Some Years You Just Can't Win



Some years, you just can't win. Last year -- 2004 -- was such a year.

In the Dec. 29 issue of The Rim Review, we nominated 12 candidates to name the year 2004 after, in keeping with the Chinese tradition of naming the year after monkeys, goats, pigs, dragons and the like. Readers were invited to vote for their favorites by bringing in a dozen homemade cookies, preferably featuring some form of chocolate, to exchange for an official ballot.

A big thank you to those who responded. Only problem was you didn't respond with cookies for ballots.

No, you responded with complaints. So, instead of voting yes for your favorite candidate, you voted no for the one that ticked you off most. Did I mention that you didn't bring cookies?

First, I got a call from a Chinese lady who felt I was taking the Chinese New Year tradition in vain. This from a woman whose homeland names years after pigs and rats.

I know it worked in "Charlotte's Web," but that was an exception.

Next I heard from an entire class at Frontier Elementary School. They wondered how I could call their giant snow caterpillar meaningless.

They're right, of course. The word I meant to use was "irrelevant."

But how I managed to tick off both the topless ladies at Pete's Place and the Baptist ladies across the street is beyond me.

How could I call them "slightly undressed," the topless ladies wondered? How could I call them "slightly undressed," the Baptist ladies wondered? And both wondered if I thought the use of the phrase "double-barreled" was cute or something.

All of which proves that one man's double-barreled trash is another man's double-barreled treasure.

Then the Citizens Against Noise and Other Industrial Travesties invited me to -- you guessed it -- shut up. And Jim Hill, owner of The Door Stop said something about sleeping dogs in a barely-audible whisper.

How, the Payson Humane Society then wondered, could I give Jim Hill the space to make disparaging remarks about man's best friend. And just after Jim told me how much he enjoyed flying below the radar. Jim's dogs slept through the whole thing.

The 600 goats eating browse in the forest were just about the only group that seemed pleased with their selection. But it's hard to take much satisfaction in 600 goats bleating, "Baaaaa."

And here's something else I wish I'd known. It's not particularly smart to insult pollens by talking about how ugly they look blown up in "National Geographic." I don't think all this sneezing the last few days is pure coincidence.

But grotesque pollens are nothing compared to enraged high school students rushing to protect the equally grotesque purple and yellow fences around the school's athletic fields. You get all those hormones going in the same direction and you have created a force to reckon with.

But there was good news: I didn't hear a sound from the Home Depot.

The folks at Wal-Mart, however, made it clear they aren't afraid of any retail establishment that doesn't sell lingerie. And I don't think that falling price that just missed me the last time I was in our beloved Superstore was an accident.

There's truth in the saying, "Dead men tell no tales." I didn't hear a word from Grant Kuenzli, the man gunned down walking his dogs in the woods. But then I didn't have to -- his life said it all.

I did, however, hear from a guy who doesn't think we should encourage and glorify fires by naming a year after them. As my mother always said, "If you play with fire, you'll get burned."

And while tarantulas are a good-natured bunch as a rule, people who run over them tend to have an attitude. I suggest we sic the Coconino County legal system on them.

Which brings us to nominee number 12 -- those nasty motorists stuck on the Beeline since Labor Day weekend. They failed to see the humor in their nomination just because they may never see their homes again.

Fortunately, they're kind of tied up and couldn't do anything about it if they wanted to. Besides, I really don't mind people taking exception to my nominations for the year 2004. That's what a free and open society like ours is all about.

But I do take issue with the fact that none of you brought cookies. Have you people lost all sense of decency?

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