You remember the book A Christmas Carole, right? OK, ok, maybe not the book, because who reads classical literature anymore - but you at least recall Disney's animated telling with Scrooge McDuck, yes? Personally I prefer the Bill Murray version, Scrooged. Anyway, what ever version of the story you have in your mind (even Ghosts of Girlfriends Past will do) you remember that the main character is visited by three ghosts. ... four, I guess, if you count Marley. There's the Ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. The first shows the old you, the second shows the current you and the third shows the dismal portrait of what you are about to become should you continue down the road you're on. I'm quite certain I was visited by the third ghost last night. Almost exactly 8 months ago I gave Gina 2 tickets to an upcoming Taylor Swift concert in August as a Christmas present. It was actually a pretty cool way of doing it; (this is me tooting my own horn) I made a crossword puzzle and most of the answers had to do with Taylor Swift songs and info about the venue/date. Then the final across spelled out the answer. Anyway, at that time we were driving two 14 month old little girls to my Father-in-law's in Arizona for the holiday and life was good. ... it's still good - it was just slightly less complicated. I never thought that this concert would finally come and we'd be over halfway done cooking our 3rd baby girl, living with my mother-in-law and preparing to meet with our new tenants to sign docs over how many keys and gate clickers I was providing them with. But that's how life rolled out. Then, last week, I am informed that one of my sister-in-laws was also going to the very same show as Gina and I. ... along with 5 of her soon to be high school senior girlfriends. Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuuun. Naturally we weren't about to make them worry about driving and navigating down town LA on their own so we (after my bid to secure a limo crashed and burned) borrowed Gina's mom's Suburban and trucked them all down. I counted 957 "like's" during the conversation to LA and was screamed at in surround sound to jump out of the car on the drive home and rescue a wayward chihuahua on the side of the 101 at 11:30pm (I was then told I didn't try hard enough when the spooked thing took off at a surprising rate of speed, looping through the gridlocked traffic and popping out again in front of us, charging down the freeway as fast as it's pint sized legs would carry it - seriously though, their master plan was for me to wrap it in my suit jacket and take it home with us, as if charging through the LA freeway waste in my Alfani's wasn't enough). I desperately clutched my beer at dinner while they sipped on water "with a lemon, please", and breathed deeply as they giggled and posed for self shot photos in front of some guy from a TV show I've never heard of. I even scolded them when my sister-in-law called to tell me they were ready to meet us by "the statue of some guy sitting at a desk" (RIP Chick Hern. ... I will make sure my daughters know what a great man you truly were. ... not just "some guy". .... sheesh. ... the jello's jiggling). I survived the night, but it did not escape me that this was a glimpse in to my near future. Gaggles of giggling girls and their world which escapes my understanding. An excess of "likes", a fondness for diminutive dogs, a chorus of power ballads by the female artist of the day, a lack of sports knowledge, attempts to ignore the old man in the suit jacket (me, by the way) and no one hearing a word I say. Fortunately, although I can't (and don't want to) change my future outcome like Scrooge was able to do, I was giving a tool that should assist me on my journey.
Lot's and lots of beer.