Columns » Bob Lancaster

2011 resolved



The theme song of the Wyatt Earp TV show concluded with these words: "And none can deny it, the legend of Wyatt forever will live on the trail." Who are these fools who wanted to deny the trail immortality of the Wyatt Earp legend?  Whoever they are, one of them is not ol' moi. And I'm not expecting to become one in 2011. So there's my first New Year's Resolution: If someone denies this year that Wyatt's legend forever will live on the trail, it won't be me.

Here's another one. If the expiration date occurred in this century, then the product is still good as far as I'm concerned. If in 1999 I found a mallard hen that had been shot in the Wabbaseka Scatters and placed in my mother-in-law-to-be's food freezer, then called a deep freeze, in 1949, and had partaken of portions of it, whipped into a nice ripe pate, and had survived, and had even commented to weaker-stomached family members that old duck ages as gracefully as the tasty beverage called cold duck, then you'll understand I'm not somebody you can scare with an expiration date.

The bottle containing my last Vioxxes says they expired in March of 2004 but I'm keeping the sons-a-bitches anyway and if it gets where I just have to take one in order to convince the old woodchuck in me to go on chucking wood for just a little while longer, then I'll take it, even if it has mushrooms growing on it, and tiny lungs emerging.

Also, I'm not going to spend even five minutes this year trying to disgust moles away from my yard by stuffing their tunnels with half-chewed wads of Juicy Fruit gum. This used to work. It cleared them out better than dynamite or DDT or any of the old tried-and-true remedies. Better than taunting them nocturnally with a bullhorn. But over ten years, they've acclimated to the smell, like we did when we lived out there by the big hog lot, to the point that last year they were nosing the sloppier Juicy Fruit wads home at night to give to their mole children, called molettes, as sweet treats. Infuriating.

At this point it looks like I'll go with a mail-order company's heavy wire grid that you hook up to a generator and bury about a foot deep in your yard and it sends out a pulse that'll electrocute any mole within a thousand yards, guaranteed, and also any burrowed-up snakes, armadillos, tarantulas, cicada larva, or old tramps. So if you're an old tramp, consider yourself warned.

I'm going to do my best this year to remember more of what I have to look up so I won't have to look it up. I'm always having to look up something that I looked up a week ago, or five minutes ago. Sometimes I'll write it down so I'll remember it, but then when I need it again I can't find it. At least half my column-writing time is spent looking something up or re-looking it up.  Maybe I should resolve instead to quit looking stuff up and start making it up, like Glenn Beck does. George Will makes crap up about climate change and they haven't fired him. If you make up something at Fox News that goes unrefutiated for half a news cycle, they give you your own show. How do you think Huckabee got his?

Writing was once just a way of counting. It was all weights and measures. It was exteriorized exactly so you could look it up and wouldn't have to carry a lot of useless information of this kind around in your head. When it came time to stash your barley in the bireme, both you and the Phoenician coxswain would mark it in your respective little pocket notebooks and you'd both know, and the purchaser over on Atlantis would know how much to remit upon delivery. Very efficient. All anybody had to worry about was the ship sinking en route. Or pirates. An old story, short and sweet, with no verbosity. No speeches. No forensic posturing. No assembly instructions in Taiwanese. We screwed it up when we added abstractions. And adverbs.

I'm cutting out modifiers this year until what's left bleeds.

I'll not become a Facebook friend of anybody whose social-networking vita includes the claim of being able to toot "Jingle Bells" a mere half-hour after just one modest helping of pinto beans.

And here's the deal on the toothpaste. When it gets to where there's a big, hard, dried, concrete-like gob of it blocking the tube opening where the long-lost cap used to be, making it so that getting a usable dab squeezed through there is like trying to extract it from a scabbed but still suppurating wound, and you have to squeeze the bastard so hard, with such exertion, that there's a constant possibility that the dam will blow and your mirror and ceiling and nightshirt front and the underside of your chin will be Jackson Pollocked with red-striped toothpaste spackles and dribs, then I'm getting a new tube. I know that's wasteful. It violates the letter and spirit of Heloise. And it's not the way I was raised. But that's how it has to be in 2011, I'm sorry.

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