“What’s today?” a sunburned and liver-charred Billy asks his best pal Frank as they sun themselves, drunk, by the pool in the 1995 comedy “Billy Madison.”
“October?” Frank asked, sipping a margarita.
Billy (née Adam Sandler) and Frank (née the late, great Norm Macdonald) who spun that yarn have knitted it into an everyday sweater for me. It has shot to the top of my most-quoted movie lines ever. I’ve always peppered it into past vernacular, but since the pandemic started, I’ve overused it, abused it and bruised it. I slapped that bitch silly and tried to make it my née. (Neigh.)
“What’s today?” Asks the elderly woman behind the counter in a small town. (Look who grew up in Pearl Jam’s ‘90s.)
“October,” I mutter under my breath.
“What’s today?” I ask the bank teller, then immediately answer my own question, “October.”
“What’s today?” My child asks. “Momma please don’t say ‘October’.”
Who ever even knew what day it was during the height of the pandemic? Especially in the beginning.
Now, like 700 Octobers since March 2020, face masks replaced fuzzy dice, dangling from rearview mirrors. At the drop of a hat, the world is ready to scatter back into our abodes like the vermin gang in my alley after a feral cat limps through.
We’ve accepted this as life. I speak for all of us. (You’ll have the veggie ratatouille with a glass of red.)
Over these never-ending Octobers, I’ve come to appreciate weird things in life. Like the snooze button. Ignoring calls. “Hide stories like this” algorithms. Mute.
One thing I’ve muted quite regularly is this column.
*the crowd throws shade*
To be honest, though, I’ve been stuck between two options: Tack extra hours on to my already-overworked week to pen a column OR finish up the week and throw my laptop into traffic.
I’ve clearly been choosing the latter.
Writing this column is my favorite thing — aside from my child, my bed, my wine and my weed — but time gets chewed up, swallowed, then regurgitated whole into another black hole.
But I feel rejuvenation is on tap. On April 9, I was honored by the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists with a first place award for my column. (!!!)
I was so happy I forgot to Frisbee the laptop across the boulevard. (A boulevard that’s hot with action until 11 p.m. when the drag race begins. A boulevard that I’d once stare at during early pandemic months, for hours on end, watching slow-mo tumbleweeds get stoned and play Gin Rummy in lanes of traffic, uninterrupted.)
I’ve written so many columns over the past six months that I wanted to publish, then (fill in the blank) would happen to Boulder. It would XYZ. Then ABC. Sometimes it would get LMNOP’d. Boulder’s spirits have been bruised from recent tragedies and disasters. I felt that whatever column I had penned at the time was too inappropriate to print in a time of distress.
But maybe Boulder needs me to keep my laptop out of traffic. Maybe Boulder needs to know about that one time when I threw up a full mushroom that was pre-sliced when I ingested it. It came out whole. How does that happen?
I feel like this is the kind of shit that needs to be printed on over-inflated newsprint.
Why? The SPJ judges told me. They said, Fantz, we need your humor. We need to hear about that one time in college when you threw up spaghetti on railroad tracks after chugging too much Natty Light and it came up into a perfect portion with the meatballs intact. Hefty, juicy, round balls.
(What they actually said was that I was the winner “by a large margin.”)
“(Fantz) did what a good personal humor columnist is supposed to do, make one laugh. First place was smart, deliciously irreverent, and gave the reader a glimpse into the writer’s character. Well done.”
So I’m going to go crush a green chile-drenched burrito. I’ll apprise you if it comes up, how it comes up and if it made it to the boulevard.
Thanks for reading, pals. Miss you. xoxo.