January Letters: Happy New Year, We Hope

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Illustration by Tim Forkes

Happy New Year folks. I hope this first edition of my 2022 fan mail finds you healthy and not so hung over from New Year’s eve you can’t sit up and remember what you did. Since I did nothing, I figure it’s a good time to get caught up with my fan mail. Let’s see what is on the minds of my favorite people as we begin a new year.

Dear Jim,
Has there ever been a New Year’s eve incident you have been involved in that in an inebriated state seemed to make sense, but when you sobered up made you wonder what you were thinking?
Thinking Under The Influence

USC without students having parties
(Claudia Gestro)

Dear TUTI,

Two things come to mind, and they just so happen to have taken place within minutes of each other.

I was in college and one New Year’s Eve some friends of mine and I were at a party and reached the point where we cut ourselves off from drinking because we failed the nose test. This is when you reach the point of drunkenness you can no longer feel your nose. Anyway, during the night of beer consumption, I learned my friend Scooter was just about out of gas and he was telling us he was going to have to scrounge up a few bucks to buy some (he chose buying alcohol over gas which is perfectly understandable when you are in college).

Later, there were some folks daring people to take a polar bear plunge into the unheated pool at the apartment complex we were at. The night wore on well into the early hours of January 1st before I decided I better head home. I figured since I was drunk, it was a good idea to walk home and sober up over the three miles to my house. A few others thought the same so off we headed when I saw Scooter’s car in the parking lot.

I told everyone about Scooter’s dilemma, and we all agreed to solve his problem. Off came his gas cap and out came our manhood. We each took turns urinating into his gas tank. When we finished, someone suggested we take the pool plunge challenge, so we headed over to it and jumped into the butt cold water.

While the others thought it was better to head back to the apartment to dry off and sleep things off, I was determined to walk back to my place. About halfway home, a police car pulls over with its lights on and a voice tells me to stop.  I figured I am about to be arrested and spend my first day of the new year in jail.

The police officer asks me why I am so wet, and I tell him about the dip I took. Turns out he was concerned about my health and offered to drive me home. Unfortunately, I was not fully sober and thinking straight or I would have taken him up on his offer. Instead, I walked the rest of the way home.

A couple of days later, Scooter called me to ask if I peed in his gas tank and I came clean. He said he couldn’t understand why his empty tank was reading it still had fuel so he asked around and found out there was a group of us who wanted to help him out. Instead, Scooter wanted me and the others to pay for some special additive he needed because our beer filled bladders managed to add a little too much urine than what is okay for a gas tank to have.

Dear Jim,
Each year I try to pick one or two things that pose a challenge to me and work on overcoming them. Last year, they included putting more money into my IRA while making fewer frivolous purchases. This year, my goal is to put away the electronic devices more and focus on other ways to spend my down time. What would you say are the biggest challenges you face on an individual level in 2022? What makes them a big challenge and how do you plan to overcome them?
Goal Oriented

Dear GO,

First let me congratulate you on your determination to grow and improve as a human being. Having the ability to recognize your own shortcomings is something to feel good about and I wish you luck with this year.

Second, this is nothing more than a resolutions question in disguise. You do not fool me.

Seeing as how in 2021 I finally managed to succeed in wearing matching socks on a daily basis, I suppose the next logical step would be to wash my socks more frequently. You see, I found it much easier to wear the same pair of socks for days on end once I knew I was sporting a matching pair. It never occurred to me that others around me would begin noticing the smell after a week of wearing them. On the bright side, washing my socks more frequently will mean I will no longer need to place those dangling automobile air fresheners shaped like trees in my shoes.

Dear Jim,
What do you think are the primary reasons why President Biden’s poll numbers are so low when most of his major policies are supported by well over half of the nation? Am I missing something, or does it seem voters are clueless?
Biden Supporter

Dear BS,

It does seem odd our President’s numbers lag despite him offering up very popular policies. However, it makes sense when you break things down.

First off, Americans hate reading policy because doing so hurts more than reading flashy headlines. Many don’t even bother reading headlines. Instead, they turn to others to think for them. At the moment, it seems most Americans are set in their ways as to who they have outsourced their thinking to so whether it is their church leaders, news talking heads, or an opinionated co-worker, we’ve given up trying to understand policy and replaced it with whatever memes we are sent by those we entrust with our thinking.

Another factor is, and always has been, our wallets. There may be lots of jobs out there, but let’s face it, how do you give the president your political support when wages lag as much as they do here? Toss in inflation, the fact our Christmas gifts still sit on cargo ships at sea, and our insatiable desire for instant solutions for decades old problems and we blame old Joe.

Finally, we are continually waiting for something or someone better. Unfortunately, voters don’t know whether Mr. Biden will run for re-election in 2024 or who will represent the GOP if it isn’t Trump.

Voters want someone who inspires and offers hope for a better future. COVID has sucked the enthusiasm out of this nation despite most of us generally knowing these new variants are not the fault of Biden. He represents the top of the food chain of blame for anything we see as government related. Since mask mandates and vaccines are viewed as government matters and not health matters, Joe becomes less popular.

While the average citizen may seem clueless, does he/she/them/they/we/us want to see us go back to four years of Trump or will they roll with Joe for a second term?

“Normal tourists” on January 6, 2021 participating in an insurrection

Dear Jim,
If the people who participated in the events of last January 6th are terrorists who attempted to overthrow our government, isn’t it likely then that Trump and his team are terrorists too for their roles in that day?
Supporter of Biden

Dear SOB,


Dear Jim,
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book last year and appreciate you offering it for free to the public. When can we expect your next book, and will it also be free? I do not think I am alone saying I would have paid money for it and will pay for your next one too.
Reading All The Time


I never intended to write Chronic in 2020, but once I began, I soon decided to release it for free. Doing so accomplished two things. The book became instantly affordable for anyone and it eliminated all those embarrassing eighteen cent royalty checks like the ones I receive occasionally from my first book, Teaching the Teacher, which if you hurry can still be purchased on Amazon.

I would love to say I have a book I am working on, however, I do not. For now, my life is consumed on all matters to do with socks. However, once that situation is taken care of, I will get right to my next book unless I decide to sort my underwear.

Dear Jim,
With Senator Joe Manchin pulling his support of President Biden’s Build Back Better bill, it appears there won’t be a huge and long overdue infrastructure bill as well as a major legislative win for Biden. Was Manchin’s decision a stab in the back to the president or was he courageous to go against him and his party’s wishes?
Pissed At Machin

Dear PAM,

If you generally support the Democratic Party, you have good reason to be pissed. If you are fed up with the condition of our roads and bridges, you have good reason to be pissed. If you are tired of seeing our cities fall further behind those in other nations, you should be pissed. If you answered no to these, you are probably a Republican.

Manchin is clearly loving his position within the Democratic Party. He is not a politician who thinks of what is in the best interest of this nation or his own party because he is consumed with doing what is in his best interest. How far will he go? Going back on his word is not a big deal because almost all politicians do this. Manchin is willing to screw his current party and jump ship and become a Republican if it helps him stay in office.

Basically, Manchin considers himself a free agent and is listening to offers from both parties. Considering he made his flip flop formal during an interview on FOX News, my guess is he has decided to change party allegiance while not announcing it just in case Biden sweetens the pot in one more attempt to gain his support.

Manchin might as well hang a large sign that reads, “Will vote for your party for money.” The sad thing is, he will likely be re-elected.

Dear Jim,
You have mentioned how much you enjoy listening to classic rock artists from back in the day along with your love of cold beer. Can you name the five bands you would most enjoy sitting down and listening to while drinking a cold beer?
Fan of Rock Music

Dear FORM,

There is a big difference between listening to music while sipping on a cold beer versus listening to it while working out or just doing nothing.  I can think of several bands that go along great while drinking an ice-cold bottle of beer. Without a doubt, Creedence Clearwater Revival and cold beer go together. I would also add The Doobie Brothers (pre-Michael McDonald) and Lynyrd Skynyrd to the list.  A fourth band that goes well with cold brew is ZZ Top. Rounding out my top five beer bands would probably be the late John Stewart whose mix of folk, country, and rock is only out done by his great lyrics.

Dear Jim,
Has your opinion of Jake Paul changed much now that he has defeated a former MMA champion twice in boxing matches? How long before he is taken seriously as a professional fighter? Is he good for the sport?
Boxing Fan Forever

Dear BFF,

Jake Paul is a joke as a “fighter,” but much better at self-promotion. Paul is that guy in high school with a big mouth who loved to brag about how tough he is and occasionally got into scraps with guys much smaller than him and who never had a beef with the guy.

From what I can tell, Paul beat a former MMA champ who is well past his prime and smaller than Jake. In boxing, size matters and I think Paul has an issue with how well he stacks up against guys his size. Do not confuse a worn-out MMA fighter as a boxer. The two sports are very different. MMA requires a variety of skills in multiple disciplines while boxing does not.

Paul is smart enough to know he can profit well off his big mouth by enticing smaller men to meet him inside the ring, but way too big a wuss to agree to take one on in the octagon because that would mean fighting up close in a more brutal fashion.

I understand there is this fascination that runs through men at wanting to watch two guys fight. It goes back to our playground days. We can’t be content to go window shopping or just sit and have a beer and talk. There must be action to get excited over while not placing us in actual danger. This is where our love of watching others fight comes into play.

What I do not get is why anyone would pay money to watch a fight card headlined by a clown like Paul. No one with two first names is worth following. Boxing keeps slipping to lower and lower depths because with the rise of MMA, boxing’s popularity has disappeared. Paul is not as good for the sport of boxing as he is for the promoters who will sell any fight to the public if it will be profitable. A Jake Paul boxing match is one step up from a celebrity fight card featuring former child actors and several rungs down from being actual boxing.

Dear Jim,
What is the likelihood the NFL has to cancel their post season and we do not crown a Super Bowl Champion? With Omicron spreading like an out-of-control wildfire, how can the league think they will get the playoffs completed? Could the Super Bowl be canceled?
Betting It’s Canceled

Can the Rams make it to the Super Bowl and win? What about COVID-19?(Claudia Gestro)

Dear Bic,

Death, taxes, and a complete NFL season are the only certainties we have. Unless you are the New York Jets, you can always count on a finished product from the NFL and that means a Super Bowl.

The NFL made it through 2020 when there was no vaccine available and managed to complete their season. While Omicron is doing a number on the nation and making us all vulnerable whether vaccinated or not, the league doesn’t care. How do I know?  Their history says so.

For a while it looked like Justin Herbert and the Chargers were a sure bet for the postseason. Now they have no assurances, even if they win their last two games. (Claudia Gestro)

This is the same league that did not cancel games days following the assassination of JFK. They have ignored player walkouts and replaced them with guys pulled off the streets just to keep a season alive. They have had no problem making sure games go on this season even if it means teams fielding inadequate squads for games with playoff implications.

The worst thing that can happen is the league is forced to push back games by a week or two. Heck, if it means pushing back the Super Bowl to March, the league will do it and the players will support it because they refuse to be stopped by anything short of a presidential mandate and that ain’t happening with Biden’s numbers in the crapper.