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Getting my priorities right - Bob Paslay

This has not been a great year for me when it comes to victories. My beloved Dodgers fell short in the quest for the World Series and recently my candidate failed in the bid for the presidency. But in all competition, I say give it your all and accept the outcome. So you won't find any whining from me.

The people have spoken in the election, the Red Sox have triumphed and so let's get on with life. I understand that if defeat didn't create such valleys then victory wouldn't create such highs.

The Dodgers will have all winter long to look at their batting and their pitching and decide why things failed for them when they got so close.

The Democrats have four years to do the same.

Advice is worth what you pay for it and since neither the Dodgers nor the Democrats are paying me anything I'm not offering up any armchair advice. I will offer an observation just for the heck of it. Campaigns are now waged on television and the day of the Abraham Lincolns and the Adalai Stevensons is probably over. Comfort and coziness and medium cool are the order of the day. Likeability is probably more important than your 10-point white paper on how you would fix the Social Security. Crafting 15-second commercials that bring up the negatives of your opponent are more important than 30 second commercials trying to bring up your own positives.

OK, I lied six inches ago and am talking about politics. But now I will stop.

But one final word. Deep down except for monkeying with Social Security, these things don't have much effect on my life at this stage.

I am more interested in seeing parts of the world and the nation I have not seen, more interested in finding people who still play chess and having some rousing games, more interested in reading books I haven't read, in meeting people I haven't met, more interested in making my life more orderly.

Is my flame at this stage in life starting to flicker a little, since I burned with such idealism and vim and vigor decades ago? Or have I come to realize what could made me happier years ago, that my life is more important to me than these issues I can't control. Also, the holidays are coming up and I love to escape into them. The sights and sounds and smells bring back memories of the past.

Just a whiff of freshly cut pine sends me cascading back in time.

You might wrongly conclude that I have rejoined the "me generation." I find that time offensive in so many ways, and I deny that I am returning to this era.

It is more an issue of priorities and the reality that if I spend four hours raging against our environmental policy it will not make any difference to the bureaucrats.

You can drive yourself nuts focusing on what you can't change. Idealism is best reserved for the young. Pragmatism is an affliction of the older folks like myself.

So I am sitting here making myself a list of where I want to travel next. I want to go to Ireland and Costa Rica and Moscow and back to Canada and Scotland. I want to read a couple of hundred more books and watch about 200 movies I always intended to watch.

Catch me during spring training or six months into George Bush's second term and see if the vinegar has returned. It has a way of replenishing itself, whether you want it to or not.

Bob Paslay is assistant managing editor of the News Daily and Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 257 or at bpaslay@news-daily.com .