Column #584 Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Happy New Year!
My plans for welcoming the New Millennium were set 26 years ago (now 45!) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In fact, when the beer ran out and as the sun began to cast its glow across the snow on the first morning of 1974, my roommates and I took the opportunity to plan our entire lives. We then scarfed down some cold pizza and threw up.
Bob Muir was going to make millions after he graduated, passed his CPA exam and became a Partner with Price Waterhouse. Tim Mace didn’t care if he graduated – the way he had it figured a diploma wasn’t a prerequisite for becoming a touring tennis pro. Ken Ver Duin (“VD” or syphilis” we called him) was going to marry his high school sweetheart, Patty, and dip into his trust fund to buy a house on a lake, a fast car and have a family. Paul “Poncho” Villavicencio planned to move back to his native Venezuela, marry a pretty girl and return some day as a member of the foreign service.
I was going to follow in the footsteps of my hero at the time, Richard Nixon, and run for Congress. Then, once we had all made our mark on the world, we were going to reunite for one last New Year’s Eve blowout. Tonight. December 31, 1999. The mother of all parties.
Sadly, as with so many things in life, our plans just didn’t work out.
My relationship with Bob has been strained ever since the day I sent him the video “Deep Throat” for a wedding present. He says his wife doesn’t appreciate my sense of humor. Go figure. Bob is now a partner with Price Waterhouse Coopers in Houston. He’s got millions.
Ken married Patty, bought the house, several fancy cars and had a big family. When he isn’t fishing, he manages his trust.
Tim’s life has been a mystery since 1976 when he got kicked off the tennis team for skipping practice to drive to Notre Dame to watch Adrian Dantley play basketball. The last I heard he was stringing tennis racquets at a country club somewhere in the Miami suburbs.
Poncho ended up hitched to some beauty queen from Wisconsin and has a dream job with Oscar-Meyer. Basically, he sells hot dogs.
And me – well, I just didn’t know that girl was 14 years old. No, wait! That was Chuck Berry. Seriously, until the Clinton and Trump administrations such “indiscretions” tended to dampen careers. My problem was that I couldn’t raise the few million dollars required to get elected. So now, I write a column that no one reads about a sport that gets no respect.
I am content with the course my life has taken. I’ve got a beautiful wife. A great kid. Fluffy dogs. A house. A couple of cars. Four dart boards. Six sets of darts. There’s beer in the refrigerator. Well, there was a few hours ago. Somebody broke into the house and stole it. Bastards.
Still, as I sit here at my laptop and as the final minutes of the 20th Century (now 2019) slide into history, I can’t help but reflect. That’s what you’re supposed to do on New Year’s Eve. That, get blotto and moon strangers. Make resolutions. And predictions.
Yes, my old buddies and I traveled different paths but I’m happy with where mine has taken me. Congress is for criminals. I don’t enjoy hooking innocent fish. Tennis requires exercise. And while I must admit that I do love hot dogs, I find that Oscar-Meyer has just a tad too many snouts, lips and hair follicles squeezed into their particular brand of intestines. So, I wouldn’t trade places with Poncho either.
As I contemplate 2020, there are a couple of people’s shoes I wouldn’t mind stepping into for a night, even for just a couple of hours. Twenty years ago, the choice was a no-brainer – Phil Taylor’s shoes would have been on my feet in a flash. Tomorrow, I would happily wear either Michael van Gerwen’s or Peter Wrights’ (although £500,000 would come in handy £200,000 is nothing to scoff at). For the record, I’d also be just fine wearing Fallon Sherrock’s skirt.
Next, there are the resolutions…
I resolve to spend more time with my wife – to achieve this I will reduce my nights out throwing darts from five to four. On second thought I’ll just take her to the bar.
I resolve to drink less Budweiser. I will switch to Coors.
I resolve to chalk more often. Oh, screw that.
I resolve to be sensitive and politically correct in all that I write and do. To accomplish this, I will jettison the words “liar, bullshit, laughable,” and “loser” from my vocabulary (unless I am referencing the ADO or convicted sex offenders and plagiarizers with delusions of grandeur.)
Just as my roommates and I did a quarter of a century ago (yep, now heading towards 50 years) I must gaze into the crystal ball. Unfortunately, the big glitter orb in Times Square is but moments from dropping. I do not have the time required to fully consider what my life and my darts will be like in the New Year.
So, what I will do is take one dart in my hand. I will step to the board on the wall in the room where I am typing. The possibilities for a bright, or not so bright, 2020 range from 60 to a big fat zip. Are you with me? Here we go.
Okay. I’m at the line. I’m ready…
The ball is dropping… we’re seconds away from the New Year. A brand-new slate. League’s startin’ up again in a few days. The future’s gonna be mine, baby.
I set. I stroke. Release…
From the Field,
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