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Quiet Desperation

Somehow time is a fastball that throws you a curve


Time flies. Time really flies.

I just received an invitation to pre-order a 2019 SUV.

The vehicle isn’t in the works: It already exists.

I received the invitation in February 2018.

When I was a kid, the debut of the new year automobiles was a very big deal. Maybe some of you remember?

It happened in the fall, not the previous winter.

We would be teased with full-page newspaper ads and flashy television commercials, and almost all of the American cars were debuted at about the same time.

Now it’s whenever they feel like it.

The first sign of trouble was the 1964 1/2 Mustang. The 1964 Mustang had been a huge success, and Ford was in high gear for the 1965 Mustang, but Ford was asked to provide the pace car for the 1965 Indianapolis 500, and came up with a special convertible. It was later turned into a production vehicle.

In our home, the weeks before the debut of the new models was just like the weeks before Christmas.

My father sold Buicks.

But when he saw the 1958 Buicks, he moved down the street and sold Fords.

He brought home a new demo once a month, and we pretended it was the family car.

I am sure there are men and women leaning into their computers somewhere, designing 2020, 2021, and 2022 automobiles.

When I was in high school, freshmen who made a team were awarded sweater numerals.

My numbers looked like the distant future, beyond my comprehension.

We were assigned George Orwell’s “1984” and that was even more incomprehensible. Then 1984 came and went.

Next stop? Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” but first we were supposed to party like it was 1999.

Kubrick’s film was released in 1968. Prince’s song was released in 1982.

I retired in 2003, and I kept the intention to myself for two years. They were very long years. I marked off the weeks on my calendars.

It’s been 15 years. Where did it go? What did I do? Who was I with?

Hindsight, it is said, is 20/20. I am looking forward to the year 2020 already for two reasons. One for a reason I can’t tell you, and another for a reason I can: there will be a presidential election.

Things will start to warm up in 2019.

I expect it will be fraught with political thunder, layered with impressive promises, and scripted by Monty Python. I can’t wait.

I want you to get out “Dark Side of the Moon,” and listen to “Time.”

“You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.”

On his deathbed, David Cassidy said something that was more meaningful, I think, than anything else he had ever said or had ever done.

“So much wasted time.”

I have frittered and I have wasted. I try not to anymore: There are far fewer calendar years left in my life than there were when I was handed my high school numerals.

When I was 14, I looked at men my age now, and thought they were walking antiques. What were they doing out of bed?

Now I am one of them. It’s funny how that happens. You get up in the morning and go to work, and the next thing you know you’re getting discounts at the zoo.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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