Observations at the end of a year, apropos of nothing much.
1. Every year, I get dumber. 2017 was no exception. I suspect this is part of nature’s plan to eventually make me every bit as dumb as I look.
2. Hope your Christmas was what you deserved. Mine was great, though I got severely tailgated by an irate Rudolph the Red Nosed Tahoe a couple of days before the big day. I was driving west on Highway 144 when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a red-nose on the front of an SUV about half an inch off my back bumper. It also had those cute little furry brown antlers sticking up over the doors and what I hope was a tiny woman with big hair behind the wheel. I am glad to see big hair is making a comeback. It’s long overdue.
3. I spend a lot of time on the road, it seems. I was on I-95 the other day when I spotted a giant billboard with a giant photo of a giant real estate agent staring out at the traffic from on high with giant hands on giant hips.
I wondered, of course, what that body language was aimed at conveying to the masses speeding south on 95, so I looked it up online. According to westsidetoastmasters.com, "This is a universal gesture used to communicate that a person is ready for assertive action. Also known as the ‘readiness’ gesture, that is, the person is ready for assertive action, it’s basic meaning carries a subtly aggressive attitude everywhere." It’s also the way secret agents stand before they leap into action and save the world for democracy, or sell you a house.
4. I am worried there won’t be enough oysters for future generations to roast on New Year’s Eve. The population boom in the Coastal Empire has added zillions of additional oyster eaters to the ranks. Add that to the tendency of marine and river conservation groups to celebrate their dedication to preserving said habitats by roasting up thousands of its bivalve inhabitants and you can see us regular-grade old oyster lovers are in trouble.
5. Speaking of nautical stuff, you don’t see as many Salt Life stickers around as you used to. Maybe the cars and pickups they were on rusted from all that wonderful salty living. I admit I never got the Salt Life decal craze, which seemed to be the province of 30-year-old teenagers who like hearing "Bro Country" turned up loud at 2 a.m. on weeknights while they play cornhole and wrestle in their backyards until you call the sheriff’s department on them. Then they throw beer bottles in your ditch for a week or two, for good measure. Those are some mean girls.
6. If you haven’t seen it yet, give "The Long Road Home" on National Geographic Network a watch. It’s a true story about a Cav platoon from Fort Hood getting trapped in Sadr City in Iraq 2004 and the efforts to get them out. It’s about real soldiers, and it’s both realistic and respectfully done. There are also interviews with Martha Raddatz, the journalist who wrote the book it’s based on, and the soldiers she followed for more than a decade. It’s journalism at its finest, and never to be confused with this column, which is simply an aging editor with not enough time on his hands.
May your 2018 be all that you want it to be and, as always, Go Gamecocks and Georgia Southern.