January 8, 2011 10:40:00 PM
This is the time of year when the trivial seems extraordinary. Dates on the calendar have intense significance. Friday night''s midnight deemed more momentous than every other midnight of the year. Bowl games and playoffs are anointed with profound importance. Rah! -- for the colleges. Rah! Rah! -- for the Super Bowl.
I must confess that the turn of a new year means nothing to me. Oh, perhaps it might, if it really meant a new beginning, like all my debts were wiped out, or I could forget the pain of last year. It''s difficult to celebrate sameness.
Endless hours of football have, surprisingly, unearthed a memory from my teen years.
Once upon a time, when young ladies were considered old enough to date, they were bombarded with too much advice. We were told always to carry "mad money." If you got "mad" on a date, you always had cab fare home, or at least a few coins to call your father to the rescue. (Yes, that was before cell phones.)
We were told to "just be yourself." As if a shy, self-conscious, nervous wreck was the perfect companion for the evening.
The worst advice was that you must express interest in whatever your date was interested in (no matter if you had to pretend). In those years, it was football. I spent most of my high school existence wasting time perched on hard bleachers, in weather of every sort. I was miserable.
Oh, I tried to understand what was happening. And, truthfully, I know a bit about the game.
This is what I have learned. Football is divided into four quarters, each is 15 minutes long. Therefore, a game should last for only one hour. Unfortunately, that is not the case. This sport defies the concept of time. A high-school match lasts about two hours, college, longer, and professional games go on for eternal eons. (Lord, deliver me from all this "fun.")
Yes, I know, football has the miracle of the "time-out." Really, does that seem sportsman-like? Life has no time-outs. Stop the clock! I demand some personal pauses from my life!
I want a break from the phone. The recording could say, "Adele is in time-out, right now. She is unreachable." I want to sleep longer. Alarm clocks are not allowed to ring during a time-out. I want time to read, or paint or just daydream. Oh, yeah, and I want to be paid like a football player.
There you go, 2011, see if you can make some of those changes. If not, don''t tease me with the promise of a "new" year. You feel just a bit too familiar.
I don''t have a daughter. (Well, not a human one.) But, if I did, I would tell her to spend time on things she loved. How silly to feign interest in subjects that bore you. Anyone is more attractive when immersed in something they find fascinating. That way you have a better chance of meeting someone with shared pursuits.
Of course, the universe is a trickster. My daughter would probably love football. Well, there''s always the handy advice about "mad money." That one is ageless.
Happy New Year to my readers. I hope your 2011 is filled with favorable transformations and good advice!
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.
5. Evading the Nazis BOOK REVIEWS