Featured Column
Week of 1.2.2006
New Year thoughts
          I had sworn to myself that this year I would be awake when the New Year arrived. It had been quite a few years since I had been conscious to welcome a New Year. The first mistake I made was to grab my new book, set myself down in the recliner and pulled the lever that flips out the leg support. I had three hours to stay awake. No problem, I thought. 
          A half hour later I was still confident as I continued turning pages. Every page or so I would glance at the clock on the mantle and noticed how slowly the hands moved.
          It was ten fifteen when I decided to lay the book down on my lap and rest my eyes for a few minutes. By now I was losing confidence in my ability to reach midnight with eyes open.
          A Diet Coke. Maybe the caffeine in a Diet Coke would help. I headed for the refrigerator, returned to the recliner and gulped it down. A few minutes later I felt myself perk up. Maybe another Diet Coke would help me reach the midnight hour. I got another and downed it. I was feeling better by the minute. I popped my third Diet Coke, drank it and returned to the recliner.
          By now I had a distinct buzz. I felt certain I could stay awake another hour or so. I reached for my book and pulled the lever for the foot support again.
          I tried picking up where I had left off, but I couldn’t concentrate on the written word. I was turning pages as though I had understood what I was reading – but I wasn’t.
          The book fell on my lap as I stared ahead, my mind going a mile a minute. The caffeine had not only perked me up, it had me wired. I was flying high.
          The thoughts were coming fast. Most of them were negative. They popped into my head and then flitted by.
          “Who really cares about Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey? Why would they possibly be on the covers of so many magazines?”
          “I’m starting to get embarrassed when I see President Bush give a speech.”
          “Is everyone in government crooked?”
          “Why would anyone want to be called ‘P-Diddy’ ?”
          “Does it make people feel good to say “Bling?”
          “What is it that keeps every state from enacting laws that make it illegal to have a cell phone in your ear while driving. Haven’t the politicians seen that blank stare on people when they drive and talk on their cell phone?” 
          “I don’t want to hear anyone say “We’re open 24-7,” or “This is a ‘win-win’ situation.” Same with those people who raise their thumb and pinkie to their cheek and ear, indicating, “Call me.”
          “I want the National Football League to pass a rule prohibiting those clowns from doing dumb things after they score a touchdown. Please stop those silly duck-walks and idiotic struts in the end zone. Seems like one of those 350 pound tackles would walk up to one of those wide receivers and give him a solid smack in the head.”
          “I don’t want to hear about ‘Brad and Angelina’ ever again.”
          “Don’t kids realize how silly they look when they wear their pants 6 inches too low on their butts. Or when they wear their caps backwards or with the bill on the side. What’s with that?”
          “Don’t rude and impatient drivers realize how dangerous they are when they race to save 12 seconds?”
          “How come guys like ‘Eminem’ and ‘50 cents’ are so popular when all they seem to do is spew violence and hatred.”
          “If you’re a clerk in a market could you please act like you mean it when you keep ringing up my purchase and without even looking at me, ask, “Did you find everything?”
          “Do men in those baggy pants with 12 pockets think they look stylish?”
          “Do smug people know they’re smug?”
          “Are all the videos on VH-1 sexy or is just me?”
          “Can’t somebody come up with a good excuse for us to get out of Iraq without America looking stupid to the whole world?”
          “When people interrupt someone mid-sentence do they know they’re being rude?”
          “How come so many people rush on to an elevator without letting people off first?”
          “Are more and more television programs getting cruder, vulgar and obscene, or is that just me again?”
           Whoa, I got hold of myself just long enough to take a quick glance at the clock. It was 20-minutes after midnight. I had been sitting there, staring into space for over an hour – I missed Dick Clark, I missed Anderson Cooper, I missed Times Square. 
          It was 3 a.m. before the caffeine had worn off and I could get to bed.
          I liked it better when I fell asleep at 10 o’clock on New Year’s eve and didn’t have all those thoughts. Does everyone have them – or is it just me?”
Things I wish would change
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger