It’s a beautiful fall morning in Hillbilly Paradise, Alabama.

Oh, goodness. I always have too much to write about and on top of that people are always giving me good ideas, which I never write down and often forget.

When I do make notes to myself, they are cryptic and worthless. I was working on a story not too long ago. I’d finished writing for the evening. I’d already powered down the PC when a story thought zinged through my brain. The thought seemed so crucial I decided to write it down.

Here’s what I ended up scribbling in pencil on the back of a bank statement: EVERYTHING THAT COULD POSSIBLY MATTER. (Block letters. I’ve been printing in block letters since junior high. I thought it looked better. Perhaps it was a cry for help. That’s entirely likely.)

Yes, that was my crucial thought in all its glory – EVERYTHING THAT COULD POSSIBLY MATTER.

I could have shortened it to THE UNIVERSE and it would have been just as helpful the next day when I continued working on the story.

Bob Johnson disappeared! Then he reappeared with a hurt foot! It was a crazy-big drama here at the farm. But BoJo is fine now, even though he took one for the team.

I don’t know how Bob Johnson hurt his foot. Maybe he was fighting radioactive coyotes. I saw a coyote crossing the highway the other day. It had a surly attitude. It was really taking its time. It had probably just eaten someone’s pet. I know they have radioactive wolves in Russia now, so I figure it’s just a matter of time before we get radioactive coyotes over here.

BoJo is a heroic sort of dog, though, so if any dog can whip a radioactive coyote it’s him. He would do anything to protect us or his feline pals, Scrappy Pappy and Da Rat Jr.

The former dictator of Libya is dead. I accidentally heard some news yesterday, or the day before, or whenever it was. I try not to hear any news at all, because it’s relentlessly bad, like, every freaking day.

Here are some things you can do to FEEL BETTER IMMEDIATELY:

1)  Stop watching/listening to/reading the news. You wanna hear the news? EVERYTHING IS GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET. And then come those awful commercials. You don’t really get the full effect of the decline of Western civ until the commercial assault. So just skip the whole drill. Watch the Series, dummy!

2)  Think of something funny. That handbasket thing will always be funny. It looks great in all caps. Sometimes I only have to think about Bob Johnson and I laugh. Not when he has disappeared, of course. When BoJo disappeared yesterday I was very serious for several hours in a row. I don’t know about you, but being serious wears me out.

3) Take drugs. Like caffeine and the stuff in chocolate. Do not take illegal drugs. You could get arrested, and then you would immediately feel even worse than you did to begin with! But a good cup of joe and a chunk of fudge cake will fix you right up.

4)  Watch any Buster Keaton movie.

5)  Think about how great it is to be a sentient, bipedal mammal at the top of the food chain (at least for a little while longer). Marvel at your machine. You won the lottery. You did not arrive here as a crow or a sea snail or a radioactive coyote. You get to be a member of the Homo sapiens species all day long. You’re a winner!

6)  Wash the dishes. Yeah, I know, sounds like a drag. But if you wash the dishes you will feel better immediately.

7)  Exercise. No, seriously. Work out until you sweat a lot. Don’t overdo it, especially if it’s been a while, but don’t fake it, either. Result? FBI.

8)  Take a look at all the crap people are posting on Facebook. Compare to the crap you are posting on Facebook. Your crap is superior, is it not? Hooray!

9)  Call or text someone out of the blue. People don’t answer their phones so much anymore, but you can always leave a voicemail. “Hey, just checking in! Saw your crap on Facebook!”

10) Invent the dumbest sentence imaginable and sing it over and over at the top of your lungs.

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John Hicks doesn’t surf, but neither does Brian Wilson, so there.    

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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