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January | 2013 | PJ Newman



“Those who know history are doomed to repeat it!”
-Henry Kaiser
-Maybe somebody else whom said something maybe only slightly different…

Dearest Darlingest Readers,

If you recall from my last* report from the front lines, I ran a contest for you to send in an event in history which you would change if you could. Well, since I found my Science Boy Time Machine in the shed (in a box labeled Cat Toys), I went zigzagging back and forth on the perfidious waves of Chronos Beach to see what could be done (and/or undone!).
Einstein said time is curved. Truth be told, he actually said time is shaped like a matzoh ball, but I set him straight on that. Maybe he said light was curved. He also said “the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. “
Zimmerman said “Time is a jet plane, “ but I couldn’t convince him otherwise.
Armed with your lists, a pocket full of AA batteries and some dehydrated banana chips, I set out.

Not surprisingly, many of you asked for Hitler not to have been born or some other variation on the WWII scenario. Sorry, but if it wasn’t Hitler, it was always someone else. Besides, the Three Stooges and Charlie Chaplin got some great mileage off of him. Same for asking that Christ not be crucified. Not to worry, it wasn’t him. The Romans couldn’t find him, so they hoisted a mannequin instead and called it a day. Jesus actually never existed; it was just a story that ancient mothers told their children so they’d eat their spinach.
Almost every one of you DEMANDED that 9/11 not take place. I tried and I tried, but it kept happening. There are too many pieces to that tragedy to put right. Sorry.
Besides, you were only given one event in time to change, not your fucking Costco list!

Some of you asked that you had purchased Apple stock when it was cheap or not to have worn platform shoes. How many of you asked not to have married him or her? That “experimental” period of your wild youth still leaves a bad taste in your mouth?

For the more altruistic of you, I actually got Roger Moore the 007 gig! It was originally going to be Benny Hill and you have NO IDEA how hard it was to get them to consider Daniel Craig instead of Bon Jovi!!! Everybody owes me for that!

Many suggested that I avoid the drum shield that I tripped over that put me where I am today. I did and to celebrate, I moonwalked right into a 30-foot high pile of Ampeg SVT’s. DOH!

I tried to get Frank Zappa to have his prostate checked, but he misunderstood and thought I called him an asshole. I called Lenny Kravitz an asshole and he got his prostate checked….

Some time later….

When I began writing this, I thought it would be a nice little exercise in short fiction humor and then it did what all writers quietly ask for from their readers: Deep thought.
No, not the kind when you’re stoned and you think you’ve deciphered the true meaning to the lyrics of “Stairway To Heaven,” or hear a love or love-lost song and swear that it was written for/about you.
No, dear readers, it made me think about what I was writing and what I really meant to say, although it didn’t hit me for a few months.

What I meant to say was…

What I meant to say was that you can’t change the past. We rarely get mulligans or do-overs. Were that the case, I would’ve tried to prevent my friend Rob from getting murdered in his bed from his deranged roommate looking for cocaine. Or I would’ve tried to keep my friend’s teenage son from driving alone that night. Or would’ve tackled the nurse before she shot up my father with a 10x overdose of chemo.

Just doesn’t work like that.

What I meant to say was that every choice we make has its own consequences, its own roadmap. It does what it does. I can’t untell lies I told, undo all of the bad choices I made. But I can try to make the best of it. Learn from my mistakes. Apologize until I turn blue. Make amends. When I say “I” or “me”, I’m talking about/to you as well.
Each decision, for good or bad, sets off a string of events, some apples falling on heads and saying “Eureka” or “Gravity” or some such shit. Some accepting that the new/old girlfriend is better than the old/new girlfriend and looking to a brave new future instead of remaining in a rut and perhaps doing 30 to life.

I say this now, not actually recanting my original intention, but being swept upon a new wave of the time space thingy. I’ve been volunteering for the local Meals for Seniors outfit, picking up food from local stores and making deliveries to shut-ins. I have yet to burst into flames when I enter the church buildings and people appreciate me for the little time it takes each week. I don’t bore them with my sad story nor do I ask why they’re there. As bad as I feel, physically and emotionally for the life that has been taken away from me (metaphoric, not literal), I have nothing to complain about when I visit these people. Even in my pain group (kind of fight club, but not really), my injuries are like a paper cut compared to others and they seem to be able to make the best of it. Hell, we’re all still walking (some of us) and talking (too many of us).


Make the best of the short time we all have. If you’re going to be an asshole and submit a letter to the paper for all to read, sign your name to it. Don’t hide behind the anonymity of the same password you use for everything on your computer. Better yet, just imagine that you have so many words that you get to use in your entire life. Think hard before you hit the enter button. Is this what you want to be remembered for? Try to make good for bad things you’ve done. People will generally understand and maybe even forgive you. Except for people like Michael Vicks, who shall burn in hell, what have you got to lose?

I’ve been learning about Tibetan Buddhism lately. One of the main tenets is “Life is Suffering.” Just ask the Dalai Lama. Talk about a man who got the shit end of the stick. But rarely do you see him without a smile.
Why? Because he’s told the joke so many times that his delivery is perfect and timing impeccable.

In closing, forgive me for things I’ve said, things I’ve done. Believe me, I feel badly about them.
Be nice, tip well for good service. It’s ok not to tip for bad food or lousy service, or better yet, leave a penny.
Treat animals well. They depend on you for everything. Support people who help others. Beware of false idols. Brush, floss, rinse. Repeat.



*If you read the earlier posts and cant find the contest, well, I went back in time and changed it to something else…