Month: December 2014

Happy Now Year

new year

            For whatever reason, most of us feel the need to divide our lives into even smaller increments. There are birthdays, Christmas is an annual holiday that marks another year, and, of course, New Year’s Eve. The first of January comes along, like each of our birthdays and the holidays that we celebrate, and we “celebrate” it as well: another year gone by and another year to come. Time goes by, and we are reminded that time marches on. For reasons unknown to me, in the west we celebrate New Year’s Eve by drinking. Some drink with the hope of a better future, and some drink to ease the transition, and some drink simply because they do not know of anything else to do.

New Year’s Eve is an irony: a celebration of both past and future, but oddly enough not of the present. In the “now” of New Year’s Eve, we get drunk. What if New Year’s Eve was celebrated differently? To put some meat on the bones of hapless debauchery, we often make “New Year’s Resolutions”: empty promises and vague propositions about the future that become as forgotten as the past year, but even quicker. I wonder what our New Year tradition of celebration would be like if each of us truly took into account our actions and decisions in the past year, and made a promise to ourselves to change the reasons we do those things and change them right now?

Rather than changing the way we look, what if we changed the reasons for the way we look? Rather than being better in one way or another, what if we changed the reasons that we were not as good as we could be right now? If we insist on chopping up our lives in annual increments, let’s do it for good reason and not waste yet another minute that soon turns to a year and eventually a lifetime on empty promises and blind faith about the future.

So raise a glass right now, for the moment, and celebrate the present because there will never be another one like it.

Stories From the Road: Beer, Blues and the Backseat of a VW Beatle

lone star

The beer had to come which meant that the passenger seat must come out; which meant that George was to sit in the backseat with his feet propped up on the white cooler that took the place of the passenger seat.  Everything had its place.

I never knew that the seats of my 71’ VW Beatle (that I had christened ‘Hitler’s Revenge’) were stuffed with straw.  Springs hold the straw in place under the black vinyl.  George didn’t know this either, but was soon to find out.  For the time being, however, he sat comfortably with his feet propped up on the cooler.

It was hot!  It was Texas, and it was in the middle of July.  Hitler had no air-conditioning as it could barely pull itself without having to run a compressor.  Stevie Ray Vaughn was playing in Dallas, and we were hell-bent on being awash in his amazing prowess with a guitar.  We were also hell-bent on drinking the two cases of Lone Star beer we had brought.

We bounced in the downtown traffic, stopping at traffic lights and sweating like whores in the Texas heat.

“Goddamn, it’s getting hot!” yelled George over the blaring blues we had going.

“No shit, Sherlock!” I yelled back.

“No! I mean I think I’m on fire.”

We sat at the light and George began bouncing around, getting more and more anxious, yelling all the time about the heat.

“What the fuck are doing?!” I yelled.

“Dude! I think there’s a snake back here and I think I’m bit!”

“You’re crazy…”

George wasn’t crazy, but there was no snake.

We were parked on a four-lane piece of cement under a bridge some ten minutes away from beer and blues and George began trying to crawl out the side window, yelling and screaming.  I saw smoke wafting from ass of his jeans as he fell out of the car and began running around under the bridge, smoke making a curly tail as he ran.  Then I noticed the billowing smoke coming from the back of the car.

The car was on fire, and so I screamed and threw the keys (Yes, threw them.  I don’t know why) at George who was still running around cussing and screaming at the side of the road.  Smoke billowed out of the car door windows and traffic began backing up from us.  I reached in the car and pulled the backseat out.  By the time I had the seat out the straw had made a nice inviting flame.  The cars around us continued to back up at a more and more alarming rate.

It was really easy.  I just threw handfuls of dirt in the backseat and the flame went out.  George finished with his sideshow dance and showed me the newly burnt hole in the ass of his jeans.  I put the backseat back in, but George sat on the cooler for the duration of the ride.  After some searching I found the keys and we started the car up, having the road to ourselves for the time being.  Stevie Ray never sounded so good with an ice-cold Lone Star beer in hand.



  • Reminds us that we are mortal: we will die.
  • Reminds us what reality is: we live now; we die now.
  • Reminds us to prioritize our lives: don’t worry, be happy.
  • Reminds us to think: we don’t know the answer if we don’t know the question.
  • Reminds us to live: most of the time the alternative is not better.
  • Reminds us to make a choice: if we do not, others will.
  • Reminds us to take time: time is the eternal thing that we have least of.
  • Reminds us to that nothing really matters: “Nothing we do now will matter in a million years”, and “nothing that will be the case in a million years matters now.” –T. Nagel
  • Reminds us that honesty is the best policy: we cannot lie to ourselves forever.
  • Is that inevitable reminder that change is the only consistent, that we have only one life to live, and that we often forget that fact.