My plans for welcoming the new millennium were set twenty-six years ago in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In fact, when the beer ran out and as the sun began to cast its glow across the snow on the first morning of 1974, my room mates and I took the opportunity to plan our entire lives. We then scarfed down some cold pizza and threw up.
Bob Muir was going to make millions after he graduated, passed his CPA exam and became a Partner with Price Waterhouse. Tim Mace wasn't particularly planning on graduating -- the way he had it figured a diploma wasn't a prerequisite for becoming a touring tennis pro. Ken Ver Duin ("VD" or syphilis" we called him) was going to marry his high school sweetheart, Patty, and dip into his trust fund to buy a house on a lake, a fast car and have a family. Paul "Poncho" Villavicencio was going to move back to his native Venezuela, marry a pretty girl, and return some day as a member of the foreign service. And me -- I was going to follow in the footsteps of my hero, Richard Nixon, and run for Congress. Then, once we had all made our mark on the world, we were going to reunite for one last New Year's Eve blowout. Tonight. December 31, 1999. The mother of all parties.
Sadly, as with so many things in life, our plans just didn't work out.
My relationship with Bob has been strained ever since the day I sent him the video "Deep Throat" for a wedding present. He says his wife doesn't appreciate my sense of humor. Personally, I think she's frigid. It doesn't matter though -- Bob is now a Partner with Price Waterhouse in Houston. He's got millions.
Ken married Patty, bought the house, several fancy cars and had a big family. When he isn't fishing he manages his trust.
Tim's life has been a mystery since 1976 when he got kicked off the tennis team for skipping practice to drive to Notre Dame to watch Adrian Dantley play basketball. The last I heard, he was stringing tennis racquets at a country club somewhere in the Miami suburbs.
Poncho ended up hitched to some beauty queen from Wisconsin and has a dream job with Oscar-Meyer. Basically, he sells hot dogs.
And me -- well, I just didn't know that girl was fourteen years old. No, wait, that was Chuck Berry. Seriously, before the Clinton Administration such lapses in personal judgement tended to dampen the careers of aspiring politicians. My problem was that I couldn't raise the two million dollars required to get elected. So now, I write a column that no one reads about a sport that gets no respect.
Actually, I am quite content with the course my life has taken. I've got a great wife. A great kid. A half dead dog. A house. A couple of cars. Four dart boards. Six sets of darts. There's beer in the refrigerator. Well, there was a few hours ago. Somebody broke into the house and stole it. Bastards.
Still, as I sit here at my laptop and as the final minutes of the 20th Century slide into history, I can't help but reflect. That's what you're supposed to do on New Year's Eve. That, get blotto and moon strangers. Make resolutions. And predictions.
My old buddies and I traveled different paths but I am happy with where mine has taken me. I'd be bored in Congress, though probably not as bored as Bob is with his frigid wife. I don't enjoy hooking innocent fish. Tennis makes me sweat. And while I have to admit that I do love hot dogs, I find that Oscar-Meyer has just a tad too many snouts, lips and hair follicles squeezed into their particular brand of intestines. So I wouldn't trade places with Poncho either.
As I contemplate the coming year, there are however, some people's shoes I wouldn't mind stepping into for a day or so.
I would absolutely slip on Phil Taylor's for a tournament or two just to pick up some cash, but not forever -- life as a Brit can be pretty boring on July 4th. I'd squeeze into Wade Wilcox's size fives for a moment so I could confirm the rumor that it's the kickin' beat of Randy Newman's "Short People" he grooves to on his headphones while he shoots. I'd give Ray Carver's footwear a go -- I mean, really, the guy dates Jess Nicholl. He's got something figured out. And at least for one night I'd buckle into good 'ole Bucky Backalec's sandals so I could experience the joy of actually seeing a quark and talking to God.
Next there are the resolutions and predictions.
I resolve to spend more time with my wife -- to achieve this I will reduce my nights out throwing darts from five to four. On second thought, I think I'll just take her to the bar with me.
I resolve to drink less Budweiser -- to accomplish this I will switch to Coors.
I resolve to chalk more often. Oh screw that.
I resolve to be sensitive and politically correct in all that I write and do. To accomplish this I will jettison the words "whore", "bullshit" and "scum, sucking bastard" from my vocabulary. Oh, screw that too.
Finally, just as my room mates and I did a quarter of a century ago, I must look into the crystal ball. Unfortunately, the big apple ball in Times Square is but moments from dropping. I therefore, just do not have the time required to fully consider what my life and my darts will be like in the year 2525. Besides, Zager and Evans already wrote a whole song about this. The scum, sucking bastards.
So what I will do is take one dart in my hand. I will step to the line just to the other side of the room in which I am writing. The possibilities for a bright, or not so bright, future range from 60 to a big fat zip. Are you with me? Here we go.
Okay. I'm at the line. I'm ready.
The ball is dropping ... we're seconds from the new millennium. A brand new slate. League's startin' up again in a few days. The future's gonna be mine, baby.
I set. I stroke. Release ...
From the Field,