There comes an age when there’s really nothing left to give, or get, for Christmas. So consider some things you’ve never thought of…things that I’d take in a minute.
Except for the eternal optimism of everlasting life – the reason we actually celebrate the Christmas season – there really isn’t a lot left to wish for when you reach a certain age…60 or so. Let’s face it, if you haven’t gotten it by now you’re not likely to.
My childhood friend and schoolmate Ronnie Hesson shared that with me recently. Ronnie always was kinda’ blunt. In fact, most of the boys still living from our fifth grade glass back then are kinda’ blunt.
But there’s some truth to what he says, because Ronnie’s seen both sides of life. He worked like a dog driving a dump truck for the first 25 years after he got out of school…and then he won the West Virginia Lottery – TWICE! And I’m not talking about Pick-3. He won ‘THE’ lottery.
But for people like me – like us – Christmas has come to mean the practical, pragmatic, list of things I’d settle for and enjoy, if anyone cares to take the time to shop. So here’s my list, knowing full well that some of these are going to take some ‘real‘ shopping. Others…not so much.
Number one…I’d happily settle for two pounds of Wagner’s chicken salad, as profiled on Press Pros back in October (https://staging.pressprosmagazine.com/i-wanted-to-meet-wally-wagner/). ‘Nuff said. And don’t forget the Townhouse crackers!
Number two…I’d like to have those five years back between the ages of 22 and 27, the formative years of your adult life. I think I’d do some things differently if I could.
Number three…I’ve never given much thought to the concept of world peace for mankind, but if I could I’d give mankind back all the time he’s wasted on Facebook and Twitter. It would be an interesting ‘do-over’, don’t you think? To see if you’d do something better with your time than sit and post unproductive messages about singing dogs and remembering outdoor outhouses?
Number four…I’d like the assurance that there’ll always be ‘flip phones’. A pox – that’s right, a pox – on the man who believed it would be a good idea to combine a phone with a computer – the smart phone! I don’t know anyone who has one that doesn’t stare at it constantly, like they’re being cheated if they miss the latest text or Facebook message. There is nothing more annoying than to be with someone who claims to listening to every word you say while reading emails.
Number five…On the issues of wasted time, if I could turn back time I’d like a half hour with Paul Brown, circa 1968, and not to talk about football. No, I’d try to talk him out of starting the Cincinnati Bengals franchise. I think we can all agree on that.
Number six…If I could have it I’d take internet that actually works predictably, and when you need it most. A curse be on whoever conceived the notion of high-speed wi-fi…and all those updates that no one knows how to install.
Number seven…Give me Rodney Dangefield back. Man, I miss stuff like this: “I gotta’ a dog I can’t stand. We call him Egypt. Every time we go someplace he leaves a pyramid in each room.” Or who can forget this Rodney classic: ““I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.”
Number eight…There has to be others like me out there that say we have enough ‘singing’ shows – The Voice, American Idol, and X-Factor. I can’t understand America’s obsession with that ONE category of talent, because, if it’s reality you really seek in those shows…the reality is that very few people CAN sing. They sing through their nose, they caterwaul, and chase the tune, but most people can’t sing. I used to have a Sunday school teacher who MADE us sing because she said Jesus liked hearing a “joyful” noise. Then I spent four years at OSU music school and learned what singing in tune was all about. What joyful noise? Not to belabor this point…but I’d welcome some reality talent shows featuring accordion players, trumpet players, piano players…and even banjo players. I don’t care about the next hip-hop phenom, but I would like to hear the next Earl Scruggs, or Roy Clark!
Number nine…Tax time is coming, along with my annual wish for a flat-rate income tax. Enough with the tax code, and all the games you play trying to pay as little as you can. Everybody in America, regardless of income, should pay 15%. That’s fair in theory, and it’s fair in implementation because it would make government actually adhere to a budget, like you and me…and to the priorities of our constitution. No one should be mandated to pay 40% of their income just because they can.
Number ten…I know I’m right when I say that most of you have never given any thought to a list like this. But here’s one more. We’re going to vote for another president in a couple of years…so I’d really like to see two candidates that actually have some judgment, some honor, and statesmanship. Let me choose between two of America’s best people, not two of America’s best politicians. The problem? Most of our ‘best’ people wouldn’t have the job for any price. Give us someone to vote for who isn’t running on some personal agenda, or for ego, and who puts what’s best for America first…instead of what’s best for a few individuals who claim to be Americans. And, can you imagine a nation without lobbyists? I can.
That’s my list, and apologies if it’s not exactly what you had in mind for this year. But like Ronnie Hesson and the 5th grade class of Windsor Elementary, 1965, by this time there isn’t much left that we need…except each other. Yuleishness!