But that's not my only reason. Not by a long shot. You see, in recent months, I've gone through a handful of changes and, while no single transpiration seems particularly significant, cumulatively they've impacted my life in a wholly transformational way. (That I can use the word "transpiration" correctly is, believe me, just the tip of the iceberg.)
Of course, I'm well aware that such a sweeping explanation won't satisfy the curiosity of this column's devotees. So, in order to fulfill my final responsibility to you, the reader, allow me to recount for you exactly why this will be my final recounting.
Jesus has entered my life. It went down like this: I'm at RadioShack biting on AAA batteries for cheap thrills when Somebody suddenly appears at my elbow. All hushed and earnestlike, the Somebody introduces Himself as Jesus Christ and, when He sees my skepticism (a rotating finger at my temple accompanied by "cuckoo" sounds), produces his driver's license. And there it is in black-and-white: Jesus Christ. (Interestingly, His middle initial is "I," not "H." Also, His blood type was designated "wine" and he looked way shorter than the 5-10 he'd told the state.) I've seen and used my share of fake IDs and this, I'm sure, is the real deal, so I say, "Glad to know you." Which apparently is all He needs to hear, because He immediately starts working me, turning on the divine charisma, which He has in spades, I can tell you.
I mean, by the time we leave RadioShack, He's intimating how he's counting on me to set up His One True Religion -- The Holy Temple of If You Prayed Here You'd Be Kneeling By Now -- and do I say, "Me? What, is Your arm broken, Mr. Son of God?" No. My totally heathen ass goes totally along (though I do tell Him if He plays Christian Rock around the office, the deal's off). How's all this impact the column? Well, since the first steps in establishing any religion are getting tax-exempt status and fundraising, these days, by the time I'm done filling out IRS forms plus crafting fervent direct mail solicitations, I'm plain "written out."
I hit the lottery. Meaning I no longer need the income from this column to sustain my lifestyle. On the other hand, don't think my $50 bonanza is going to change me as a person; I'm far too level-headed for that.
I finished my PhD. After far too long, I'm finally out of school. (Field of study: Behavioral Science. Dissertation: The Reflexive and Immutable Human Impulse to Circumvent Pre- and Post-Pubescent Dermal Lesions, Macules and Inflammatory Pigmentation or "Get Lost, Pizza Face."). Naturally, since I'm now officially, quantifiably and certifiably more educated, nay, smarter than the overwhelming majority of you, the ignorant public, I'll now eschew writing in favor of long periods in my ivory tower silently disdaining your feeble efforts to bring order and happiness to your pathetic lives. I know you'll wish me luck in that pursuit.
My family obligations have grown. In November, Mom moved from her home in the distant suburbs to a retirement community nearer to me, forcing a fundamental adjustment in our relationship. Now, instead of the boilerplate excuse of, "I don't have the time to drive all the way over to see you this week," I have to concoct a new, yet plausible excuse every time she calls. This has severely drained my creative reservoir, the same reservoir I tap to produce this weekly quagmire of twaddle and lies.
I've begun training for the Olympics. OK, OK, for the record, not the Olympic Olympics, the Special Olympics. (I forced my way in by threatening a long legal battle that put a "reverse discrimination" spin on the Casey Martin/PGA case.) But now that I'm in, I've committed to an ambitious training program in order ensure my athletic dominance. No way do I want to just barely beat out some mentally retarded girl from San Diego in the 100 meters or squeak by a learning-disabled French guy in the high jump. Unh-unh. I want to soundly and roundly kick some differently-abled ass.
All that being said, if these changes undergo any changes, it's possible I could change my mind -- that is, change course yet again -- and, barring any change of heart by the editor, return to this space a changed man.
Actually, no. Forget it. I'll spare both our heads the aches. ©