Author’s note: I recommend that this blog be read while listening to The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” and David Bowie’s “Changes”.
Asked to write on the themes of “time” and “change”, I, of course, immediately thought about our new President, Barack Obama, and his amazing journey to the White House. “The Change We Need” was the popular slogan of his campaign, and after eight years of the Dubya and Dick Show, I was quite ready to jump on the Obama bandwagon. Whether Obama is actually capable of achieving this is a whole other can of worms, but come on, let’s give the fella a chance to settle in first before we start demanding the moon and the stars. But I have faith in him. What alternative did we have? The McCain/Palin combo?
I confess that I don’t understand Republicans. Frankly, I don’t think I want to understand them because they kind of scare me – especially after Caribou Barbie (my favorite nickname for her) began holding those hate rallies across our fair nation. I found most of those folks who attended them to be rather frightening – but at least it provided Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig with some ripe comic fodder for her hysterical performance as the Crazy McCain Rally Lady. These Republicans weren’t the same old white ones standing behind John McCain in his pre-Palin days. No, these people were scary monsters, who I’m sure made surprise appearances in many Democrats’ worst nightmares leading up to Election Day. They represented everything that was – and still is – wrong in America. And they probably helped confirm in many minds that it was definitely time for a change in the White House.
But “time for a change” doesn’t just bring back memories of the recent political season for me. I’m ecstatic about Obama, Joe, Hillary and the whole gang running this country for the next four years (and hopefully beyond), and I’m thrilled that we have a First Lady who isn’t afraid to wear bright colors and make a fashion statement. However, a new year always makes me think about personal goals for the future – well, at least for the next 12 months. So, with this in mind, 2009 will be a “time of change” for me as well.
I lost seven pounds in January. I think that’s a pretty good start in my mission to lose weight and get in better physical shape this year. No more fried foods (goodbye, french fries) or soda pop (so long, Sprite, it was nice knowing you) – and hello to exercise and a more well-balanced diet (I’ve discovered that I actually enjoy eating pineapple by itself). I’ve still got a long way to go before I achieve total fitness, but I feel I’ve taken a small step in the right direction. Wish me luck.
Besides changing my body into one of manly perfection, I’ve also made a few new friends in the first month of our new year. I do have to thank that miracle of modern technology, Facebook, for this. I began noticing after I turned 30 that it was becoming increasingly difficult to meet people and make new friends – not that I was tired of my old pals, but you know what I mean. And after I entered my 40s, forget about it. I was now a middle-aged gay man who was perfectly content to stay home and cook dinner for his partner and watch old Cary Grant or Thin Man movies on DVD. Oh sure, we occasionally invited a few friends over for Movie Nights and chili, but that was about as exciting as we got. In the last five weeks, however, we’ve gone out for cocktails and dinner with Facebook friends from San Francisco, Brooklyn and Chicago – and we even went to a party hosted by one of them. It’s been fun. And I hope it continues.
Now just because my partner and I have begun to carouse around town like social butterflies doesn’t mean we’ve given up television. But even my viewing habits have recently changed as I’ve discovered a few new favorite shows:
Glenn Close is fabulous in the second season of Damages. Add in her Big Chill co-star, William Hurt (has it really been over 25 years since that film came out?), Marcia Gay Harden, the sexy Timothy Olyphant, and a first-rate story of intrigue and suspense and you’ve got yourself an addictive hour of television. Then there’s the handsome Kyle Chandler (whom you may remember from past shows such as Homefront and Early Edition) in Friday Night Lights. He’s just as compelling an actor as he ever was—and for a 43-year-old, he’s still lookin’ mighty fine. And his TV series is a well-written slice of small-town life set in Texas, where football is simply the catalyst for deep human emotions among the fascinating cast of characters. As with Damages, I’m late to the game (no pun intended) as Lights is now in its third season – but better late than never. I highly recommend both dramas for those of you who might be looking for something more intelligent to watch than that Jim Belushi sitcom, which has been on the air for eight seasons. However, I just read that that show has finally been cancelled. I guess eight years is about as long as Americans can put up with a blathering idiot.
I’ve never been a big fan of “change.” I’ve always wanted good things to continue – like family traditions. After my grandmother died many years ago, our holiday family gatherings changed as aunts and uncles and cousins all went their separate ways. I hated it. So I always considered “change” a bad word – that is until Barack Obama came strolling along – and now I’m learning to embrace it. Whether it’s politics and the future of our country or a desire to lose weight and make new friends – both in real life and on television – I think I’m finally ready for change. It’s time.
Marc Harshbarger is the author of two “trashy” novels, Deep Dish and Deeper Dish.
He lives in Chicago with his partner and “two spoiled cats”, Shubert and Mr. Grant.