My father left sporting events early. It didn't matter if it was the World Series or a Knights Of Columbus potato sack race. Beating traffic was the only thing that mattered. To my recollection, it only really backfired once. It was Cap Day, 1971 or 1972, New York Yankees versus the Minnesota Twins. It's been awhile, so I could be off on details, but I do recall the Twins scoring eight runs in the first inning, and with a Yankees team full of superstars like Curt Blefary and Jake Gibbs, it would probably take four games to score the nine runs they needed to win. I think we left in the third inning, much to the chagrin of my uncle and cousin, who joined us, in our car. Yankees beat the odds and won that game 9-8. I heard about that one from my cousin until Cap Day of 1974.
My father's impatience runs through my blood. I try to plan ahead instead of taking things as they come. I look at set lists for concerts I am about to attend. If the E Street Band has played "Bobby Jean" and "Shout" as the last two songs of the night, every night for two weeks straight, I am leaving at the end of "Thunder Road." This has backfired more than once. I once got a text from my friend that said, "This is amazing!" When I replied, "What is," he knew I was already in a cab while Elvis Costello was duetting with Bruce on the Jackie Wilson classic, "Higher & Higher." I got over it right away. I just felt more disappointed in myself than in missing the performance.
That's not the half of it. I'll do this overthinking with everything. I'll check the 10 day weather forecast, and if I have outdoor plans on Day 9 and I see rain or snow, I agonize for the next 7 days. I'll answer questions I haven't yet asked people and then react to my answer and not their answer. It's no way to live.
When Prince died in April of this year, we had already lost Allen Toussaint and Lemmy at the end of 2015, and then the shock of David Bowie was followed by the shock of Glenn Frey, with Merle Haggard, Maurice White and Paul Kantner soon after. Not to mention Keith Emerson and now Greg Lake, Leon Russell, Leonard Cohen and Sharon Jones. It's not a joke to say, that's just the beginning. The list is literally too long and I know I have neglected mentioning many. We have a little more than half of December to go and with such a short time to go before we kiss the motherfucker known as 2016 goodbye, I am agonizing again. I don't feel comfortable saying the worst is over.
I haven't been a fan of Christmas since I found out Santa wasn't real 12 years ago.The end of a year has always been a time of reflection. But 2016 has eaten a lot of us up and has shat a lot of us out, only to be given one last kick in the face, like the bullet-riddled Sonny Corleone at the toll booths. I'd rather not reflect. I can't recall a worse year.
Should we take the high road and hope for a comeback like the 1978 Yankees? Or do we try to beat the traffic and just save our best for 2017? It's not in my make to hope for the best, especially when January 20th, 2017 is right around the corner. But as impossible as it is to believe, I think I have run out of ways to bitch and moan. The little energy I have left can certainly be put to better use. "We have one life," as a friend of a friend likes to say.