Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, January 2, 2017, 8:20 a.m.
I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I believe in resolutions when the need arises. I judge my resolutions on an individual basis, without regard for race, creed, national origin, or whether or not the football team is owned by Jerry Jones.
I am trying to curb superstitions.
I’ve never been superstitious, which might come as a surprise to those who have seen me always put my right shoe on first, or eat all the split pieces before any of the drumsticks in a plate of wings, or sing the national anthem before a ballgame not because of patriotism, per se, but for good luck.
They’re habits. I have, however, known people I respect who swore by them. I cling to those habits just in case there’s something to them.
But that is ridiculous. Even though I persist in performing repeated acts of absurdity, at least I recognize it. I’ve got that going for me.
I try to reserve slots in my prayers for people I know. If I paid attention to Facebook, I’d never stop praying, and, frankly, it’s a job just keeping up with likes, loves, hahas, sads, shares, and, occasionally, even comments.
I really hope the kid in Idaho miraculously recovers from the dread disease. It gives me pause. I just don’t think Jesus consults his pollsters before He performs miracles. I’ll pray for people in general, even kids in general, or world peace, or even the softening of hard hearts. Prayer lists are much longer than Christmas lists. The world has enough stress without worrying over whether Uncle Earl’s nephew in San Pedro had to get his stomach pumped because I forgot to ask God to bless him last night after the ballgame ended.
This is hard. This requires discipline. If I have a rotten day and realize I didn’t recite The Lord’s Prayer, it’s going to be tough to pass it up the next evening. The Lord’s Prayer, in case you’ve forgotten, goes like this:
Ahfahthuhartinheavenhallowedbethuhname, thykingdomcomethywillbedone, onearthasitisinhebn, givusthisdayowdailybreadandforgivusowtrespasses, asweforgivosewhotrespassaginus, ledusnotinnatemptation, buhdeliverusfromevil, thinusduhkingdomthepowerandglory, foreverever, amen.
Actually, I hold the “amen” and then move into my personal entreaties of the Almighty. I always – always! – ask the Lord to forgive my sins, admitting that they have been many, and that’s not superstition, friends, that is the truth.
I am genuinely religious. It’s just that my religion doesn’t match many others, apparently. I call – once again! – on the gospel of the great Tom T. Hall, who wrote:
Me and Jesus got our own thing going / Me and Jesus got it all worked out / Me and Jesus got our own thing going / We don’t need anybody to tell us what it’s all about.
He also wrote:
I know there’s a lot of big preachers / Who know a lot more than I do / But it could be that the Good Lord likes a little picking, too.
I’m banking on Tom T.’s wisdom, but it’s never failed me so far.
This is going to be tough. Religion is just the tip of the iceberg. For instance, I’ve got to quit thinking that a coin flipped in my living room is going to affect a penalty flag on television of a game nearly three thousand miles away.
This flies in the face of the events of autumn 2004, when, early in my guitar-strumming career, I discovered that instrumentals ended New York Yankee threats and the great Harlan Howard tune “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down” ignited Boston Red Sox rallies. I could understand the instrumentals part because, truly, I could barely play at the time. “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down” was one of the few songs I could play without squinting at a sheet of paper containing the proper chords.
The Red Sox were a miracle of their very own in 2004. They would’ve won had I been playing “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog.” As proof, let it be known that “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down” hasn’t worked in all the years since. If it had, Furman University would have won a lot more football games.
I’m going to kick superstitions. Knock on wood.
If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)
I’ve written five novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.
Crazy of Natural Causes is on Amazon sale all December for $.99.
The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.
My new novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.
I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.
I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.
I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.
I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.
I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.
Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).