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Punch Drunk

Jack's Hour of Discontent


I was thirty. Before me stretched the portentous menacing road of a new decade. … Thirty — the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning briefcase of enthusiasm, thinning hair.Nick Carraway

A little more than a week ago we lost an hour to a practice dubiously known as daylight saving time. Look, I get it. An extra hour of sunlight during the early evening hours is good for everyone, but we also must remember that DST places us one hour closer to the state of null, of void, of vegetative, of impermanence, of mind known as Heaven (or Hell). For me, it shortens the already miniscule amount of time I have left before turning 30 — a fate that's never held much appeal for me and a destination that most assuredly is not the "new 20." Whoever uttered that nonsense obviously never attended college.

Sure, we get the hour back in November. But only sadists and cheerful holiday types — who are one and the same — actually would want an extra hour of that cold, dreary, emotionally barren tundra known as "the holidays." Plus, there will be no reversal of fortune for me, for I will have crossed the threshold into my fourth decade. The end of innocence, of carefree youth, of discretionary spending, of flirtations with girls in their 20s. Oh, the horror!

I already will have begun the descent toward old-man flabdom, out-of-control hair loss (and growth) and my own tragic mortality. Like walking down a darkened subway tunnel with no light at the end, the only thing I'll have to look forward to is the sound of wheels on metal — the impending collision with the next train as it reduces me to compost. So what could I have done with that extra hour that Ben Franklin so unceremoniously stole away?

12:00-12:02 - Deliver myself from despair and the shuddersome passage of time by reciting passages from a classic piece of literature. Oh, Fortuna, blind, heedless goddess, I am strapped to your wheel. Do not crush me beneath your spokes. Raise me on high, divinity. (John Kennedy Toole, "A Confederacy of Dunces.")

12:03-12:05 - Write a lengthy indictment of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and his opponent for the governorship, Terry McAuliffe. Refer to the Cooch as a tea-party talking head and a backward "tenther." Coin the term "transvaginal douche." Call McAuliffe a beltway insider, a wealthy man out of touch with the middle class. Extol the virtues of practically any other candidate with a pulse. Attack big government, and then attack small government for any and all perceived shortcomings. Deplore the future of Virginia, the future of the children! Breathe hellfire from beneath the imagined ruins of a once-great capital city! Put scathing creed on Facebook and annoy the hell out of everyone.

12:06-12:11 - Attempt to fornicate with a female or in all likelihood, myself. Because it feels good and I'm not getting any younger over here, you prudes.

12:11-12:13 - Piston out 20 push-ups. Because once the metabolism goes, vigilance is all that's left between me and the dreaded "Dad body."

12:14-12:29 - Take a walk outside. Find a urine- and hobo-free bench on which to contemplate the wonders of this grand universe. Let nature's beauty reflect the ever-burning candle of youth inside of us all. I believe it was Thoreau who once said, "How important is a constant intercourse with nature and the contemplation of natural phenomena to the preservation of moral and intellectual health!" 'Tis so true.

12:30-12:38 - Call family and friends and spend a minute telling them how much they mean to me. Then spend another minute explaining that no, I am not in fact drunk. I swear. Dammit, Mom, I'm not drunk! I just wanted to tell you that I love you. Fine, whatever, I'm hanging up.

12:39-12:45 - Stalk ex-girlfriends on Facebook. Snicker at their misfortunes or sob uncontrollably over their impending nuptials.

12:46-12:47 - Tweet something profound, something that will truly enrich my followers. For example: "Unlike the month of March and its gentle rebirth of a dew-covered spring, the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco begins pleasantly, yet comes out like a million rusty thumbtacks." See? Educational and poetic.

12:48- 1:00 - Enjoy a Camel alongside a few fingers of Hendrick's gin in honor of the day's productivity.

Daylight Saving Time may take an hour of my youth, but it won't take an hour of my life.

I'll let the gin and cigarettes take care of that.


Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback is co-host of 103.7-FM's "River Mornings with Melissa and Jack," weekdays from 6-9 a.m. bartender@styleweekly.com.

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