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Last Saturday the Tugboat Captain and I took what will probably be our final walk in the surf for 2016. The water, which has been getting colder by the week, was barely bearable. It’s possible that we’ll go to the beach again at some point this winter, but I’m pretty sure we’ll keep our shoes on.
These surf walks have been great. In addition to posting photos of them here on Uni Watch, I’ve also shared pics on Facebook, and many of my friends have responded by saying something along the lines of, “Wow, you guys look so happy. Glad everything’s going so well for you!” Maybe some of you have thought the same thing.
The reality is a bit more complicated. Although the surf walks were part of my “Best Summer Ever” mantra, this summer — and, really, much of this year — has not been the best. Among other things: I had a serious medical scare that resulted in surgery; I have a separate ongoing medical issue that has made me feel like I’m at war with much of my own body, and has resisted everything my doctors have thrown at it; I’ve been having major sleep difficulties that have made me feel sluggish during the day and exhausted at night (and have no doubt contributed to the rising number of typos and coding errors on the site lately, ugh); my brother had a stroke; one of my cats had an ongoing medical issue of his own; several people close to me or to the cultural scene where I spend most of my social time passed away; two of my closest friends endured a personal crisis that is now threatening their marriage; the industry I work in has continued its steady death spiral, which is troubling on many levels and has also stymied some creative projects I had hoped to launch; I recently got word that my rent will be increasing by 10%, my health insurance premiums will be increasing by 20%, and my car will soon need repairs that are so expensive that it’ll actually make more sense to just buy a new car; just yesterday I received word that a member of the Uni Watch community had passed away (I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow); the presidential campaign and its aftermath seemed to bring out the worst in a tremendous number of people, which I continue to find incredibly depressing; and, worst of all, my wonderful girlfriend endured a series of work- and housing-related troubles that have made her year and even her future — and therefore our year and our future — very problematic.
I realize that much of this is just the regular up-and-down cycle of life. I also realize there are many people out there — probably including some of you who are reading this — who are going through much rougher times than anything I’ve experienced. I don’t mean to dismiss or be insensitive to anyone else’s troubles, and I certainly don’t mean to sound self-pitying. I’m just saying that a lot of this year has felt like it’s been more uphill than usual — not just for me, but for many of the people and things I love. The walks in the surf have been little oases of bliss within that turmoil, small junctures where the uphill climb leveled out for a few minutes, my troubles melted away, and I could just enjoy the earthy intersection of water, sand, and foot. I’ll miss doing that, at least until spring rolls around.
All of which is a lengthy way of saying that Thanksgiving couldn’t have come at a better time, because it helps put things in perspective. So: I’m thankful that my brother, my cat, and I all came through our respective medical scares relatively okay. I’m thankful that my 92-year-old mom had no medical scares this year at all, and seems like she might actually be the healthiest member of the family at the moment. I’m thankful that while my industry may be in turmoil, I still have a good job, at least for now. I’m thankful that I was able to launch two new creative projects this year — Gromm•It and Key Ring Chronicles. I’m thankful that my favorite team, the team I live and die with, made it to the playoffs. I’m thankful that curling season has started up again, and that my team is playing well. I’m thankful to have so many amazing friends, and that we’re always there for each other during difficult times. I’m thankful that my wonderful girlfriend and I still have each other.
And of course I’m thankful for all the people who continue to make Uni Watch possible, including Ticker assistants Mike Chamernik and Alex Hider; “Collector’s Corner” columnist Brinke Guthrie; membership card designer Scott M.X. Turner; T-Shirt Club designer Bryan Molloy; all our weekend contributors, including Terry Duroncelet Jr., Joe Ringham, Ethan Dimitroff, Rex Henry, Dennis Bolt, Kyle Acker, Leo Strawn Jr., Jim Vilk, George Chilvers, and many others; webmaster John Ekdahl; and, especially, deputy editor Phil Hecken, the most devoted bench coach I could ever hope to have.
Finally, my thanks to all of you for visiting the site, for contributing content, and for putting up with my occasional (okay, maybe not-so-occasional) rants, ups and downs, indulgences, and so on.
If you’re traveling today, be safe. If you’re working today, please accept my thanks for keeping the world spinning while the rest of us have the day off. Me, I’ll be driving out to Long Island to spend the day with my family. However you’re spending your day, I hope it turns out to be a good one. Peace. ”” Paul