Joe’s Journal

Happy New Year

Ramblings from an old scribbler
Wed, 12/29/2021 - 7:15am

This is the time when pundits and pranksters remind you of milestones you would rather forget.

The same group, queens, presidents and popes usually take a minute to scold you for your failings, as if this would get you to mend your ways and skip down the yellow brick road to sainthood. Then they urge us all to (here insert their pet cause) and all will be well.

If that is what you are seeking, I suggest you look elsewhere, for this old scribbler is occupied with his chores and does not have time to figure out your life and your choices, be they good, bad, or somewhere in between.

For instance, my bride and I chose to get vaccinated against Mr. COVID-19. For the last year or so we have stayed pretty close to home. We wear masks when out of the house and wash our hands a lot. We do this after reading the hospital and CDC statistics and listening to the advice from health professionals who say super senior citizens are most at risk from the pandemic.

If you choose to ignore their advice and, say, adopt medical counsel from some guy you never met who posts stuff on Facebook, that is your business.

We both suffer from TMB, an ultimately fatal disease known as “Too Many Birthdays.” We decided a few inconvenient chores are not too big a price to pay for a chance to avoid dancing with Mr. COVID.

My idea of a short vacation does not include a ride in an ambulance, a visit to the emergency department, and spending a few weeks either napping on a gurney tucked in a hospital hallway or having a tube shoved down my gullet so a machine could breathe for me.

But that is my choice. That is me. You can and should do what you choose to do. But just do it. Don’t give me the long song and dance about how you don’t want to knuckle under to mandates imposed by the government or your boss. The government mandates us to do lots of stuff. We have to pay taxes, but no one can tell us to like it.

They passed laws mandating us to wear seat belts in the car, drive somewhere near the speed limit (most of the time), drive on the right side of the road, and pay for auto insurance.

I choose to do these things. If you choose to ignore the traffic laws, I suggest you might want to keep an eye out for Sheriff Todd Brackett and Police Chief Bob Hasch.

My boss mandates me to write in English and obey conventional grammar and spelling rules. Other bosses mandate things like showing up for work, doing your job and getting along with your co-workers.

Not long after being drafted into the Marine Corps, (yes, Grasshopper, during the Vietnam War, the Marines did draft recruits, but that is another story for another time) I ran into a flock of mandates. For instance, they lined me up, issued me a wardrobe that did not fit and boots that pinched my toes. Then they lined me up as a bunch of smiling Navy Corpsmen filled my right and left arms with vaccines shot out of air guns. When I objected, a tough sergeant told me to “Shut up and move along.” I did.

I suppose I could have objected, but at the time, it didn’t seem to be the right thing to do.

In case you have not noticed, we live in unsettling times. We are in the middle of a pandemic that has taken 800,000 American lives and stretched our so-called health care system.

Our economic system is in the midst of a technical revolution that is as profound as the advent of the industrial revolution of the late 1800s.

And our political systems are in turmoil and gridlock as it seems everyone is honked-off at everyone else with the bitterest fights pitting Republicans against Republicans, Democrats against Democrats, and a public that is disgusted with them both.

Even the beloved Red Sox schedule is in flux as the major league players (who earn millions) and team owners (who make a lot more) are arguing over money – lots of it. Unless they settle it, the prospects of pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training in mid-February are dim. Rats.

But, because you asked, here are my plans for New Year’s Eve. I plan to hug my bride, sip a bit of the bubbly, and hit the sack by 9 p.m.

I will deal with 2022 in the morning.


Happy New Year.