-Get precisely one year older–no more and no less. Check.
-Elect new president. Check.
-Survive hottest summer on record. Check.
-Avoid all loan sharks, taxmen, debt collectors and repo thugs. Check.
-Abandon decent, healthy, romantic relationship for one of dysfunction, anger, loathing and fear. Check.
-Get open water dive certification and get bitten in the ear by small bastard of a fish. Check. (This was turning out to be much easier than I thought it would.)
-Kidnap Don Delillo and force him to teach me how to write award-winning literature. I looked at my watch and decided to skip that one.
-Write five award-winning novels after wringing them out of Mr. Delillo and win the Nobel Peace Prize. I admitted to myself I would have to skip that one as well, although I think I could’ve won the coveted literary medal had it not been for crafty-ass Bob Dylan.
-Reintroduce the word “ravishment” into modern jargon. (It’s a crazy word. It means to either seize a person against their will, rape them, or fill them with a kind of wondrous enchantment and delight. It has to be the sickest word out there. If anybody knows of an odder one, please drop a line.)
-Record rhapsodic duet with the one and only George Michael. Er, skip.
-Follow the instructions of the eighties band Squeeze in their song Hourglass and, “Take it to the bridge, throw it overboard, see if it can swim, back up to the shore. No one’s in the house. Everyone is out. All the lights are on and the blinds are down.” I shrugged and checked that one off. All done. Just in time.
A mid-twentieth century philosopher was quoted saying, “Humans are the only beings for whom being is a problem.” It’s a terribly hilarious statement, and as I continue this journey, it seems the only resolution that should ever really be considered is to never let that statement apply to yourself.
My therapist has a name. Ralph Waldo Emerson. for $18, paperback, I’ve received what people have paid thousands for, and still with no return on their investment. Actually, you don’t receive Emerson. His wisdom is buried in countless essays, and you must “dig,” which makes it all the more valuable when you find it. I happened upon this passage a few weeks ago.
“I accuse myself of sloth and unprofitableness day by day; but when these waves of the Divine flow into me I no longer reckon lost time. I no longer poorly compute my possible achievements by what remains to me of the month or the year; for these moments confer a sort of omnipresence and omnipotence which asks nothing of duration, but sees that the energy of the mind is commensurate with the work to be done, without time.”
Since I can’t compete with Mr. Emerson, I will have to go low to finish this essay.
“Right on, my main motherf**ker.”
Happy New Year.
More Alembics to come.