Small hopes

It is customary to wish everybody peace and happiness in the new year. Of course I wish those good things for you, good reader, but let’s face it, I can’t pretend to have much clout with the gods who control our fate.

Like you, I have been trained to believe that whenever my prayers go unanswered, that is somehow for my own good. My wishes apparently clashed with whatever master design is in place for our planet, which spins lonely in the solar system. I am willing to accept that, although it does seem to get God off the hook: He gets the credit for whatever good happens to me and everything else, well, it’s because I don’t understand the master plan.

Be that as it may, I see no point in wishing everyone peace and happiness, because it is evident that peace and happiness for all of you is not in God’s master plan. So get over it.

I’ve decided to scale down my hopes, and I suggest you do the same. It helps to guard against disappointment. Let me give you some examples of what I mean.

I hope those small station logos that annoyingly appear on my TV screen will go away this year. I don’t need a constant reminder that I am tuned to the Sci-Fi Channel. Whatever happened to station identifications that only happened once on the half-hour?

And while we’re doing away with clutter, perhaps the deity would see fit to convince CNN, ESPN and Fox News that I don’t need a constant news crawl running across the bottom of my TV screen. I admit to being easily distracted. If the president is holding a news conference to announce that we are going to invade Iraq, I don’t need the score of the Rangers-Canucks game simultaneously on my screen, or the news flash that Joan Rivers has thrown an ashtray at a car-rental clerk.

There are other small things that would make the quality of my life better if the Supreme Being so chooses this year. I’d like one of the president’s new economic whizzes to explain to him that tax cuts actually add to the budget deficit. And maybe while you’re at it, you can get Democrats to figure out that when countries such as Iraq and North Korea obtain weapons of mass destruction, it’s not enough to tell them to behave themselves.

I also would like it if you could figure out a way to make turkey meatballs to taste like the fried, fatty blobs of meat my grandmother used to make on Sunday mornings. I kind of like the way the Phillies are suddenly spending money and the Eagles are winning football games, so please don’t go meddling in that scene. If you need something to do, maybe you can figure a way to reduce my cable bill and convince my wife that a 52-inch plasma TV is a necessity of life.

I know you must have a lot of requests to change Allen Iverson’s personality or the clothes he wears; I’d settle for you making him hit a few more outside shots. I’d also like restaurants to go back to giving me a glass of water with my meal, or are you telling me the 32 feet of rain we’ve had in the last eight weeks still haven’t erased the drought?

There’s a couple other small favors maybe you could grant me in 2003. I’d like my urologist to get less pleasure out of the digital exam he gives me every year. Give my son a permanent parking spot in front of our house, and let my grandkids fall asleep whenever my daughter feels it’s time to go to bed. Give me just a little talent with a hammer and nails (that’s for my wife), and keep hypnotizing my friends so they actually like giving me rides everywhere.

I know this is a big request, but maybe you can ban movie sequels, or at least films starring Madonna. Make all the $100 meals I pay for worth the money. For one day, let me be young enough to play stickball again (I don’t have to win). Help me figure out just what is Victoria’s Secret when she doesn’t seem to hide anything. Get me Trent Lott’s address so I can send pizzas to his house at 2 a.m.

And finally, can you persuade all the waiters and waitresses out there who have yet to wait on me in the new year that I really do like to have my coffee with my meal?

I appreciate it.

Tom Cardella can be heard before and after the Eagles’ playoff games on 94-FM WYSP.