March 27, 2012

I was sitting at my computer when Laura yells from the front room, "Joe, have you done our taxes yet?" She knows I haven't - it isn't April 14th yet. That's when I always do the taxes. I can hear a tax commercial on the TV so I know what prompted her to ask such a silly question.

"No." says I.

"Better get them done - maybe today."

"I'm working on something else important right now."

Good thing she didn't ask what because I was working on my Christmas letter to Santa (a.k.a all my relatives). Yeah, I said Christmas. No one in my family of brother and sisters is rich. Neither are any of my various nieces, nephews. Nor are any of the other odd sorts of relatives. So I gotta get my letter out early so they have time to decide whether or not I'm going to get what I want. Usually it's "not" but I still try.

Don't get me wrong. I know that it's politically correct to ask only for world peace and redemption during the holiday season. But Santa's bag is only so big.

Let's get real here! Like most seniors, my personal needs are few. Married for 42 years, I have plenty of toasters, towels, and trivets.

You'd think ear-hair tweezers and nose-hair pluckers would be on every old guy's list, but my beautician takes care of these humble tasks. (Yes, years ago I gave up barbers who only want to talk sports in favor of cute gals I can flirt with.)

What would really come in handy would be a new kind of timepiece. I need a clock that compensates for time as I feel it, where days pass as minutes and years zoom by before we even consider resetting for daylight-savings. A clock like that, reflecting the real world, would be a boon to geezers everywhere.

Also, I'd like is a mind-focuser from Santa.

If you're anything like me, you wonder around the rooms in your home looking for something, but you can't remember what. Or you'll start a project only to interrupt yourself with another, and then another, finishing none of them.

What’s that all about?

It's as if we suddenly grasp our fading mortality and rush to accomplish all those things we've put off for the last 60 years or so.

A good mind-focuser would glue us to the enterprise at hand from beginning to end. Sure, it would be boring. Lots less exercise, too. But consider: We'd actually accomplish something, perhaps something important, like getting the garbage can from the back of the house to the curb.

I wonder, does Santa have the gift of order in his bag? You know, the ability to keep everything in its place. And even more important: the gift of remembering where that place is located.

Just think! It would be the end of daily routines ending with the phrase, "I know I put it here somewhere."

Thing is, we geezers tend to lose track of everything. And just between you and me, it's not entirely our fault. By the time we reach our age, we've got so much stuff in our heads we all suffer from what is technically known as brain bloat.

Think about it (if you can).

There are all those history dates that you learned in fourth grade. Whole paragraphs of Shakespeare memorized for high school English. Service serial numbers, phone numbers and addresses from every place you've ever lived, useless HTML commands, old computer passwords, even the birth dates and favorite colors of high school girl and boyfriends — everything you ever saw, heard, smelled or felt dating back to Day One.

Goodness! With all that stuff clogging the old noggin, it's amazing that we even remember our way home! (And a darned good excuse when we don't.)

So here goes.

Dear Santa,

I'll make it short this year. All I want for Christmas are 60-hour days that will grow longer with each month, some kind of clapper that will find my lost glasses when they're on my head, and a Project Magnet that won't let go until I finish.

And, oh yes, world peace.



P.S. I've been a good boy this year. At my age, I can't help that.