Commentary: Top 10 lists are generally reserved for the end of the year, reviewing the concluding year’s ten best films, books, TV shows, microwave burritos, pothole repairs and inappropriate but funny jokes told by friends. My Top 10 list looks forward, into the coming year and what I want to accomplish in 2018.
10. Finish my novel. By “finish my novel,” I mean start my novel. By “start my novel,” I mean think up a story, characters, plot, dialogue, backstory and sassy witticisms. Then I need to sit down at my computer for long and dedicated periods of wordsmithing. Maybe move to Paris and live it a small writer’s garret or sequester myself in an isolated cabin in the desert without distractions, so I could focus the 37 chapters I haven’t yet written.
9. Take tap dance lessons. Ever since I watched my first Fred Astaire movie (Top Hat) and Gene Kelly movie (Anchors Away), I’ve thought about taking tap dance lessons. Several things have gotten in my way, most notably lack of tap dancing talent. In 2018 I don’t necessarily have any additional talent, I’ve just stopped caring that I’d look like a buffoon in front of other people.
8. Win a Nobel Prize. Not one of the difficult ones like Chemistry or Peace or Tap Dancing, but one of the minor ones like penmanship, helping friends move or macaroni and cheese preparation.
7. Audition for a community theater performance. I hope one of the many local theaters decides to stage the classic 12 Angry Men, because I’d be a natural for a role. I can count to twelve, I’m quick to anger, and I’m a man. Casting directors, you know how to get a hold of me.
6. I should really clean the house more often. I won’t be featured on Hoarders or anything like that, but I didn’t inherit the vacuuming chromosome from my sainted mother. I don’t even know what the word “dusting” means.
5. Read my poetry in public. I write mediocre poetry, and then I send it to my friend John – a wonderful poet – for editing. I accept all his suggestions, and then pass it off as my own. It’s a great system. However, I haven’t read it for anyone, and I do want to get out of my comfort zone and show my vulnerable and sensitive side in public. I just want to make sure there are no pushcarts selling rotten fruit and vegetables near the poetry recitation.
4. Visit more places in my adopted home state. Any state with a wide bend in the road called Pie Town is OK with me. Also, Santa Fe is pretty, I’m told, but Pie Town is first on the list.
3. Alter my coffee intake. I drink a lot of coffee, five, six, seven, eight cups a day. But I don’t think that’s the right amount. I need to drink a lot more, to get more accomplished, or cut way back, to get more sleep. I’m not sure which.
2. Lose another (none of your business) pounds. I’ve made great progress to date and I can’t slide backwards. Two reasons: I’m healthier and I’ve given away all my fat clothes as an incentive to get and stay thin. I don’t think I can afford a new wardrobe, so losing weight is my only alternative.
1. Set up Wilke For President 2020 committee. My platform will include:
· Move to daylight savings time and keep it there year-round.
· Alaska and Hawaii vote a day ahead of the lower 48 states.
· Corporal punishment for people who take too long to answer important emails.
· (I was going to propose selling off North Dakota, but I just met a really, really nice person from Fargo, so I’m putting that on hold.)
· The seventh game of the World Series will be considered a national holiday.
· A pound of fudge for all taxpayers who file before Feb. 15, helping alleviate the last-minute rush.
· Abolish the Electoral College. All votes count the same, what a concept!
It’s going to be a busy year.
Phil Wilke is a recent transplant to Las Cruces, would appreciate your vote, and is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.