Welcome to 2013, the year of the … well … we’ll see, won’t we? 2012 was the year of the skunk—and if disaster strikes in the next ten months, I’d be pretty hard pressed to come up with a more odious creature. Usually the first two months of the year determine its outcome—and so far, nothing remarkable has happened, which is to be expected. Every ten years or so, a piano will land on your head; subsequent years are generally spent adjusting to a new normal. Every now and then, we’re allowed a truly good year—but not so often as to spoil us. Considering the odds, 2013 has the potential to be nothing worse than the year of the badger; however, if we lose that bet, I’m prepared to label it the year of the … ibex.
Right. Skunks have at least one redeeming quality—lending their scent to high-grade marijuana, which tends to confuse those who don’t know any better—but the ibex is a rude, unapologetic shit. It’s a loathsome creature, arguing with and spitting at any living thing that comes within twenty feet of it … and because my second wife exhibits the same deplorable behavior, I was able to conjure up something worse than a skunk far easier than I thought possible just moments ago.
Those pianos that I mentioned are usually set in motion by our significant other—and believing that the next woman will be any different just results in more accidents. My ex-wives are responsible for everything from inflation to acid rain; however, there is a fused connection somewhere in our brain that gives us the urge to marry and procreate, despite what logic and common sense tells us.
At any rate, January and February typically determine what kind of year it’s going to be—and while the weather ranges from fair to poor, it’s what evil lurks in the hearts of women that we need to concern ourselves with. A pattern was beginning to form, both of my marriages having ended during the first eight weeks of the year, along with the marriages of certain friends and acquaintances. Statistics tell us that these two grim months are often when women will have a kind of nervous breakdown, causing them to seek refuge at the bar. The alcohol finishes them off; they go all to pieces and run off with the first stranger they see. Both of my wives fell victim to what experts are now calling Female Mood Disorder, which is actually an aggressive fungus that rots the brain—and as near as anyone can tell, it occurs during the first two months of the year due to a lack of sunlight. As terrible as all of this sounds, I’m relieved to know that there is a logical explanation for the rotten things that my wives did. Before this new information came to light, I simply assumed that sooner or later, all women reach a point in their life when they begin crashing around like a pinball machine on the fritz.
And is it an accident that the entire editorial staff of this magazine is either divorced or working on it? Probably not. Writing is a hard dollar—and apparently the profession takes its toll on families. Cops and firemen have the same problem, although I don’t see the connection. Later today I have a meeting with the managing editor of Secret Laboratory, Terencio Safford, who has been almost as reluctant to do any work as me, for similar reasons. And considering the fact that we’re nearly three months into the new year and this is the first time that I’ve bothered to write a column, we have some serious questions to ask ourselves. Just what in the stinking hell are we doing here, with all of this wonderful technology at our disposal? Perhaps we should just scuttle the whole website like a leaky vessel … or give it away and tell whoever takes it to turn the lights off when they’re done.
But that’s what we’re going to resolve at our “meeting”—really just a couple of guys and a couple of girls getting shithoused at five or six different bars before heading back to the lab for a serious talk. And I’m sure that when we’re fucked-in-half drunk, we’ll send out some pink slips, rally whoever is left, and turn this goddamned thing around.
I’ve been avoiding politics—and therefore this column—ever since some nut shot a bunch of kids and the whole country lost its shit, hysterically crying for an absolute ban on firearms. And since I’ve already written that piece, I’m sure as hell not going to go back into it here. Suffice it to say, I’ve become disillusioned with a group of people who I otherwise tend to agree with—and Butterfingers Obama has gone so far around the bend that if I could go back, I’d almost vote for Mitt Romney. And while I know that I must get back to work—and in order to do that, I must once again immerse myself in national affairs—I’m not going to do it today. I’m going to ramble just a bit more and then call it a night.
Perhaps my mind is going, having taken its cue from my body. My annual physical last year raised some concerns, particularly when my lab results indicated that I might not even be human. Naturally, I put the matter out of my head until about two months ago. I made an appointment when whole areas of my body began to rebel, either shutting down entirely or dancing off in weird directions, clamoring for attention by way of bloody pyrotechnics.
Sparing you any further details, I think it’s fair to say that my doctor was shocked. One of my lab results was so off that the numbers were actually twice as high as what is considered “extremely dangerous.” He said that he was surprised I wasn’t dead; then he shrugged his shoulders, took out a pen and prescription pad, and said that he’d see what he could do.
Two months later, I’m on so many drugs that I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I gave up on sleep about a month ago—and while I have an extra eight hours every day to spread my charm and wit, I use none of that time to tackle even the most basic chores. Since OCD is one of my many afflictions, it’s rather curious to see the garbage piling up around me but not feel compelled to do anything about it. A Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde effect is at work here—and I reason that going full tilt in the opposite direction that I was must be a good thing, considering that I was practically a goner. Another example of this odd transformation is an alarming loss in weight, which can’t be attributed to exercise because while I was ordered in December to join a gym, I haven’t gotten past the brochures—and if anything, I’ve grown even more stagnant. But rather than fret, I’m going to ride this one out; after all, even though I grow visibly smaller each day and my clothes no longer fit, I’m still heavier than I should be. What’s confusing is that my doctor ordered me to thin down; but in the next breath he muttered something about unexplained weight loss.
Well … so what? I’m not going back there for fear of what he’ll do to me next—and I’m certainly not going to pay a three-dollar copay to hear some quack tell me that I have six months to live. I’ll worry about it when my hair starts to fall out in clumps and I fall asleep on my feet; but until then, I’m going to rest easy in the knowledge that I’ll look good in a bathing suit this summer.
Shucks. After looking over the last thousand words, I’m pretty glad that I have a good woman waiting for me. While it’s true that I’m writing a book in which I dance on the grave of marriage, and declare many females to be trifling harlots with no moral compass whatsoever, the same can be said for certain men. Fair is fair. Thanks to Kim, there is food and a clean apartment to look forward to when I get home. The important bills are paid—and while I have eight credit cards in default, there is still at least one that is technically valid.
And if I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that dwelling on what was or could have been is a fruitless exercise. No, it’s better to look to the future … and I’m reminded that someone named Jeff Ellis once said, “Take anything that you need … do anything that it takes!”
The young man who he was speaking to replied, “That’s the trouble, Chief—I did that!”
And so forth.
Welcome to the weekend. Here’s your wisdom:
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of five books.
Email Mr. Schmitz at email@example.com.