Well ladies and gentlemen, the year is almost over. You know what that means don’t you?
It’s time to look back and assess what happened over the last 12 months. Gather up all of your accomplishments and failures. Collect all of your good decisions along with the bad ones which were prefaced by the statement “Hold my beer, watch this”. Contemplate what others did to you and what you did to others.
Now take it all, and throw it in a pile.
Get some lighter fluid and a match and let the volatile coupling of those two items provide a heat source for you to grill some varmits.
You’ve benefited from your good decisions over the last year and have created habits to continue receiving those benefits. You’ve either learned from your mistakes, or you’re destined to commit them again.
It’s time to move on.
Good Lord in Butter, why has no one ever done this before?
Okay, enough of the pseudo inspirational, thought provoking bullshit. There’s no use in feeding my solipsism if I’m not filling up my little corner of the web with stuff about anything else but me.
All things being equal, I’ve been pretty busy this year. Stay tuned gang, and I’ll bore you with the details.
2016 found me attending more concerts than since my days of working at the Casper Events Center where I was given the stink eye by the drummer of the Georgia Satellites and roughed up by a member of the late Jerry Reed’s goon squad.
That’s right people.
The Snowman had a goon squad.
It all started on what I had hoped would be a kick ass Ground Hog’s day when I was supposed to go see Tesla, Styx, & Def Leppard. I had seen this same lineup the previous August. This would have been my third time to see the first two bands and the ninth to see Def Leppard. Unfortunately, Joe Elliot was battling voice issues brought on by years of singing the songs that made Def Leppard famous. The shows for that particular leg of the tour were all rescheduled, save for the one here in San Antonio which was cancelled. I found out a little late. It was right after I got a really kick ass parking spot and was informed by security that I got a clue I wouldn’t be rocking that night.
Recently I ran across some concert footage of Def Leppard from late January where they did a cruise. Other vocalists and members of the band picked up the slack left by the hoarse one. That would have absolutely sucked for them to continue that leg of the tour with Joe in that condition.
Granted, I had seen Whitesnake once before around 1985 open up for Quiet Riot. This was before I knew who they really were. None the less, the show this last June was awesome.
Did I mention Def Leppard?
Of course I did. This last August when they showed up in Austin for the third year in a row with Tesla and REO Speedwagon, I dragged Wifey with me on that trip. Sadly, we missed Tesla because of traffic issues.
For those of you keeping track, I’ve seen Def Leppard nine times now with a tenth on the horizon in May, 2017.
There are three additional bands I saw this year in July, also in Austin. A fourth band was on the ticket for that particular trip, however something about the volatile combination of traffic and Austin kept me from seeing Black Stone Cherry on the Carnival of Madness tour in July. The other three acts, Whiskey Meyers, Halestorm, and Shinedown were the other ones.
All of the concerts this year were memorable in their own way, however seeing Halestorm and Shinedown in July was more unique than the others because it involved me in the general admission pit at the stage with no chairs. I was approximately 25 yards away from all of the action.
Quick side note.
In my formative years, my chosen sport was swimming. I did it for about seven or eight years. To this day, whenever I’m judging distances, my frame of reference is the length of the 25 yard and 25 meter pools in which I used to swim and cannonball.
The other notable tidbit about that concert was that it featured acts that I had never seen before. It’s been a really long time since I attended a concert where I hadn’t seen at least one of the bands before.
Hang in there. I’ll get you there.
You should know by now that this piece isn’t going to culminate into some profound statement about living your life to the fullest or anything like that. That’s what movies like Titanic are for.
You’ve been warned.
Did I mention that my 30th high school reunion took place in Casper, Wyoming this year?
Oh yeah, it was great. About a third of the Natrona County High School class of 1986 descended upon Casper in July and whooped it up like it was 1986 all over. They toured the school. They gathered at The Wonder Bar. They tapped a keg or two. They posted memories and pictures on Facebook. They made a PowerPoint presentation in memory of those lost to cancer, drug addiction, war, and a host of other reasons.
Yeah I didn’t go.
When we had our 10th, my daughter was in the hopper preparing for her birth in a few months. When we had our 20th, Wifey and I were house hunting and putting down a couple of offers. When 25 rolled around, I was busy at work with a project that was going live at the same time.
When 30 came up this last summer, I probably could have gone. I had the resources and the bandwidth to do it.
I just didn’t want to.
The magic of social networking allows me to know what’s going on with all of those people from my yesterdays without having to actually deal with them. I still have a lot of animosity about my formative years and some of the people I grew up with, and I’m not really interested in reliving any of it at this point.
That’s not to say I didn’t travel though.
A trip in Marc h or April (I don’t remember which one) found me at the western branch office of the TharpSter empire painting a shed for the Patriarch. I jumped on a plane on my birthday in June for a surprise inspection of the northern branch, where the curator of said branch put my ass to work cleaning out gutters, trimming trees, digging up grass, changing out a ceiling fan, and a host of other items which brought into question in my own mind who was actually in charge. At the same time, I found myself in the presence of Mile High Stadium, and Casa Bonita. Seems like there was a mountain or some rocks to see as well.
Gee TharpSter, that’s great. What else did you do this year?
I know that’s the exact opposite of what you’re thinking. At the same time, you’ve hung in there this long with this piece under the assumption that it will come to a point which needs to be made.
There is no point.
Most notably, there are two more things I did in the year 2016 that I’m willing to discuss.
First of all, there was jury duty.
Just when you thought this couldn’t get any more boring, I’m throwing in more tedium for you to digest.
When I was called for jury duty this last month, it was actually part of a callback. I received the original request earlier in the year and had it delayed by six months. There was some stuff going on at work at the time which could have interfered with my civic duty, so I asked for a delay.
I won’t go into too many details without saying this.
Man, that was a bust.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I found myself back in the pool (jury, not swimming), and managed to actually get myself called among a gaggle of 40 for a personal injury trial.
It was just after lunch.
After grilling the gang for a few hours, lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant were unable to come to an agreement about 12 suitable jurors to decide their case and sent us all packing. The solipsist in me can’t help but to believe that some of the comments I made during the process may have poisoned the pool. At the same time, there were enough hostile parties among us that no jury was going to be picked from it, regardless of whatever I said.
Moving on, let’s talk about the last notable accomplishment I chalked up this year.
On second thought, I’m going to keep that one to myself.
In the meantime, here’s to the coming new year.
May it be a successful one.