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Gotta quit putting this off

Don Rogers

I’ve procrastinated – again! – with this column clear into New Year’s Eve. So I suppose my first resolution should be to quit procrastinating.Sure, there ought to be at least one Mission Impossible. And I’ve never smoked to have to try to stop that horrible habit, as much as Eagle County’s commissioners would like to help protect me from myself. Far easier is back in November taking a critic’s good advice to quit writing about the failed Vail conference center vote. Wise or foolish, the thing is history. Vail will survive either way.It should be nearly as easy to not let myself be baited by Kaye Ferry and a couple of others with … (well, don’t want to be rude). Fascinated as she is with me, alas, there aren’t 10 people in this valley who care a whit whether this Rogers fellow is rude, crude, a prude or a Druid. Bless Kaye for her concern. But what she thinks of me is even less interesting than her trip to India. Time for her to move on, too. But it’s her column.No, no resolutions to start writing from Mt. Olympus, to equivocate from one hand to the other and back again, to pretend we don’t deign to have an opinion, that we’re oh so concerned about whether you might get mad. Nope, sorry, just straight talk about how we see it. No mincing, no prancing, and oh God, no pontificating. Well, maybe a little pontificating. You see, sometimes you should get mad. One thing you should get mad about is how the Iraqis kill us at the ballot box. Remember, they’re Muslim Middle Easterners who are wholly undeserving of democracy, to listen to some of the sages. But I wonder who truly is undeserving. You know, use it or lose it. Voting just shouldn’t be such a burden in our daily lives that we don’t bother. None of us are that busy.I guess I should resolve not to be bitter about how folks seem to get more worked up over a preacher’s cranky wife being kicked off a flight to Vail than anything at all that actually matters. Humans have always gravitated to the weird, the wacky, and obsessed over the famous and the infamous. That should explain Michael Jackson, anyway.But illegal immigration is a real challenge that fascinates at least some people. A complicated one, too, which runs quickly from academic questions to the nativist impulse and way too often all the way to rank stereotyping and prejudice. Illegal vs. legal is not even the real issue. Hardly. Today’s illegals were as “legal” as any in other times. No, it’s the sheer tide rolling over America from the south. Poor, dark-skinned people with a different culture and language scare a significant chunk of the mainstream.It’s not so different from past tides, though. I’m partly a product of those awful, reviled Irish immigrants, many of whom would have been “illegal” by today’s standards. My people rioted in the streets, a battalion of us changed sides in war, and we were thought of as some sort of subspecies just short of fully human. Lucky us, we spoke English. But immigrant Italians, Germans, Greeks and on and on did not. And funny, they weren’t particularly “American” for a few generations – pretty much not until their kids began having kids. The “Mexicans” who have been here for generations are Americans now, too. And about as angry as anyone at today’s illegals. We all ought to resolve to keep our minds on reality and not fictional golden ages while hollering the same old platitudes back and forth. That will be the most difficult of all, I realize. The loud nativists, you may or may not have noticed, are shouting with fingers stuck firmly in their ears. Maybe some of them could resolve to at least put those hands in their pockets for a count of, oh, 10 or so. Might at least lower the decibel level. I resolve not to get carried away with my children’s accomplishments, or defeats, in athletics and other extracurriculars. Their experience – star or scrub – is what counts. I also resolve to be more patient with parents who truly are lost in this. Hey, I’ve been there, too. Hard not to get caught up in the little stinkers.Here’s a fun one. I resolve to get regular exercise as part of that larger quest for a balanced life. Lose that last five pounds back to my 20-something weight, even if it remains distributed a little differently now. More snowboarding, more hiking, camping. … This one will be tough, considering the addiction: Less basketball. It’s worse than a smoker trying to quit. And I don’t think the commissioners can help me with this one. Well, maybe we’ll put that last one off just awhile longer. Maybe until next year. Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14600, or editor@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado


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