Scout’s Honor (although never was one): There I sit, in front of my computer with one of those nagging below-the-shoulder-blade itches that you can’t quite reach with either hand. I find my trusty ole Jappo backscratcher, the crude but effective wooden claw doohickey dermatologists warn is unsanitary. Matters not. I scratch until blood is drawn. But, oh, what relief!
[This is not a metaphoric or deep-rooted psychotic introduction; it’s just a plain old factual recitation meant to help settle into a writing mood. My dermatologist happens to be married to my gastroenterologist; he who has seen me through so often I’m an open colon. Such a combination is ripe for convoluted satire. Too bad it’s not April Fools Day.]
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Some while back I launched CR2S Bucket List. Thinking maybe it’s safe to be a little selfish and self-centered. Whadayaknow, it’s not as simple as it sounds. That’s because you eventually come to the sad conclusion there aren’t that many “things” left to do, places to go, people to see, dreams to dream. By coincidence this timely awareness comes from realizing tonight I’m going out to dinner with the same friend who started the whole shebang.
When I first sat down to compile the bucket brigade, travel seemed like a logical place to begin; by car, plane, train or ship. Only problem, going places never ranked very high with me. A belated trek to Japan and several Hawaii visits represented the Hiroto travelogue. The thought of an ocean cruise held some allure, but not much for a guy who doesn’t like water. Europe and its old-world appeal was always on the horizon. Seeing where literature was born held great interest. When reading about Crimea today, I think about the British and “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” not Putin’s Rooskies; the French Revolution, without Anne Hathaway. Instead of looking at a pyramid, tracing how elephants could lumber over mountains held more appeal. [Of course, an incapacitated spouse put a screeching halt to any and all proposed travel plans, tentative or otherwise.]
As far as the contiguous forty-eight are concerned, once going to New England was like a shining beacon. Maybe a sign of Left Coast bias, but other than Sinatra’s rendition of “New York, New York,” what’s so attractive about The Big Apple? Thanks to tour guide Norman Mineta, D.C. falls into the category of one and done. Of course, a year of gallivanting around the country as a precocious teen, which followed three years of camp incarceration, did much to quench any wanderlust. Starving in Chicago, living in a San Jose chicken coop followed by thirty months overseas played a role in downplaying the joy of travel before voting age.
When push comes to nudge, there’s not much enjoyment in doing anything when any journey is made solo. [Violins crescendo, tears optional.] Travel was meant to be plural. I mean geez, I hate to go to funeral services these days by myself. So there goes the major portion of any Bucket List. Without a partner, travel is out, local or express.
So what’s left? Entertainment venues. In my heyday, individual stars were showcased, always with a second-banana opener. Grammy luminaries with their accompanying stompers and hollerers, I don’t dig. Yup, a constant CR2S lament, ad nauseam, I’m a lyrics guy. When someone is singing, I want to hear the words, listen to the message, feel the emotion. So no, I’ve never been serenaded at Staples or fleeced at the Forum. Chances are, never will.
Limitations trump desire: Distance becomes all-important in everything proposed. Like how far from parking to destination, is it an uphill walk, stairs, distractions.
So the excitement of posting an unrestricted Bucket List isn’t the greatest thing since miso-shiru. Do I want a new car? Nope, not even a Mercedes. Fashionable clothes? A brief pause, maybe, but the question becomes to wear where? Get married? Naw, not even Julia Roberts. “Things” have been reduced to such simple basics as someday (soon) getting my ears checked out for a hearing aid, a new pair of glasses maybe, and something as simple as putting pictures on all-too-bare apartment walls.
Now ain’t that a kick in the arse. Other than monthly dinner and wine dates with my stag guys, the celebrated CR2S Bucket List has become a thimble (which I’ll bet you couldn’t find on a scavenger hunt if your life depended on one).
It’s that old worn but true lament: When one has the time, opportunity, desire and wherewithal to fulfill delayed pleasures, it’s too late. Age and attendant physical restrictions tend to become harsh reminders of what you can and can’t do.
CR2S has reached that comfortable stage in life where it’s pretty certain there’s nothing of any real import left to do before, you know, “sayonara, you all.” Pretty good, Fool,” as Mr. T. would say. Accepting the fact there is more behind than in front is sensible and realistic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t peek around the corner . . . with anticipation . . .
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.