Learning to Relax
I had a revelation coming back to the office after my vacation in the woods of Northern Michigan. You know how you feel relaxed after time off, and things don't worry you or get under your skin as they normally do? Well, I like this feeling so much I'm going to be this way the rest of my life. I'm giving up the anxiety, man. I'm giving up the stress. From here on in I'm unlaxing myself big time. At the office, I'm going to stop worrying about every little thing. Life's too short. The stuff I think about on the job -- stories coming in, proofreading, writing, doing listings, getting photographs -- I'm going to let those things take care of themselves. Why the hell be so linear all the time? The best stories tell themselves, man. They'll find their way into the paper if they're important enough. Same with photos. If we don't get a photo, we'll just have restful white space in that spot. There's nothing wrong with white space, man. Or we can throw in funny drawings of dogs and cats. Dogs and cats may have nothing to do with a story, but dogs and cats exist, right? So they have a right to be there, with the story. This is what I mean by not being so linear. As for listings, I'm going to do them once, and not update them week to week anymore. I've got all these files on my desk with information about concerts, museums, dance and theater. It's a drag. My life is measured out in file folders, man. With my new non-linear listings strategy, if Jesus Christ Superstar is opening at the local theater in December, as far as I'm concerned it's there forever. If people go to the theater expecting to see Jesus Christ Superstar and Plaza Suite is there instead, and they experience anger with that, the problem is in their heads, okay? I'm not dealing with it. I'm just going to let events happen and stop trying to control everything. I'm not going to be so compulsive about writing, either. Hey man I'm not going to worry about punctuation. From now on if it feels good do it. If a comma looks pretty, after a certain word, that's, where I'm going to, put it. I'm going to toss words up in the air and fly them like kites and when they float down to earth people can make their own sense of them. By the same token I'm not going to be so concerned about "mistakes" getting in the paper. Who's to say what's "misspelled"? Who's to say that Cleveland's mayor isn't still Ralph Perk, or that Lawrence Taylor doesn't play for the Browns? Facts supply their own reality, man. I'm tired of being a fact fascist. It'll be like an endless vacation at work. I'll put my feet up, drink vodka out of my water bottle, and call everyone "Ace" or "Champ." As in, "I'm on it, Ace." "You got it, Champ." I'll be the Don Johnson of the office. If people complain about it? "You tell 'em, Champ." When the boss asks me to do something, I'll just laugh. "Hey, that's a good one! I'll get right on that, Ace." Then I'll just slide on home drunk. The way I figure it the worst that could happen if I do this is that I get fired. And the worst that could happen after that is that I don't find another job. Then I could move back in with my mom. They call this "the Baby Boomerang." I've already floated the idea by her and she said, "Oh, that'd be great." She was clearly excited about it. So that's all arranged, too, if need be. And I could help her around the house, you know, by drinking out of her glasses and sitting on chairs and stuff. Well, gotta go. Got a few of my famous eternal listings to tap in, and then an Amstel Light to pound. The Big Relax has begun.