I’m not sure why we’re supposed to usher in the new year by singing about “old acquaintance” and “old times’ sake,” but I’m ready to rethink that. I’m much more interested in the time ahead, and although this year may find me at a New Year’s Eve party (or not), it is my usual custom to spend the evening thinking about what I’d like to accomplish or change in the year ahead.
I’m determined to start using those weird-looking light bulbs that resemble Dairy Queen cones and use about 90 percent less energy than the old-style light bulbs. I’m very late in getting around to this, and there’s no excuse for it – just my inertia and resistance to change. My brother told me more than a year ago that his electric bill had plummeted when he changed over to the ugly new bulbs. Now, I ask you, who can afford to ignore such a savings? Lady Gaga, probably, but not a retired library director.
And for my next trick, I’d like to stop being a slave to my own telephones. I mean, who’s got the brains here? (Never mind; don’t answer that.) The mere fact that the phones ring does not mean that I have to answer them; that’s what voicemail is for. My friends who keep a firm upper hand where their phones are concerned get so much more done than I do.
I also can’t help noticing that they are not inveterate night-owls. They may not go to bed with the proverbial chickens, but they don’t wait for first light, either. This is something that has crept up on me. For one thing, Channel 32 keeps moving “Frasier” to a later and later spot. First the show was on at 11; then 12. Now I can’t even keep up, but I think it runs until 1:30 a.m. A friend told me recently that I can catch it at 9 a.m. – but what fun is that? I’d have to get up early. I’d also have to watch the dreaded daytime TV, which I’ve always maintained was the easiest way to ruin a perfectly good sick-day (other than being sick, of course). No, I think the answer is to give up those re-runs of re-runs. It’s just that I keep thinking I’ll catch a glimpse of Maris – who, for those few of you who’ve never watched Frasier, is a female character who never actually appears onscreen. But she comes tantalizingly close!
And here’s a warning: I plan to be less quiet and polite about politics than I’ve been in the past. An old friend issued a parting shot the last time I saw him which hit me hard. “Nothing good has come out of Chicago lately,” he said, meaning that our President was nothing good. I should have chased that poor misguided fella into the street and shown him the error of his ways! President Obama has led us in preventing a second Great Depression, created a recovery plan (we’re on it right now) that included the best middle-class tax cut ever, and saved the American auto industry. He got health-care legislation passed that will ensure health care for 95 percent of Americans by the end of the decade, saved over $60 billion over that same next decade by getting private lenders out of the student-loan business, regained America’s cachet abroad (where confidence in America’s leadership has gone up by 43 percent during his administration), and took us in a green direction, while not only lowering taxes but also slashing the deficit. So if I hear any discouraging words about him, I’ll feel obliged to set the speaker straight! Could make for a lively year, don’t you guess?
Susan Harper is retired, lives in Commerce and volunteers with the Commerce Public Library and the Jackson County Literacy Program.