All In

Jan. 7, 2009
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So like I ballyhooed last week, for those of you’s who bothered to pay attention, this week would be my annual Look Back/Watch Out Ahead gala essay again, this one for 2008/2009. Remember?

Hard for me to believe it’s been a year already since the last time I trotted one of these babies around the track for a new year, and gosh darn hard to believe there’s been about 20 of these all told, I kid you not. But like the great philosopher Groucho Marx once said: “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” How true, even if the statement implies that what we call “time” is linear rather than, say, cubic. But nitpicking about time’s dimensions is just a bullshit way to pass the time, or pad an essay, so what the fock.

And speaking of time flying whiz-warp, not to mention padding an essay, I can’t believe it’s only been a year since I wrote this:

“…like the great philosopher Alfred E. Neuman, I too prefer to live in the past—the rents are always cheaper.“

Besides, I don’t exactly know what to think about all this ‘prediction’ malarkey. It’s that time of year now where all these so-called soothsayers come crawling out of the knobwork.

“Yeah, ‘soothsayer.’ Look it up in the dictionary sometime why don’t you. I’ll bet you a buck two-eighty it says this: ‘Soothsayer— Bullshit artist of ancient times.’"

“I believe it was the Greeks and Romans back in the olden days who started up the soothsaying racket. I seem to recall that it was Pliny ‘I’m Much Younger Than That Now’ the Elder, or maybe it was Anonymous, who established the fundamental guideline for the soothsaying racket, which is this: ‘The common knucklehead jackass will swallow anything, and the more you charge, the more he’ll swallow.’"

“The modern-day equivalent of the ancient soothsayer would be your psychics, astrologers, fortunetellers and assorted con artists, who always predict a rich future for you that will begin as soon as you give them all your dough.”

And so here we are, those of us not yet felled by time’s focking flying arrow, one year later, for the annual Kumbalek Look Back/Watch Out Ahead essay, condensed for you’s who prefer the worldwide Internet’s web of bells and whistles, shiny objects and the latest on buck-naked starlets rather than painstaking information belabored in a regular newspaper:

The Year 2008: Sucked, but good.
A Look Ahead—2009:
Will suck, even more.

If you’ve got the time to read on, allow me to hyperventilate. One good thing did happen in 2008—we got a new president. However, one good thing does not let an entire year off the sucking-hook.

One thing I do remember about 2008 is a conversation me and my buddy Little Jimmy Iodine had just a couple, three weeks ago after watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, one of our favorites ’cause we are huge Lionel Barrymore fans, always have been. I’m sure you know the movie, the one where George Bailey plays the character who wants to see the world but every time he tries to leave town, someone or something chews him a new asshole and he’s forced to stay.

Anyways, after a couple, three hot focking toddies, we decided the big focking deal isn’t what the world would be like if you’d never been born—it’s what the world is like if you haven’t been born yet. You’re always luckier if you can get born as far into the future as you can. Focking-A, those poor slobs who got born a thousand years ago as opposed to today sure got the shaft up the butt sideways, ain’a?

There’s just more to do today in your spare time, for starters. A thousand years ago, you wouldn’t even have spare time on any kind of regular basis ’cause you were too busy working, fixing something, starving, getting slaughtered or sleeping. And when maybe you did have a little spare time, once every couple years, all there was to do was paint reindeer on a wall inside some cave. Focking swell.

Eking out a life in the past was not much a wonderful life compared to the future. The future’s just always got to be better, ’cause if it isn’t, what’s the point? What the fock is the focking point? You tell me.

As for 2009, all I can predict is that Texas will squeak by The Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, and that the new president will tab Leon Panetta as head spook over by the CIA. The rest of the year is so far blurred on my radar, what the fock. Except I know that I’ll deeply miss my un-met friend Owen Dunne’s “You Damn Kid” comic that’s appeared on the same page as my block-busting essays since forever. Owen and The Kid are moving over into the cyber-world and I will gosh darn miss his company here.

Yeah, for me it’s the first loss of this new year, with more to come, I’m sure. Can’t be helped, can it? And for you’s, what you need to do is play your cards wisely. Hold ’em if need be and always ante up. Folding’s for focking losers ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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