I had just returned from the local toxic waste site where I had disposed of my holiday fruit cakes and was busy cramming my Christmas tree down the garbage disposal (don’t ask), when I heard a knock at the door. I figured it was the Environmental Protection Agency coming to talk to me about polluting the toxic waste site with fruit cakes.
Imagine my surprise to see a little guy in a diaper and a sash across his tummy with “2015” emblazoned on it. It was the New Year.
As I gaped in amazement, he said, “May I come in, or would you prefer that I stand outside and freeze my tush off?” Obviously, this was not a good way to greet the New Year.
“I am honored to have you visit,” I said, “but aren’t you a little early? You were not supposed to arrive until later in the week.”
“Yeah, I know,” he said, “but people can’t wait to get rid of 2014. He has turned out to be a real disappointment.”
I agreed that 2014 had come in last year with a lot of promises that hadn’t panned out but neither had a lot of years before him. “You really think you could have gotten him to leave early?” I asked.
“In retrospect, no,” 2015 admitted. “He had his heart set on being at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last week. He considered that the highlight of his time here. The poor shmuck.”
How do we know that you are going to be a better year, I asked the urchin. He said, “That’s the reason I dropped by to see you before I got too far along into my reign. I have come for advice. I have it on good authority that you are one of the wisest people I will have the privilege to meet and that everybody from The New York Times to whoever handles tourism for Pakistan has benefitted from your counsel.”
Clearly embarrassed at such laudatory praise, I asked 2015 where he had heard these remarkable things.
“I read them in your self-serving columns,” he said. “Where else?” The kid had done his homework.
“Let’s cut to the chase,” he said. “Tell me what I will be facing over the next 12 months.”
“Well, the good news is you won’t have to worry about elections on your watch. Those occurred while 2014 was here,” I said. “The bad news is what you will be experiencing is that now that everybody has gotten elected, there is a very high probability they will forget their campaign promises and will do pretty much as they please.”
“I was afraid of that,” 2015 said. “This is why I specifically requested to come in between election years. I hate politics. I had just as soon eat a fruit cake as to have to deal with politicians.” I didn’t say anything but even I wouldn’t go that far.
The talk turned quickly to sports. “Any suggestions on how I could handle college football perhaps better than 2014 did?” he asked. I told him I was in too much mental anguish to discuss the subject in detail at this time but if he could see his way clear to prevent squib-kicking with 18 seconds left in a game, I would appreciate it. He said that made no sense to him. I told him it made no sense to me, either. I got the feeling we were on two different wavelengths so I changed the subject.
I asked 2015 about his plans to promote peace on earth and goodwill to all people. “Oh, piffle. I have got about as much chance of accomplishing that as you do becoming team chaplain of the ACLU,” he scoffed. That didn’t sound very encouraging. I don’t think the ACLU has a team chaplain and even if they did, they wouldn’t want me because I have been known to pray in public places. I assume peace on earth and goodwill to all people isn’t in the cards for 2015.
I asked him to please excuse me, but I saw a squad of EPA agents coming up the walkway loaded down with fruit cakes. They didn’t look happy. 2015 sighed as he hitched up his diaper, adjusted his sash and prepared to make his exit. “I haven’t even uncorked the champagne,” he said, “and after just one conversation with you, I’m already looking forward to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.”
So am I.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139; online at dickyarbrough.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/dickyarb