Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Can Michael Watt 'enjoy' the holidays?

BY MICHAEL WATT Ask Mr. Long Island

As the nation prepares to break bread with family and friends, the burning question of the day is, without a doubt: Is it possible for me – Michael Watt - to “enjoy” the holidays?

It all depends on what your definition of enjoy is, to borrow a phrase from former President Clinton (as opposed to the future President Clinton – Hillary, by name. Might as well get used to the thought, even though her election in 2008 will mean the last four presidents have been, in order, father, husband, son, wife. Weird.)

Anyway, “enjoying” the holidays really depends on what turns you on. Me? There’s nothing I enjoy, in public anyway, more than reading the Sunday newspapers with the Yankee game on the radio and an unlimited supply of seltzer water at the ready. I could be sitting in a downtown bus station and still be happy as long as I had my newspaper, baseball and seltzer. (God, I used to be a lot more fun to hang around with. What happened to me?)

Last time I looked, however, none of the major holidays are celebrated in such a fashion. Can you imagine if they were? Whole families sitting around the den, with piles of newspaper sections on the floor. Seltzer for all! The day would put Frank Costanza’s “Festivus” to shame. It would also kill the national economy, although it might save our crumbling newspaper empires.

Far be it for me to inspire a movement that destroys our economy, so I have resigned myself to the fact that there will never be a national day of newspaper reading. And the chances of getting 270 million Americans to sit down to listen to the Yankees on the radio are fairly remote, unless of course they somehow qualify to play in the Super Bowl. Which brings us back to the burning question of the day: Can Michael Watt enjoy the holidays?

Let’s look at the facts, shall we? I don’t like to cook. I hate to shop. I don’t drink and I try to watch what I eat, so the 24/7 cookie consumption carousel that could exist based on the sheer volume of holiday cookies I will see and be offered between now and January Second will not be a factor, either. Looking pretty bleak here, isn’t it?

All is not lost, however. I do like to go to parties – not that I get invited to a whole lot of them, at least not work-related ones (maybe that’s because I don’t drink or eat cookies). I do a Killer Karaoke version of “Twist and Shout” (just ask John Kominicki – he’s one of the few people who has seen it twice). I am not afraid to stand under Mistletoe, either, although at six-foot-four more often than not my head will obliterate the Mistletoe and nobody will know it’s there.

I can also make small talk with the best of them. Not to name drop but a few years ago I found myself at a Holiday function standing between Steve Forbes (President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes magazine) and Bob Buchmann (of WBAB and Q104.3 fame). I introduced them to each other (see last week’s column on good networking techniques) and then, from out of nowhere, I remembered that as a teenager Bob started his own pirate radio station from his parents’ basement, or something like that. I mentioned this to Steve and as it turns out Steve is a radio freak as well as the Chairman of Radio Free Europe and Radio America and Radio Forbes and all sorts of radio-related stuff. Well, I have to tell you those two hit it off and for all I know have been best friends ever since. Do I ever get invited to any of their soirees? Hell no. How’s that for gratitude?

Where was I? Oh yeah, so I had fun and I was a lot of fun at that party. Decorating is a big part of the holidays, and I am afraid I come up a little short in that department, too. A couple of years ago I acceded to my wife Sharon’s pleas to put up those hanging icicles on the front of our house. Nothing too elaborate, I agree, but I did so grudgingly. As I stood on the ladder, pushing in the pins to hold the icicles in place, however, the ladder gave out and I did my best Clark Griswold imitation, landing flat on my back in the dirt behind the hedges in front of my house. As I lay there, wondering if this was the moment when I realized I am paralyzed for life and - if so - just how guilty I could make my wife feel, I heard peals of laughter from my beloved.

Conclusion: I may not be able to decorate, but Lord knows I can amuse. My celebratory shortcomings notwithstanding – and all kidding aside - I can and do enjoy the holidays because they involve family and friends and as we know from the last scene in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” that’s all that really matters. I should point out, however, that Christmas is on a Sunday this year, so we may want to consider incorporating my idea for a national newspaper read into the activities, just to see if it catches on.

Thank you for reading this column. Happy Thanksgiving. [2005-11-23]


Anonymous said...

Dearest Mr. Long Island Blogger,
aka Michael Watt.
It is no surprise to I, Miss Melbourne Critic, aka Emma-Louise Tovey, that your wife Sharon laughed at your misfortune as your article leads me to believe you are more geekly than studly. Either way, i'm intrigued. I like geeks.
PS. My friend Joe says you will be very excited to receive my comment, as you've had none so far.

Mr. Long Island said...

Dear Ms. Emma-Louise Tovey:

Your friend Joe is most wise. I am excited to receive your comment. I am interested in knowing how you came across my column. I am also curios as to how you came to the conclusion that I am geekly as opposed to studly. I assure you I am not a geek.

Mr. Long Island said...

Your friend Joe is most wise. I am excited to receive your comment. I am interested in knowing how you came across my column. I am also curios as to how you came to the conclusion that I am geekly as opposed to studly. I assure you I am not a geek.