Happy 2013, East Central Illinois. And before we go any further — let's agree on a New Year's resolution to pronounce that "twenty thirteen," not "two thousand thirteen," because in the real world, Poindexter, it doesn't matter if you are grammatically correct, just whether or not you have cool hair, and if you don't, then you should at least strive to say the year like somebody with cool hair would. (Update: I do not have cool hair, so why are you listening to me?)
Twenty thirteen will be unlucky for some — bar owners, novelty poster makers — as it is the year I leave my 20s behind and venture into that murky graveyard of responsibility and dinner parties known as the 30s. My joints ache with anticipation. As do my inevitable slipper boots.
My wife asked me the other day if I was doing OK. I didn't even have to think about my response; the answer was waiting.
"No, I am not OK. I am 29 years old, and I suffer from butt-based sciatica!"
(The butt-based sciatica was a recent diagnosis by Dr. Google, in an attempt to explain away a persistent sore muscle in my right buttock that throbs even now as I type this. The Doc also regrettably informed me that women — specifically pregnant women — are 12 to 15 times more likely to suffer from this condition than men. Which might explain why I'm so stoked for the season premiere of "The Bachelor" this week.)
Oh, to be young again, to be 28 and suffer from butt-based sciatica! It's a whole different world.
Whereas before all I had to worry about in life was how to finance a 30-pack of Icehouse, now I have to consider high cholesterol, my credit score and how to retire on a humor columnist's salary. (Given my current payout, I'm going to need a second job just to maintain a comfortable level of destitution. And that includes my revenue as a Craigslist gigolo. For serious business inquiries, contact TheDwightStuff@craigslistgigolo.com .)
With 30 rearing its ugly, well-groomed and slightly puffier head this year, I am forced to examine my existence under an even larger magnifying glass than usual during these early days of January. The results have been, well, magnifying.
The first and most obvious thing that occurred to me is that I ought to have accomplished more by now, a charge I imagine everyone who is not Mark Zuckerberg contemplates from time to time. But as part of my resolutions, I am vowing to be more positive, so to that end, who knows? There are six months left: I may yet discover a cure for Cancer, AIDS or invent the sequel to jazz music.
But realistically, in six months I will probably have done little more than add to my lifetime viewing total of "Road House" and permanently stain the shirt I'm wearing while trying to eat a salad in bed.
Some of you out there might be thinking to yourself "Thirty? Pshaw! Try 100!" And to you I can only say: "How and why are you still alive?"
(No, seriously — what is your secret?)
As of December 2012, I have been writing "The Reluctant Townie" for eight years. Normally, I would have celebrated this milestone by taking you, dear reader, out on a romantic date that traditionally culminates in retail theft, dismemberment and/or jail time. But after eight years, I figure, what's the bother?
We both know why we're here. It's because we've got nowhere else to go.
But that shouldn't cause you panic. Instead, let it provide you with the comfort of lowered expectations. Going along with my New Year's resolution of looking at things positively, I will assume that you are reading this column because you enjoy it and not because you're frozen — eyes open — in a horrific coma and the Living section of the newspaper just blew across the park and slapped you in the face and got stuck there.
However, if you are in the midst of scenario B, I apologize for taking up so much of your afternoon and may I also be so bold as to suggest you find another caretaker, as yours should have discovered and removed the Living section from your face by the time you were able to reach this paragraph. (Looking for cut-rate companionship? For serious business inquiries, contact TheDwightStuff@craigslistgigolo.com .)
If you happen to be reading this online, it's safe to assume that you know The News-Gazette has begun publishing my column in cyberspace — which is the mid-'90s version of the Internet the paper can access through its America Online 90-day Free Trial CD-ROM. (Ha ha, News-Gazette, j/k.)
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this development. Having my column posted on the Internet feels a little too official for its own good — almost like I'm leaving a paper trail that future adversaries can use to torpedo my chances at a political career.
Anyway, if you're reading this on your computer or touch-screen telephone, please make sure to give me all of your Facebook likes. They are the metrics by which I decide how many cookies to eat before bed.
If you're reading this in the future, because you were directed here by my political adversaries, forget everything they said; you can be sure it was a lie.
And lastly, if you're reading this in the past, please go find my younger self and warn him about the oncoming butt-based sciatica. Knowledge is power.
Ryan Jackson has nothing particularly witty to add here, and he can be reached at email@example.com.