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My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
Another year in the rearview mirror, welcome 2022. I wonder what you have in store for us? Your sibling, 2021 certainly brought a few life changing events my way. Of course world politics will continue to be your major focus but most people want to know on a smaller scale, closer to home. I have no major goals and never make new year resolutions so I’ll rely on you to challenge me to make me a better person. I predict our COVID-19 experience will continue to rattle our lives in one strain or another this year. Watching the news on TV, listening to the radio, and reading printed reports one might think there are no other viruses or illnesses that exist anymore. For as long as I can remember this is the season for influenza outbreaks followed up with experts telling us what we should be watching out for and what to do if we become infected. Where’s the informational push by the government encouraging us to get our annual flu vaccinations? I haven’t heard a word about any of the upper respiratory influenza bugs infecting people in America; have you? “Well COVID can cause upper respiratory flu like symptoms,” you say? Of course but again, what about the influenza strains we deal with every other year? Help me stay healthy. What else is out there, what area of the country is it most prominent, and what groups of people seem to be the most vulnerable to get sick. I’ve heard all I want to hear for now about all the COVID strains. Government, you’ve told me all I need to know, I get it, you want me to be scared enough to believe I’ll die if I don’t get vaccinated. (I have been) Get a booster you’re telling me now because it seems the miracle vaccination you pushed on used to be the cure all of all cure alls isn’t enough. Oh but wait, what’s that you say? People with the first shots, also the booster shot, and they also report they wear a mask everywhere they go, have gotten sick with one of the three strains they were vaccinated not to get?!! What’s that? No way, you say they also can be carriers/spreaders of the COVID viruses?! Dr. Fauci needs to go now and President Biden needs to hire a point man/team or woman/team that are the only professionals telling the American people anything COVID related. And they need to be able to report anything to us, the good and the bad and not what is politically correct for the current administration. Nothing should come from the mouth of any press secretaries. Just look back at the miscommunications of White House staff and members of the CDC. Completely opposite reporting to the American people. So of course any Americans carrying around even a pocket full of common sense do not trust the federal government.

Enough of my rant. I didn’t intend to get this wound up but…it happens. All I really intended to talk about was my exciting New Year’s Eve activities. I had a few but probably not like anything you did. The evening started out with Payton, his dog, and me ordering Monical’s pizza and breadsticks. We sat down at the kitchen table and feasted on the meal. Afterwards Payton went back down to his space in the basement for a full evening of Xbox gaming. He recently purchased the newest model of the  box gaming devices which I’m not sure I even know how to turn on. I still have a hand-me-down Xbox 360 in my bedroom. Me, I followed Payton down to the basement to start my second load of three loads of laundry. The dog and I brought the dryer finished load upstairs to fold/hang it and put it away. Brodie, the dog, follows me everywhere when Payton is gaming because he knows there will be little excitement in Payton’s room when Payton puts a headset on.

Let’s see, after the clothes were put away Brodie (he follows close) and I vacuumed the entire upstairs and tended to the chinchillas’ needs just before the vacuum was fired up. We finished the vacuum detail just in time for me to sit down and watch one of my favorite shows, Gold Rush. While I watched Gold Rush Brodie gnawed away on one of his store bought pig’s ears. One will keep him occupied for at least an hour if he’s not interrupted with something more exciting. Works for me because he leaves me alone while I watch TV. Gold Rush is over now so it’s time to head back down to the basement for laundry detail. Oh yeah, Brodie is right behind me never letting me out of his sight, chewed up pig’s ear left behind for now. I dump the second dryer finished load on the bed, Brodie jumps up and again lays right next to it watching my every move. As soon as I finished Brodie moved back to the unfinished pig’s ear. I surfed the channels looking for something to watch other than New Year’s Eve party events. No luck. I powered up my Xbox 360 to play some rounds of Black Ops while I waited for Dryer load number three to finish.

Brodie finished up the pig’s ear and left my room only to bring back one of his tug of war toys. Great! No more Black Ops for now. Brodie is seventy pounds now so I have to use two hands and arms to battle him in a tug of war. When he shakes his head back and forth he could easily dislocate my shoulder if I wasn’t ready for him. Just a couple of months ago I could one hand battle him and watch TV at the same time. Not now, no way. You should see both of my forearms. He has them chewed and punctured from the wrist to the elbow. “Why do you let him do that to you?!”, people ask me. I guess the answer is I let my german shepherds do it to me dog after dog so why not Brodie. It’s different now though because at my age I don’t heal as quickly as I did fifteen years ago. Oh well, I have no modeling jobs coming up in my schedule so it’ll be okay, right?

I wanted to watch the Times Square event in New York at 11:00 p.m. our time so I made Brodie pause his destruction of my arms so I could tune in. At 10:55 p.m. I brought the last dryer-ready load of laundry up to fold/hang it as Brodie and I watched the ball drop on FOX. I got to see the new mayor sworn in as the outgoing clown danced with his wife on the grandstand in Time Square. New Yorkers have plenty to celebrate with the new year starting now. Payton had come upstairs to my room to see some of this so as he left he took Brodie downstairs with him to put him to bed for the night. I washed the few dishes in the sink and afterwards I was off to bed to settle in and watch a good classic western that ended at two in the morning.

So there you have it. My very exciting New Year’s Eve party. Pizza with my son and dog, three loads of laundry, ball drop Times Square, vacuum, dishes, western movie, and in those seven hours I managed to consume two Coors Lights. It probably doesn’t sound like much of a celebration event to you but for me, right now at this time in my life, it was a perfect evening for me. Happy New Year to all of you and let’s pray for better things in 2022!

(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)

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