“The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older; shorter of breath and one day closer to death.” Pink Floyd

A very wise teacher back in high school once advised me to never wish away time.

I found it to be very profound advice, indeed, and I fully intended to plan my entire life around it. And then I noticed that very same teacher sneaking glances at his watch every five minutes and rolling his eyes with despair every time he did so — poor fellow just couldn’t WAIT for that wretched hour of English to be over so he could dash off to the teacher’s lounge and chain smoke five Parliaments before quitting time.

It was very disappointing, and I’m pretty sure the hypocrisy of that teacher is the main reason I never amounted to anything in life.

Well, that and the fact that I skipped the SAT to go out drinking, but mostly it was that hypocrisy thing.

I think of ol’ Mr. Parliament’s advice all the time, though, and still try to abide by the wisdom of it — life goes by so blindingly fast after the giddy days of youth, it’s foolhardy to wish even a single second of it away, am I right?

I am right, fool, it was rhetorical. And yet who among us has the patience to embrace every minute of every hour just because we understand that once those seconds are gone, they’re gone forever?

We wish away the hours we have to be at work. We wish the week would streak by like a rocket so the weekend could get here quicker. Forced at gunpoint to attend the wedding of our third cousin’s great niece-in-law, we pray to the forces of the universe to make the clock hands fly like pinwheels.

I’m as guilty as anyone of this sin against life itself. When summer starts winding down to fall and darkness comes at 4 p.m., I’ll start wishing away giant chunks of time as if my personal supply of it will never run out.

November? I’ll pray for that rancid tomb of a month to be gone entirely, because the entire span is just no good from start to finish. What’s November got aside from promises of turkey and gravy and whipped potatoes that can be eaten any time of the year with no legal repercussions?

If time were a computer program, I’d delete November from the software and then delete the deleted folder. Probably even clear my cache and cookies just to make sure there was no chance at all of it re-emerging like the bitter cold virus that it is.

Then December comes and sure, that’s a little better, but I’ll get to work right away bargaining with the universe to make it move along a little quicker. Can’t it just be the solstice already so that the days aren’t getting any shorter anymore?

And once the solstice has arrived, I’ll get around to wishing that it was January, already, because by mid-December, the holiday season is feeling kind of tedious and if I hear Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime” one more time on the radio, I’m gonna go smoke a whole crate of Parliaments until I’m dead.

January comes and with it a brutalizing cycle of cold and snow. I know I should learn to love it because even cold hours are beautiful once life starts whizzing by. But I don’t love it, I frantically wish it away like that horrified dude in “The Monkey’s Paw” when the knock comes on the door.

I wish January to be gone and when February comes, I wish that away, as well. March is a little better — we’re heading in the right direction, anyway — but if I had my way, we’d dispense with that “in like a lion” nonsense, and skip forthwith to the “out like a lamb” portion of the month.

April is better still, but after the ninth straight day of icy cold rain, I’ve got that monkey’s paw in my hand again and I’m screaming at the sky to let it be May, already. May! With its flowers and greening trees and temperatures that start climbing into the 70s and 80s where we belong. May, when you can step outside without a coat and hat and you won’t even die or nuthin.

And once May finally DOES arrive, then and only then will I finally accept that old school teacher’s advice into my heart for real. What’s more, when we experience one of those perfect spring days where the sun is warm, the birds are singing and the flowers are flowering, I’ll go Mr. Parliament one better by wishing for time to stop passing at all. Let it be early May forever, I say. That way we’ll always have the joy of spring before us and the promise of summer ahead. Everybody wins, except for you weirdos who love winter and people who sell snow tires for a living.

Further down the road, right around the Fourth of July, I’ll become more extreme still in my demands of time by wishing for it to run in reverse — Please, I’ll scream at you people trying to enjoy your sparklers and hot dogs, let it be June again! The Fourth of July is too deep into the season and I fear that if we celebrate it, summer will move along too quickly and then this whole cycle of bartering with time will just begin all over again.

It’s exhausting, this utter defiance of the present time, and self-defeating. With monkey’s paw as my witness, I’m going to change my attitude with one simple adjustment. It’s cold and dark outside and I wish it was June, sure enough.

June of 1985.


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