Running Out the Clock

December 31, 2020

Steve (bless his heart) was vacuuming our bedroom yesterday, and apparently in his efforts to de-dust our ancient clock radio on the bedside table, he hit some button that sped up time. Not literally, of course, but on the clock every minute began to register as a second. I didn’t notice this until the wee hours of this morning, when all of a sudden 5:10 AM was immediately followed by 5:11, 5:12 etc. We’ll have to fix it, of course, but meanwhile….

It seemed the perfect image for the last day of this dumpster fire of a year. We’ve held on as the economy tanked and the pandemic raged, and the stores and schools closed, and there were protests in the streets. We’ve struggled with isolation and fear and loneliness. This shared time of hardship that should have united us, has only pulled us further apart as a nation. Now all we want is to fast forward past the pain.

I don’t have high hopes for New Year’s Eve. In fact, my prayer for today is that nothing much happens at all. That no further calamity or catastrophe adds to the wreckage before we turn the calendar page. If things don’t get better during this final 24 hours of the year, may they at least not get worse.

So I’ll spend some time planning and wrapping up loose ends, both with my church job and with my freelance writing. I just downloaded an Excel spreadsheet entitled My Annual Report, with space for listing up to 12 personal goals for the next 52 weeks. It should probably worry me that I could only think of 6 goals, and have no clue how I will achieve any of them. But considering how this past year torpedoed all planning by everyone, everywhere, I’m not letting it bother me much.

We’ll figure out a movie to watch together tonight after dinner (which will be a non-cooking event featuring a nice charcuterie board). We don’t have NYE film traditions, alas, to comfort us. My sister C and her husband Rob watch the heartwarming  Iron Will every single December 31st, and have for decades. My movie memories are of our usually disastrous New Year’s Eve picks, including Barton Fink (I know, I know, genius, but I had nightmares for weeks afterward) and The Champ, a Jon Voight weeper about boxing co-staring Ricky Schroeder (the main thing I recall about it was that a mouse ran across the family room floor at one point and I watched the remainder of the film with my feet up on the sofa and my eyes scanning the carpet).

Mainly I just want 2020 over with, as quickly as possible. So perhaps we won’t fix the clock just yet. We’re not going anywhere today, so what’s the harm in just running out the clock and pretending? Our “ball” will drop by 11 AM and we’ll be done with it.

Let me be the very first to say, Welcome to 2021!


    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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