The race is on

Wade McIntyre
Wade McIntyre

A blank mind usually means blissful happiness for me.

It means I have nothing to do, nowhere to be, no looming deadlines.

But, these days an empty head and sitting on the bank and watching the river flow just doesn’t seem to be in the stars.

To borrow from Elvis, “I got a hunka, hunka burning thoughts.”

At the moment, none of them are particularly interesting, or printable.

But they are sure swirling around causing a ruckus upstairs.

In an ideal column, one manages one’s thoughts, controls what flows forth on the page. This is not an ideal column. This is a foray into words from a tired, sleepy mind that refuses to focus on a meaningful topic.

This is what the mind is saying: Should I go to the Jazz Fest the first or second weekend, or both; should I change the oil or drive the car another five hundred miles; why do cell phones that flip like

Star Trek communicators break so easily; is gas really back up to $2 a gallon; can’t someone please just open a veggie burger fast food outlet; why do grownups watch television?; the UFO crash at Corona, N.M. - fact or fiction; what will the economy do tomorrow; is Rupert Murdock taking over the world; has President Obama quit smoking; are the Chinese bugging my computer; would Scarlett O’Hara be a success in today’s economic climate?  

It is spring, the time of rejuvenation and beauty. I should be thinking crystal clear, razor sharp, metaphorically expansive thoughts that Thomas Pynchon would want to read and Samuel Johnson would borrow to share at his next library party (if he were still alive).

No chance of that. This column’s big question: How will I come up with another 200 words to end this thing?

If I were a standup comic, I could hand the mike over to someone in the front row.

I could fake losing my voice and somersault off stage if I were a rock star.

Three hundred thirty-six, three hundred thirty-nine, three hundred forty-one.

I don’t even have a title yet.

My goal was to write a column in 45 minutes. It’s been over an hour.

I know the problem. It’s the stupid economy. My mind wants to produce fresh ideas, but the economy is so all consuming that economics, normally boring to tears, is all I can write about – even though I desperately want to write about something else, anything else.

Knowing the problem is half of solving the problem. Now, I can create a title.

I’ll do it by mentally transporting myself to the Fairgrounds in New Orleans for the last race of the day. A good horse race is all about economics, long-shot winners and getting away from the race we humans run ­– the rat race. It’s fun, too, something different. The horses are at the gates; the crowd is on its feet.

The announcer shouts, “They’re off!”