New Year’s Eve always reminds me of an elderly man in town who everyone called Bug. He was bad to drink, but nobody ever called Bug a drunk. Our parents simply warned us not to light a match within two feet of old Bug.
Whenever you’d see him out and about, red-faced, he’d always be the happiest guy you ever met. His claim to fame was that he had already chosen his life’s last words so that when he was on his deathbed he wouldn’t say something stupid.
Almost everyone in beer joints between here and the county line tried to coax Bug to reveal these words. Some even offered to pay big bucks. But nobody could make Bug say it.
One New Year’s Day, after Bug had been out all night celebrating—and this is how I heard it—Bug started having chest pains. His wife drove him to the emergency room. They hooked him up to wires and tubes.
Bug was in the bed, moaning in pain, and when his final moment came, he motioned for
his wife to come close. He whispered his last words, which would become locally famous:
“They say you only live once, but believe me, it’s a great ‘once.’”
Thus satisfied with himself, Bug closed his eyes. They say he smiled. And a few moments later, doctors told Bug that he was only suffering from gas pains and he would be perfectly fine once he pooped.
Bug opened his eyes, cussed the doctor, and lived twenty more years.
I wish I had something clever to say like Bug. In fact, I’ve been thinking about what to write all night. But I just can’t find anything. Because I’ve never been good under pressure.
Do you remember when you were a kid and everyone would play highly pressurized backyard games like football, hide and seek, or Pin The Tail on the Redhead? Do you remember when the…