Quiet Desperation

The curmudgeon takes a holiday

Column by Craig Marshall Smith

It’s snowing and the dog won’t go outside. Meanwhile, the dog across the street, Taz, is outside rolling around, jumping up and down, and playing mumblety-peg with a squirrel.
We have no appointments and no meetings. We are both safe and sound and warm. I have nothing to complain about today, and that may be a first. I am sure I could pick at a scab and write about an injustice or a tragedy or Detroit, but I am not going to.
The curmudgeon, the fault-finder, is taking some time off to look around and smell the Sumatra. It probably won’t last very long. I think if I stayed away from the television, the newspaper and the computer for a few days I could stretch this out. But I haven’t even come close to doing that since I was in rehab, and that was 16 years ago.
The rehab I went to was a sanctuary. I didn’t have to wear a hospital gown, and I wasn’t chained to my bed. We could leave for a couple of hours every day, within a specified radius, and as long as we didn’t go to our homes or to Colfax.
One girl went to Colfax the night before her graduation, and she was shown the door.
Anyway, I am not going to offer an opinion about Martin Scorsese’s new film,
which sets a record for the f-word in an R-rated film at 506. Or offer an opinion about MSNBC’s apology for its bit on the Romneys’ adopted grandson. Or comment about the zero degree temperatures that nearly half the population is experiencing right now.
I am wearing blinders.
Well, no, that’s impossible, isn’t it?
If I had been wearing blinders I wouldn’t have known that Phil Everly died. I have written about the Everly brothers before. They affected my life. The first song I heard on my new transistor Toshiba in 1958 was “All I Have to Do is Dream.” That’s a good theme for living.
All of Alice’s adventures were in a dream.
But life is only dreamy now and then. It can hit on us with a closed fist. The big picture can smack us with worldly current events, or it can smack us in our own homes. It’s not going to smack me today.
I hope.
Do you recognize this? “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” The answer is at the end of the column.
Unless you live in a packing crate, it’s almost impossible to dodge current events. They come at us from every direction.
I am guilty of straying to some news services while I am writing my columns, and there I am again, on the Grumbleville bus. But not this time.
Maybe tomorrow. Don’t get used to this.
The trick to an upbeat day is to avoid Christiane Amanpour. She’s great, but she always in the thick of something, halfway around the world. It’s forever dire straits with her, not those uplifting stories about corn roasts and sugar gliders.
The TV movie of the day is “No Country For Old Men.” Best to avoid that one too.
I don’t know how some people do it. How some people have days like this every day. I have a friend who is informed, but nothing ever wrinkles her forehead.
Nothing is going to wrinkle my forehead today. It’s “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

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