Every December, periodicals and news programs are lousy with recaps of the year's biggest, best and worst world, national and local events. I hate that. Around this same time, Christmas cards fill my mailbox, many supplemented with long letters that painstakingly detail the highs, lows and momentous episodes that have transpired since last year's painstakingly detailed letter. I hate that, too.
It's remarkable, then, that I find the following low- concept, path-of-least-resistance hybrid (i.e., an extensive recounting of my personal year-long saga published in a public medium) so thoroughly engaging and entertaining.
January: Personal progress, personal growth. As my New Year's resolution, I pledged to stop judging people based on how much they (over)weigh, by their excess poundage. Rather, I now covertly lure acquaintances into an immersion tank and judge them according to their displacement volume.
February: Embracing the spirit of Black History Month. (Or, as some have come to call it, "Urban" History Month.) My first move was to replace my everyday, glossy, crotch-ly, WASP-ish pornography with the proud, pioneering nudity of Josephine Baker. I was also asked and agreed to be a visual aid for a Louis Farrakhan speech on "the white devil." Finally, I spearheaded the effort to purchase outgoing NAACP President Kweisi Mfume the vowel of his choice for insertion between the first two letters of his last name.
March: My new non-fiction history hit bookstores. The title is :-( x 6,000,000 and it's the first and only book to fully express the horrors and sorrow of the Holocaust through the raw power and eloquence of emoticons.
April: Love renewed. For our anniversary, The Partner and I renewed our marriage vows.
This time, in addition to the standard "for better or worse, for richer or poorer" stuff, we also, to keep current, swore not to charge each other in a violent or threatening manner when appearing on The Jerry Springer Show and that neither of us will ever again shout out Halle Berry's name as we achieve sexual climax.
May: Found God. The wrong One. Of course. The One with all the troublemaking zealots. Who needs that? So we both walked away in a huff. Though my huff didn't level downtown Milwaukee.
June: Checked out Star: A Novel by Pamela Anderson. A curious experience. I had to quit this bestseller about halfway through when it became clear the book was, in fact, making me dumber by the page and I no longer knew how to read.
July: Took a closer look at cryogenic preservation. Yikes! According to the lab's pricing structure, my limited budget will only get my dead body "put up in our root cellar with last season's tomatoes and sweet corn."
August: The Olympics and Athens -- a Grecian formula for fun. This was my first visit to Greece, cradle of democracy, incubator of mysterious gyro "meat," perambulator of sodomizing philosophers. Not surprisingly, the country proved extraordinarily historic, the people extravagantly hirsute. The Games themselves? Fantastic. Who would have predicted the blood dopers would out-medal the undetectable-steroids shooters?
September: Peace in the neighborhood. To end the acrimony that had recently reached unfortunate levels, I extended an olive branch to the couple next door. After much discussion, they finally agreed not to make any improvements to their house that The Partner might want me to do to ours and, in return, I'll not only stop my dog from doing his business in their yard, I'll stop doing my business in their yard, too. Feeling generous, I also unilaterally agreed to tone down my loud, mocking, over-the-fence catcalls of "Need some wax, chrome dome?" and "Nice skin lid, slick;" in fact, I promised to eschew the subject of her chemotherapy altogether.
October: Emigration. Overcome by a strong, bad feeling about the outcome of the upcoming presidential election -- since borne out -- I decided to "pre-leave" the country, move to Canada. Less than a week later, I was back, having quickly learned the truth of the old adage, "You can take the boy out of America but you can't take America's ingrained condescension toward and brazen dismissal of Canada as a frozen goddamn backwater out of the boy."
November: Got a new Hummer. OK, so 49 percent of us don't support the president. That doesn't mean we shouldn't support the troops. So for my part, I decided to start driving a ridiculously huge vehicle that has an MPG that stands for meters per gallon. In that way, I'm making sure that our soldiers die for a good reason. I mean, if they're going to die in the interest of oil, better it's for a fortune in the stuff than a mere pittance. Right?
December: Went into detox. Well, almost. Actually, due to some sloppy penmanship, instead of being taken to detox I was taken for Botox. Bottom line is, I'm still drinking and drugging myself to death but I look fabulous.
BOB WOODIWISS: - His column appears here the last issue of each month. His book, Keys to Uncomfortable Living, a collection of humorous and satirical essays, is in bookstores now.