Choo, choo! Chugging into 2023

By Don Rush

Boy, the last week of 2022 was a humdinger! It was humbling and I felt like a snot-nosed tyke. Let me explain.

It may not look like it to the rest of the world, but generally I’m a pretty healthy guy. Despite years of abuse to my body, a pandemic and lots of other destructive behaviors, I haven’t had a cold in about four years. Barely any sniffles. Zero headaches. And basically for the last 1,460 or so days the only time I coughed was when I tried to eat, chew, swallow, breath and drink all at the same time. (You know what happens when stuff goes down the wrong pipe.)

So, it was with much chagrin that on the Tuesday of Christmas week I was awakened at 3 a.m. with a sore throat.

“What the heck,” my mind wondered. “What is this feeling of distress I am feeling?”

Two and a half boxes of tissue, one half roll of TP (which, just so you know, when all used, wadded up fills up about to the top, one paper grocery bag), one bottle of NyQuil, 12 1,000 milligram packets of Super Orange Emergen-C and six days of watching TV on my back with my eyes closed, I finally figured it out.

Your hero (that would be me) had a cold. No fever. No headache. No upset stomach, ear ache, aches nor pains did I feel. No loss of smell or taste did I experience. Just a stupid, plain old cold. How pedestrian can one human be!?

However, on the plus side, to my way of thinking I should be good to go for another three or so years.

* * *

New Years and resolutions. Yeah, I should probably start getting back to at least attempting to convince myself that “this year, I will do better!”

Let’s see.

Am I gonna’ join a gym? Nope, that sounds too sweaty.

Am I gonna’ eat better? The delusional side of my brain says, “Sure. Whole foods, fruits, vegetables, white meat and legumes.” The practical side of my brain says, “A pizza tonight sounds great!”

Am I gonna’ save more money? But the money is there to be spent and it’s burning a hole in my pocket!

Am I gonna’ drink more water? Actually, yes. Just bought a gallon of drinking water so I am well on my way.

Yes! I, Don Rush, hereby swear to be resolved to drink more water in 2023.

Wow, making a resolution actually feels kinda’ good. I feel like I’m part of the hip crowd again.

* * *

A few weeks ago I shared with you the unfortunate beard trimming incident of 2022 in which I lost my beard. If you’re like me, you’re not a “fan” of my face. You’ll be happy to know that the first week of 2023 is the first week of a new beard for this guy’s face!

* * *

Word of the year?

Yes, it’s that time of the year when I venture off into the bowels of our Oxford office, look to the sacred, ancient dictionary and find my Word of the Year. My Word of the Year is to set the tone for my life for the following 12 months. I started this tradition in 2016. For the past seven years, I use Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, published in Springfield, MA in 1965. Each January I solemnly walk over to the book, bow my head, close my eyes and flip through all those 2,662 pages of knowledge and words until I hear an inner voice say, “Stop.” Eyes still closed I let my right index finger move over the two open pages before me.

My Words of the Year have been a mixed lot. Here are a few of them: Valor, Naked Bulb, Honour, Machaeridia and Thyself.

Last week, I performed my ritual, closed my eyes, flipped through the pages, moved my finger and my Word of The Year for 2023, the word that shall guide me going forward into the world was found on Page 1,126. With much ceremony and fanfare I give you (dum, dum, dummmmm), Illimited.

Illimited is an adjective, meaning “free from limitation or restraint” and “unbounded.”

Oh boy.

I kinda’ like to have limits and restraints – unshackling me might not be in the Universe’s best interest. I guess we’ll see if I survive 2023.

* * *

For about a year there’s been an effort afoot in Oxford. It’s 42 Strong – the Tate Myre Foundation. It was born out of the Nov. 30, 2021 tragedy at Oxford High School, it provides a peer-mentoring group for Oxford students in high school and middle school. They’re doing a phenomenal job and trying to make the world a better place, one relationship at a time.

While this is not a part of their Tate Traits, I’d like to ask folks in 2023 to be a positive force for good for yourself, those about you and the world in general. Think about what you’re doing. Is what you are doing right now helping a situation or hurting it? Is what you are saying “right now” for the good or not? Is talking about somebody behind their back or making fun of them a bad or hurtful thing if that person doesn’t know you’re talking about them?
Is it a good thing or bad?
Does gossip and cattiness help anybody or does it just make the insecure feel better?

Let’s do the right thing in 2023.

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Illimited, my Word of 2023.

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