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Out, Out, Damned 2012!

I think we misunderstood the Mayans. (Like that’s hard?) They weren’t talking about the end of the world. They were telling us to hang in there: The end of 2012 was at hand. I’d drink to that, and tonight I probably will.

Boy. I’d like to wash this year right out of my hair–and I don’t have a whole lot of hair.

I had had high hopes of relaxing on the shores of Lake McConaughy with a kite string in my hand and one foot in the water on the day I turned 60, but no: Damfool Colorado had to catch fire. Jimi Henton fled to our house with all her dogs (and two of ours) when the smoke got too thick at her place, and while no one we knew well was injured or lost their homes, it was a near enough thing, especially having seen it on the news from 1100 miles away.

Deaths and serious illnesses continued to whittle away at my circle of friends. A lot of that simply happens as you climb into your sixties, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. It was unnerving to check the Facebook page of a woman I knew in college, only to find that she had died over a year ago. Other good friends had open-heart surgery, cancer surgery, and lesser but nonetheless confounding failures in the meat-suit machinery. Indeed, I had a few of my own.

Then of course there was the tribal hatefest we call elections, when people I thought I knew gave themselves over completely to a species of slobbering, eyes-rolled-back-in-the-head rage against The Other that was terrifying to behold. This is the way that genocide begins, and I was under a pall until it was over. Even then, it took weeks to shake off the depression. And even now, there are a few people who simply will not let it go. It’s a psychological truth that I originally found in Colin Wilson’s writings: Once we grant ourselves permission to hate, it feels good and is devilishly hard to give up.

I know it makes me sound like a crank, but maybe it’s a cause worth cranking on: We must stop this national orgy of partisan hatred.

I guess there were some upsides to 2012. I finished my first full-sized novel since 1999, and only the second I’ve done since high school. My nephew Brian proposed to his beautiful girlfriend of many years, Ali, and we have a big-bash wedding to look forward to next September. I gave my accumulated hoard of Lego to our nieces Katie and Julie, and they’re loving it. I continued to be startled by the richness to be found in loving Carol, as I have now for 43 years. (I’m fond of saying that I fell in love with her half an hour before I even met her.) QBit still jumps into my lap whenever he can. I’ve made new friends (particularly in my Thursday night writing group) and rekindled my love of Pascal programming, now that Lazarus is ready for prime time. We threw a couple of nerd parties that people are still talking about.

2012, bleahhh. I’m going to go downstairs and watch a movie with my forever girlfriend, and toast to Lady Julian with a glass of Roscato wine and a slice of Lou Malnati pizza. Hope heals. Stomach lining regrows. Scar tissue means that you weren’t hiding behind the couch the whole time.

Cut to the chase: All manner of thing will fersure be well. But man, the bottle of Advil is empty.


  1. Tom R. says:

    Jeff, I will be the first to second your opinion of 2012.

    On October 31st I lost my best friend, and my one and only love. To a delayed side effect of the radiation treatment she had in 1999 after cancer surgery. The cancer never came back, but the radiation had done its damage and after a summer of misery and pain she passed on Halloween.

    As I have read all that you have written about Carol I look into a mirror and see me and Linda. May you and Carol have many more wonderful years — no, decades at least — together to cherish each other.

    May 2013 be better for all humanity.

    1. Persevere. I can barely imagine what you’re going through. The only thing of consequence that I can say is an insight I had after my father died: Genuine love gravitates to the present tense.

      Good luck. The new year can’t help but be better.

  2. A fervent amen, hallelujah here. For us it has been, as the song goes, a little bit of everything. Can’t wait to see 2012 go away and stay away. 2013 will at least be different.


  3. Jeffrey Petersen says:

    Well said, Jeff’.

    Add my wishes for a more peaceful, healthy, and wonderful 2013 for all.

    Happy New Year!

  4. Tom D. says:

    Looking forward to the Programming in Pascal with Lazarus book.

    1. Erbo says:

      And perhaps you’ll consider a new version of the assembly language book targeting the ARM processor…now that you’ve got a sample of a highly-popular platform that supports it. 🙂

      1. Bob Fegert says:

        I program for ARM. What would be really nice for
        beginners would be a book that showed how to code using
        examples in both C and assembler.

        C is the most important skill for ARM but ASM is very handy at times for the fast interrupt code that must be written.

  5. Tony says:

    Yes, 2012 has been a hard year. It started early 2011 and got no better with deaths and the like.

    What I can say is I have my job, my health, the love a wonderful wife and 4 cats. So much is right with the world.

    Friends passing as we get older is true but for some reason the reaper decided to start on the edges of my life way early. I wish the reaper would take a holiday or something.

    While we were ill with the crud, we still had a pretty good holiday just staying close to the house and doing our own things and watching movies in the evening. That is how you know you have your soulmate because you like spending time with them.

    May you and Carol have many more years of togetherness.

    Peace, Joy and of course Love to everyone,

  6. Andrea says:

    Apologies, I’ve only just now read this diary entry.

    It’s entries such as this one that have had me reading your writing (thoughts?) since the fondly remembered “PC Techniques” and earlier. I consider you one of the truly creative thinkers of this age.

    Very many thanks Jeff.


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