What didn’t get done


Because you the taxpayer footed the bill for my early retirement, you are entitled to an audit of my time spent in exile. The government teat, while sweet and milky, does eventually run dry.

Sadly, little was accomplished during my 10-month sabbatical. Yes, I wrote like a freak, and I caught up on movies in the theater and on the popular DVD format. I even wedged a washer and dryer into my laundry room-turned-storage unit-turned-laundry room again.

You will be appalled at how your hard-earned money was squandered during my time off.


For instance, yard work. You would think I could keep up with the basics. Even when gainfully employed, I dodged this bullet with unimpeded regularity. The yard, frankly, has gone to pot. Weeds distinguish and disgrace my yard from the neatly trimmed neighboring green oases, unfettered with unsightly leaves.

No, I hid out, avoiding any exertion involving the gas-powered trimmer or push mower. Raking in the fall stretched into raking in the winter, which dragged on into raking in late spring.

The back yard still has heaps of rotting leaves. You may call it compost.

Exercise was attempted, but quickly discarded. Despite Andie’s attempts to lure me out on neighborhood strolls, I was usually scrambling to finish some kind of writing project.

Personal growth was nonexistent. It could have transformed into personal retardation. I didn’t learn to play guitar, I didn’t join a cult or spiritual retreat, and I certainly didn’t backpack through Europe.

I don’t even have a current passport.

The home improvement projects awaiting just such a long time span continued to collect ample dust. I painted no rooms, wired no kitchen sound system or unpacked boxes from a move three years old.

Travel of any kind was skipped. Except to various movie theaters, as noted above.

A handful of the 300-plus days were devoted primarily to sleep.

I did manage to squeeze in one fling, if it can be called that. And it was nice.

No pets were adopted, no homes were built for deserving strangers, no CPR recertification was accomplished.

I watched more “American Idol” than I have in my entire life, quite by accident. I read a few books, no more or less than usual. I didn’t back up my computer as intended, or get the piano tuned. I did have the air conditioner fixed, but only because melting turned out to be a poor option.

Compare that to this week, in which went to a dozen meetings, had lunch with friends old and new, finished my screenplay for the film festival competition and managed to adjust (partially) to a daytime routine.

Not bad. I guess I’m reformed, if not redeemed. You never plan to go back on the public dole, just like you never plan to go back to jail. Meanwhile, I plan to repay my debt to society, one paycheck deduction at a time.


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