Remember a year or two ago when President Bush lectured us all on the importance of being optimists?

Well, this year I’m doing it. I’ve resolved to be a cockeyed optimist. I may even join the Optimist Club, unless it’s the one that has the Four-Way Test. I’m going to leap out of bed to greet each new day with enthusiasm, as Thoreau alleged that he did. I’m not holding back a bit.

Maybe that’ll satisfy some of you scolds who’ve complained about how gloomy and doomy and pissy and moany it’s become here in the back of the book. I’m Mr. Sunshine for the rest of the year, y’all. If I can’t say something good about a person or topic, I’ll just zip it. Tickalock. OK? Even something truly horrible, like Mike Huckabee’s prose style or Houston Nutt’s playcalling. I’ll just bite my tongue. If you need me, I’ll just be gamboling over here in my corner with one of those forced Rastus grins masking my pain. Like one of them concentration camp banjo players.

All right, I might not go that far.

But I will lighten up. I’ll try to learn to whistle, like the seven dwarves. I’ll try to see George Will as something other than an insufferable twit. I’ll try not to wonder who threw Kate O’Bierne off the yike train. Sometimes I might even give the appearance of giddy, like Geraldo did when he ate the lie about the miners being found alive. Underneath it all, I’ll be as bummed as ever, of course, the barbarians having breached and old America as we have known and loved it just impossibly, irrecoverably screwed, but hey, I’m putting on the happy face, till ’07 anyhow, my only umbrella this brave beamer fronting the Ol’ Moi pearly whites.

Meantime I’ve still got this seasonal prognostication burr up my wazzy and what I’m thinking is to slosh some of this serendipitous optimism onto my swami horoscopic predictions for the new year, sort of like barbecue sauce. I’m foreseeing ’06 through the rosiest of lenses, in other words. Good crap is going to happen. Hopeful crap. Here’s a sampling.

There’s going to be some kind of cosmic harmonic convergence involving, among others, Iran, China and Wal-Mart. Don’t have a clue what will come of it — will it bring on the Rapture or the Antichrist? — but the new optimism tells me it’ll be something good. Maybe those three wicked entities will together nab Osama and haul him chained before a Hague tribunal, allowing us to declare victory at long last and bring the boys home. That’s just one exciting possibility but illustrative of how this positive thinking can hump up one’s morale.

When C. Rice, H. Miers, his mother and others call an intervention to persuade President Bush that his presidency has just sucked donkeys from the word go, he’ll do a Nixon and slouch on back to Crawford and go to clearing brush on the ranch till there’s no frigging brush left. Then he’ll outfit with one of them $149 deluxe metal detectors and a donkey and go to prospecting for lost Spanish gold. Think of all the assmunches who’ll be out there salting.

Nobody will know why but drinking water out of the commode will no longer appeal to dogs. (If I can quit smoking like I did, dogs can do this.)

In place of steroids, ballplayers will be injecting Skittles. (Hell, I don’t know.)

Russia will concede that ever since Gorbachev it’s had a bunch of dillweeds running the country.

They’ll be tapping your phone and my phone and everybody’s phone and selling the records of our calls to anybody with $100 who wants them. (Oh, wait, they’re doing this already.)

A mysterious chip implanted somewhere in the national economic apparatus will give automatic refunds to anyone who is overcharged by anybody for anything. (OK, this is just Pangloss or Ned Flanders mooncalfing, but you can’t fault the optimism.)

Knowing full well they’re going to hell if they don’t change their ways, churches will renounce political meddling and self-righteousness, and sell off their pools and spas and gyms and such, and refocus on using their energy and money and good will to alleviate suffering. (Sure they will, sunbeam. Sure they will.)

The state Game and Fish Commission will rename the ivory-billed woodpecker the Mike and Janet Huckabee Woodpecker. Also, the cardinal will become the Mike and Janet Huckabee Redbird. The Carolina wren, the Mike and Janet Huckabee Wren. The Arkansas flycatcher, the Mike and Janet Huckabee Flycatcher. The prothonotary warbler, the Mike and Janet Huckabee Warbler. Ninety-three other similar bird-name changes, including rufous dog-penised swan, plus 12 mammals, 9 fish, and one brand of trail mix. (Very high likelihood.)

A high-dollar lobbying firm, perhaps the well-known Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe, will flat-out purchase the Arkansas legislature, replacing the human legislators with coin-operated puppets who will draft and enact legislation in response to visitors inserting quarters in the appropriate slots, and this mechanical assembly will turn out to be 250 per cent more efficient and progressive, with not a single crook, sleaze, perv or drunk among the membership.



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