Monday, January 04, 2010


It was cold at 4 am on New Years day, standing between my car and that Malibu with the annoying red and blue lights, flashing in my face as I blew into the little plastic tube.

“Keep blowing….keep blowing…keep blowing…”

Geesh, dude, whatta ya think I am, a compressor? Put in another quarter!

Only three minutes before this, passing some poor joker they had nailed just beyond the turnoff to XNA, and knowing for sure that this town – only a fraction the size of Mayberry – could only have one cop, I said out loud “Looks like we got a clear shot through Cave Springs!”

Well, no.

I told the guy he was wasting his time. Over the course of the previous nine hours I had consumed maybe 6 cervezas (so I told him 3) and a single glass of celebratory champagne. Granted, at 4 am in Cave Springs, Arkansas, it wasn’t like he had that much else to do. Given the community’s reputation, I assumed he had already stopped everybody else who had driven through there in the past eight hours or so. Surely I was the last one.

So, as I’m standing there in his headlights while he called me in, providing some boring footage for his dash cam, and considering whether or not I should do something to provoke a tasing, for pure entertainment value, I began to worry about my guitar, in there, being affected by the cold. I could have been home by now and moved it to the relative comfort of my living room. I wondered if there was anything else in there that was getting frozen. And, oh, yeah, there was Becky and Martha, freaking out in the car, wondering how they were going to get home when this guy drug me off to the bighouse.

Waiting for him to return my license and registration and insurance card to me, I gazed up into the clear winter sky to see the celebrated “blue moon”. The last one of these things to occur on my birthday (New Year’s Eve), they tell me, was twenty years ago, and the next one will be another twenty. We had discussed this phenomenon earlier in the evening and determined, due to its sheer rarity, that it could only bring about good karma for 2010. For that reason, coupled with the fact that I was stone-cold sober, I wasn’t worried in the least about that anxious cop. This seemed to be the most appropriate moment I could fathom to come up with my New Years Resolutions.

Considering that in the previous 54 years I had never managed to keep a single one of those resolutions, and recalling Einstein’s definition of an idiot, this year I developed a new approach.

I resolve to smoke as many cigarettes and eat as much chocolate as I possibly can. I resolve to leave the three books I have started writing untouched until at least the beginning of next year; to put off updating my arts website; and to try and pile just a few more things into my garage. I will become complacent with the unfinished floor tile in the laundry room and pantry and embrace the appearance of that sludge pit in my back yard that used to be called a swimming pool. I will spend more time lying on the couch watching TV. I resolve to let the fingertips on my left hand go soft and smooth while my guitar collects dust in the corner. I will make every effort to lose as much money as possible on games of chance. I will never, under any circumstances, consider taking up any sort of exercise program.

That should about do it. It’ll take me all year to keep those promises.

For the moment, my quest is to get Martha to her house and make it home without getting stopped again. Then, for the next week or so, explain to my family and friends exactly why I was so stupid as to attempt to drive through Cave Springs at this hour, in any state of sobriety, and not expect to get pulled over.

Just testing the new karma, ya’ll.

© 2010, Rick Baber