Bark Rings Bark Rings
David Sherman
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12v6 DavidSherman MayanCalendar2 300x294 Bark RingsBARK RINGS By David Sherman Much fuss has been made of late about the approaching end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012, though most of those doing the fussing are wearing aluminum foil hats. I often wonder what they would do if they were told that the odometer of the car in which they’re riding just hit 99999.9? Would they shriek, “We’re all DOOMED!” in a girly voice and jump out the window? Could we be that lucky? Were there any Mayans still with us, I know what they would do on 12/22/2012; they would do the same thing we do on January 1. They would chuck out the old calendar and go out and get a new one. Of course, first they’d have to gather some friends to help carry it home. Our calendars are paper with images of kittens, or NASCAR drivers, or scantily clad young women, who only posed for those pictures to pay for college so they can become teachers and missionaries (the women, not the kittens or the NASCAR drivers). The Mayan version was carved in stone and usually weighed over a ton. Maybe that’s why it was meant to last for 5,126 years. No one wanted to carry one twice. I only bring this up because I am facing my own big odometer moment, and I’m having some trouble wrapping my head around it. What’s another bark ring? Turning 30 bothered me for about 20 minutes when I was 28, and I fretted over 40 for a good two hours when I was 38, but aside from those brief bouts of paranoia, I was fine. Facing 50 is proving to be a bit more daunting. Perhaps this is because I can’t figure out how I got here. It seems like I was 22 just couple of weeks ago, and then I blinked. I think maybe someone broke into my house and stole half my hair and replaced my neck with a mismatched assortment of chins. What bothers me the most is, judging by the second trimester look of my waistline, they also had their way with me, which is just wrong! What happened to the good old days when people just stole your TV, your stereo, and the odd glass sculpture with a metal bowl attached? I tried telling people that I’m still 22, but my hairline, my waistline, my flat feet, my bad knees, my shot ankles, my carpal tunnels, and my trifocals all say I’m full of… Well, let’s just say it’s the same thing so many of our nice Republican readers have been kind enough to tell me I’m full of. On the upside, I now wander my condo complex at night quietly telling my version of my life’s story to all the plants. Apparently my own brand of B.S. makes excellent fertilizer, because the place has never been greener. One piece of advice though, should you wish to try this yourself: When the man in the patrol car asks what you’re doing out at 3:30 a.m., don’t say, “Fertilizing!”\ So now I find myself resigned to the inevitability of my fiftieth bark ring, and with it the sobering thought that my yesterdays now probably outnumber my tomorrows. I’ve long maintained that I intend to live to be 129, the same number as my birthday, but as a two-pack-a-day smoker who thinks breakfast is four eggs cooked in butter and bacon fat, the odds of that are about the same as my beloved Dolphins making it to the Super Bowl next year. This is where all of you pink lung people preach to me about the evils of tobacco and someone has the temerity to use the words “diet” and “exercise.” To the first group I say, if you legalize my other option I’ll switch over completely, though it will almost certainly entail a spike in my Dorito consumption. To the second I would note that I’m already on a diet. It’s called the “B Diet”: Beef, Bacon, Butter and Beer! To suggest that any of these four primary food groups is in any way harmful, will only cause my finely honed B Diet reflexes to kick in. This is similar to the whack on the knee with the rubber mallet to make the foot jump, save that in this case when someone tries to talk me out of my Beef, Bacon, Butter, or Beer, my fist clenches up and my middle finger shoots skyward. As for exercise, I do 20 oz. Harp curls every Tuesday, I occasionally walk seven blocks to the store when I’m out of cigarettes (if Jacquie has the car) and at least once a month I walk down and stick my head in the workout room in the condo clubhouse. I don’t go in, mind you, because I remember what happened the last time, and my chiropractor doesn’t need a new boat yet! Beyond that, I always take the stairs instead of the elevator (unless I’m inside) and I regularly watch people play tennis. Plus there’s the pool. I dearly love the pool. Pool is a sport, right? Hell, add some 20 oz. Harp curls between rounds and it’s practically a biathlon event! All that remains is how to celebrate this auspicious event. Enter my dearest Jacquie, a woman whose only flaw is her apparent horrid taste in men. On my fiftieth she will be taking me to a bar where dancing on the tables is not only allowed, but encouraged! It’s also on the Mexican island of Cozumel! It’s either going to be “Goodbye stoicism, hello Mescal,” or  “Goodbye dignity, hello floor!” Whichever, or both, it’s been a hell of a ride thus far, and I’m not getting off any time soon (off the ride that is!). I understand Cozumel also has Mayan ruins. Maybe I’ll pick up a calendar… If the new one’s out yet, and I can find enough people to help me carry it back to the boat! On a more personal note: The women Jacquie works with think it’s sweet when I call for her and ask to, “Gaze upon the radiant hub of my universe.” I call it grievous understatement. Were it not for her, I might not have made it to 40, let alone 50 and the years beyond.  Only when you’ve walked in darkness can you truly appreciate such a Light.
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