1 Down, 11 To Go
Just when we thought we were just recovering from 2011, the month of January has already gone by in 2012. That leaves 11. Is that an unlucky number?
I thought there must have been a reason before 2011 why one of my favorite movies was Jerry Maguire about a sports agent who gets a conscience, decides to believe in people and then loses his girl, his job, and all his money.
I also like A Beautiful Mind and not just because of Jennifer Connelly or because they filmed it on my college campus--that’s where I walked to class! Right where Russell Crowe is! He only seemed to have lost his mind right in front of Whig-Clio Hall at Princeton. OK he was also Out of His Head, but he came back and won a Nobel Prize by the end of the movie.
Tom Cruise also stuck to his principles, got the right girl, became the Ambassador of Quan, and made all of those sports agent jerks all jealous of him all over again. Well, I bet he watches his back from now on.
Yes, I am still thinking back to last week and Some of the Nicest People I’ve Known.
Even though it is now a whole month in the past, I can still remember getting lots of New Year’s greetings that went more like this: I hope 2012 is better, or Good thing 2011 is in the past. And people were saying this even though they knew the world is supposed to end in 2012—it’s either Nostradamus or the Mayan calendar (I forget which one said that), though they sound equally ominous.
And there were some bad events in 2011, without a doubt. We had hellacious tornadoes rip through here that destroyed many lives and many are still recovering. And we did have a difficult economy, and other contributing factors. Still I have never heard a single year so disrespected.
So I wondered: was it that pervasive?
Because people were telling me “hope next year is better” who did not know how good or bad my own year was.
It made me take stock and wonder if it was showing on my face, some of these lowlights of 2011:
I had a couple of Argentine wine suppliers double-cross me, and my girlfriend of two years said it was probably my fault they lied to me.
I had a middle man in the wine business steal all the revenue they were supposed to collect for me from the distributors, and then rush to file for bankruptcy protection of the stolen money. That girlfriend also said the middle man’s treachery was probably caused by my own lack of vigilance. It was definitely bad for business in 2011 when all my wine was frozen because the money the middle man withdrew to pay the shippers and the warehousers—they kept for themselves instead!
Let me see, what else? Thank goodness I am an attorney myself because I had a knockdown drag-out fight with the President of UGA and the Attorney General of Georgia when they tried to revoke the tenure of a professor the president didn’t like. It turns out I was able to prove that the charges against the professor were known to be false before they were filed, that evidence had been falsified by UGA, and the Attorney General withheld documents that proved the professor’s innocence. But the girlfriend got very upset because I did not return her text immediately when I was in the middle of a court hearing fighting the Attorney General with his battery of lawyers all yelling at me at once, said it proved I did not care enough about her—after two years! Amazingly, I can say all this without fear of libel, because it is all true and verifiable.
I had one good friend I thought, who when I asked about something I thought I left at her house, accused me of accusing her of stealing, and threw all my stuff out. I hate it when that happens!
Then another friend I value accused me of stealing her GPS that doesn’t even work, but I think she has gotten over it, whatever it was, in 2012, which seems to hold more promise.
In 2011, I was even accused of ruining Thanksgiving dinner.
Some people I helped for years to get their careers started turned on me and said not nice things about me in the press and, insult to injury, on their Facebook Pages. I have a nasty letter from them right now that I would share with you, but as a libel lawyer I know you shouldn’t spread the false things people say and threaten to harm you with.
I had another business partner who refused to turn over financial information and no wonder because he was collecting on all the accounts for himself when he had no right to the money. I guess 2011 just made people act sort of funny, and you have probably already guessed what happened next.
Yes, the girl to whom caring and commitment was so important disappeared without another word except to say she thought I had “too much trouble.”
Some say I was lucky but, as Bunny always says, there is nothing a Leo finds deplorable like disloyalty, especially in times where real friends would stand by you, even when it doesn’t happen to us.
And on and on it went. By the time 2011 was halfway over, on a good day I got out of bed. On even better days I did not kill myself. It is true a loyal Leo could not believe such backstabbings and betrayals were possible.
I am thinking of another movie I like, Dangerous Liaisons, when Glenn Close, after all her selfish scheming to destroy other people’s lives, walks into her opera box in Paris only to be greeted first with silence, stares, and then a unanimous hiss from all of Parisian society assembled. Don’t you just hate it when that happens, too!
After all that hubbub, I felt like I knew it was serious when the Bible said God turned Beelzebub loose on good people just minding their own business and Jesus even drove demons into the swine.
But now that 2011 is finally over and 2012 is better, I would be interested to hear who has the best tale of what happened to them in 2011 (do your worst). And maybe it is not too soon to hear about the recovery. We will even publish the best stories. I know it’s embarrassing, but hey! I went first.
From this vantage-point in February, the federal government is seizing the assets of the fraudulent middle man on my behalf for free— as they agreed with me, and not the ex-girlfriend. I have new suppliers of better wine who are honest and new distributors who truly think the wines are beautiful and value what I bring to them in Florida, New York, Texas, and California.
And as for the Weekly, we have spread to over 600 locations from West End to Trussville, from Lee Branch to Clay-Chalkville, and we have interesting individuals writing for us—check out George Sarris in this issue (I think it must be the Greek issue, and if you read it you will see what I mean). Some, like Ann Rose write articles getting 5000 hits a day online. We think that the next media audits that have historically shown that we are the most widely read paper in Birmingham besides the daily will show that readership is only growing. And that is fine with us.
But let’s not get overconfident because the latest tornadoes remind us we will never leave all our troubles behind. As tempting as it may be to laugh in the face of the demons and devils, with everything going so much better in 2012, let’s do like Job and praise God for our blessings instead. Just in case I’m wrong.