2011 is a prime number, so this year I came up with an extra special resolution: Overcome my disdain for trends and my shyness around new groups by getting involved in something new. Something exciting. Something Santa Cruzy.
For research, I leafed through the giant pile of local newspapers I’m hoarding for the day when we all go paperless and bird owners will have to come to me, desperate, for something to line their cages. I’ll be rich I tell you, rich!
A few things considered but rejected: Becoming a lesbian (unacceptable reduction of the dating pool), panhandling (my doctor insists I have good back support if I sit for prolonged periods), vegetarianism (pigs are very smart; if we don’t keep their numbers in check they’ll take over), and coffee shop philosopher. (I’ve already worked it all out: “The grass is greener, but then you eat all the grass.”)
What about meth? It has grown very popular throughout the county despite not having a Facebook page, and I’m always a big fan of feeling different than I do now. On the surface, there’s not much to like. The body develops a tolerance for the effects, so tweakers ramp up their use on the way to full blown addiction, at which point they can look forward to extreme anxiety, convulsions, and irreversible brain damage. But here’s the thing: anything that makes you willing to risk getting to the point where you pick holes in your own face while your teeth rot out must be AWESOME, right? Damn the torpedoes. It reminds me of the old joke about the smiling guy falling past the thirtieth floor window saying “So far so good!”
The next trend I looked at was vampirism. Everybody’s crazy for the vampires these days; every third movie, novel and TV show seems to be about chicks falling for the tragic tortured soul of the bloodsucker. A UCSC alum produced the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, and slipped in many local references. Cult fave The Lost Boys was filmed here, geez, 24 years ago now, and visitors still try to find the shooting locations. Becoming a vampire means immortality, super powers, and the right to smugly chuckle while the mortals fret over their retirement plans. I’d certainly much rather be a vampire than a zombie— how frustrating would it be to crave brains but lack the tool-using skills required to get them out of those hard skulls? I like the idea of living long enough to figure out the rules of cricket, but it seems a shame to live here an not be able to enjoy the sunshine. And what if I accidentally chomped on a meth addict (assuming I could find a vein)? Would I become addicted? How would I feed after my teeth rotted out?
Moving further down the list, I considered running a marathon. People all over town seem to be doing it, despite the fact that the word marathon comes from a Greek legend about a soldier who dropped dead after running 26 nonstop miles to Athens with the news that they’d won a battle. I used to think it would be way beyond my abilities, but recently an aquaintance said she had run one. I was more than impressed, until it came out that, actually, it was a QUARTER marathon. I had presumed that at some point you have to drop the M word from your race description, but apparently not. I could commit to a tenth of a marathon, but let’s call it a more impressive sounding “deci-marathon.” Even at 2.6 miles I’ll have to train up a little, but when I tell folks at work I ran a marathon, they will have to agree that I deserve the last donut.
Also on the rise locally: stabbing. Now, I took some fencing lessons years ago, and I carved the turkey this year, but I still have misgivings. I once accidentally stuck a sharp kitchen knife a half inch into my hand and nearly fainted. Most practitioners are said to be members of regionally restrictive membership clubs, known for their festive red or blue uniforms. Count me out on the club thing. Inevitably, politics set in with any group, and before you know it there are disputes and hurt feelings and worse, meetings. Another down side is that stabbing is a useless, cowardly act that perpetuates a downward spiral of violence that wastes lives, ruins communities, and diminishes us as a culture and a species. So I’ll pass on that one, which may be too bad because everybody knows that once middle-aged white guys adopt a trend, it’s just about over.
In the end, I’m going to have to go with yoga. From what I hear, it’s as addictive as meth, promotes better physical health than a marathon, and hurts a little less than getting stabbed. I’m pretty inflexible, so they’ll have to start me off with things like “breadstick-sana” and “typing pose.” If it looks unlikely I’ll ever touch my toes in my natural lifetime, I can always reconsider the vampire thing to buy time.
Yoga Vampire. Now there’s a million dollar movie idea.