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December 30, 2012
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Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Everybody, quick - whip out your "Resolutions for 2012" list. How'd you do? Lose some weight? Make more money? Learn a language? Of course you did. And good for you. Really - good for you.

Me? Oh, thanks for asking. Well, I don't want to go into any real detail, but reviewing my list it seems as if the only resolution that I managed to stick with was the one where I swore I would NOT write a column about my resolutions for 2013.

So far, so good.

More than any other year, I'm really going to miss 2012. Or, more specifically, I'm really going to miss being able to make jokes about the forthcoming apocalypse, because if my Southern Baptist upbringing has taught me anything, it's that "apocalypse" and "punch line" are pretty much synonymous. (Begin little-known fact): "Apocalypse" comes from the Greek "poklyps," which means, literally, "to poke someone in the lips." In ancient Greece, poking someone in the lips was the equivalent of hitting them in the face with a pie. Yeah, it was THAT funny. The pie hadn't been invented yet, and hitting someone in the face with baklava just doesn't make the same satisfying squidgy sound. Sure, these folks were incredibly advanced when it came to politics, economics, philosophy and speaking Greek, but their humor ... well ... lip-poking it was. (End fact.) And now that the impending destruction has totally passed us by, when will I ever get a chance to make a Mayan joke?

However, I have to admit that I didn't get nearly as much mileage out of 2012 as I did Y2K. Remember Y2K? The 2012 of the previous decade? Yeah, I was there. And I'm not proud to admit this, but I kinda bought into it.

I was ready for the grid to hit the fan. I stocked up on beans and tuna and canned goods and more beans. Lots of beans. I was counting on the fact that there'd still be adequate ventilation in postapocalyptic America.

But more than anything, I stocked up on jokes. In the months leading up to January 1, 2000, I wrote almost a dozen columns about Y2K. My favorite was about an imagined business opportunity: "Y-2-Katering - For Your Post-Apocalyptic Party Needs." Just because the computers have shut down the planet and you're contemplating killing your neighbor over a can of tuna (oil-packed, no less) doesn't mean you can't still host an awesome catered party.

Yep - an entire column dedicated to that one pun. I was living high on the punch-line hog in those heady days of certain doom.

But that's all behind me now. To my knowledge, there are no widely accepted apocalyptic deadlines looming on the horizon. No cryptic, Nostradamean predictions have been interpreted for the upcoming years. No, instead, the human race likely will just end with a slow, tedious increase in disease, violence, overpopulation and starvation. And sure, that stuff's KINDA funny, but it just doesn't have quite the same wacky gag possibility as "apocalypse."

And the best I can do - THE BEST I CAN DO - after surviving two certified potential apocalypi ... is to eat a can of pears.

Yeah, you heard me: a can of pears. I'm gonna eat 'em. Woo-hoo.

See, I have some pears left over from my Y2K stash. No kidding. Columbia Gorge brand organic pear halves. (Just because the world is going to end is no reason to stop being a food snob.) About six years ago, I found a few cans of these pears that had fallen behind some stuff way back in my shed, and I thought, "Hey, wouldn't it be funny to wait six more years and eat these on 2012?" Like, these canned pear halves have spanned two different world-endings, so I'm gonna ... eat them! I've had them on my shelf in plain sight all this time, waiting for this moment. And now it's here! Isn't that awesome?

Yeah, I know, I know. Trust me: It seemed like SUCH a clever idea six years ago. Sorry. But I'm still gonna do it. I haven't come this far to not eat these apocalypse pears. I'm even gonna video tape it.

And that's how my year ends - with a big, rousing canned-pear-eating disappointment. I really had hoped to finish 2012 strong, but, well ... this is the best I got.

But there's always next year, right? Of course. Next year!

Next year - 2013! In 2013, I resolve to make newer, less obtuse punchlines. I resolve to eat different, funnier things. I resolve to not write a column about my 2014 resolutions. I resolve to ... oh, wait ...

Dammit!


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The Aspen Times Updated Dec 31, 2012 07:43AM Published Dec 30, 2012 09:12PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.