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Texas | Columns | "Quips and Salsa"

2018: The Year in Askew

by Jase Graves
Jase Graves

With the smells of the holidays (among other things) still hanging in the air, it's time for another one of those annoying "Year in Review" segments that make you want to drown yourself in leftover Rotel dip. But this time, there will be no mention of President Trump's various antics that caused a monsoon of pant wetting on CNN, the dumpster fire (and not the good kind) that was the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings, or the romaine lettuce scare that validated Cinnabon fans everywhere. Instead, I'll focus on the truly important events of this past year-to me, anyway.

I'll begin with my eldest and most expensive daughter, who, like thousands of teenagers all over the country, extracted her face from her cell phone screen just long enough to earn her learner's driving permit this past year. Because she also managed to participate in another activity that expended enormous quantities of my time and money, she drove us across town at 6:30 each morning for her high school dance/drill team practice. The upside to this parental abuse was that there are few things more effective at bringing your nervous system (especially the part that controls involuntary buttock clenching) fully awake at that time of day than a novice teenage driver.

Speaking of nervous system trauma, my middle daughter also achieved a common teenager milestone in 2018-her first boyfriend. Despite my offering to make her the sole heir of whatever her older sister doesn't spend if she would wait until I've been embalmed to acknowledge the existence of all non-relative males, she became a victim of puppy love. Unfortunately, the only similarities to puppies I could see were lots of whimpering, drooling and worries about bacterial transmission. I also warned the young man in question that my daughter hadn't been wormed lately. (She still isn't talking to me-unless she needs cash.)

While we're on the topic of puppies, my youngest daughter, who rarely asks for anything, other than retaining all the rights and privileges associated with her title as the baby of the family, requested a puppy for her birthday. Against my better judgement, I began the search for an addition to our domestic animal reserve. My only requirements were that the droppings from said puppy (fully grown) must not exceed the size of a Tootsie Roll Snack Bar. Within a couple of weeks, I was able to procure what appeared to be a wad of white dryer lint with eyeballs. In addition to taking the cuteness factor to cosmic levels, the puppy's only other purpose in life seems to be finding creative ways to soil the carpet, usually when we have company.

In the 2018 world of sports, I was cajoled into playing in an annual kickball game at work, ostensibly for the sake of team building and comradery. I soon discovered, though, that the true purpose of this event was to provide amusement for my colleagues in the audience-who laughed so hard that they risked damage to their internal organs when I showed up in a tank top and a pair of Nike training pants that fit better in 2010. The announcer of the contest accused me of wearing "skinny britches" like some millennial hipster fresh from an artisanal oatmeal tasting. I had a good mind to pull on my slouchy beanie and ride away on my unicycle. I swallowed my pride, though, and went on with the game. Luckily, I was able to walk normally again within about two weeks.

Although there were many other important events that shaped 2018, like Travel and Leisure's report of a Transavia Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Vienna, Austria, due to a passenger's incessant and brazen wind breaking, I hope this retrospect has at least captured some of the other essences of the year that was. So as we careen into 2019 with hope and anticipation, let's all heat up some Rotel dip and turn on CNN. (Don't forget your snorkel.)

Jase Graves
"Quips and Salsa" January 10, 2019 column

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