Gripping 2006

The Two-Week Malaise (aka 2006 Government Monkey Disease) has held me in its grip since I was in Vegas. For the first time ever, I’m finding no one that will give me grief about feeling like a candidate for the morgue. Nearly everybody I know has had a run-in with the TWM. It starts with a sore throat, moves to a chest cold and hacking cough, morphs to a sinus and ear infection, and then lingers as a general fatigue and phlegmy mess for another several days. Usually I have one or two friends or relatives who tell me to rub some dirt on it and walk it off. This time, the TWM is kicking everyone’s ass. Two of the bigger grief-givers when it comes to illness, Uncle Ted and Dr. Jeff, were both afflicted, so I didn’t hear jack from them about it. Although, now that I think about it, Dr. Jeff kicked the Two-Week Malaise in three days with a combination of grapefruit and rest, which I think is a tacit way of telling me I am a giant wuss for feeling like hell for a fortnight.

But that’s not the grip (or the grippe) I’m here to talk about.

Anyone who has spent any time here over the past 12 months has figure out that I’m not the biggest fan of 2006. After a 2005 that treated me like Mae West in “I’m No Angel,” 2006 turned me into a throw-away character in “Fight Club” who spent most of his time on the other end of Tyler Durden’s fist. I rode through it, convinced I was just on the other side of a variance curve and certain that yin and yang would eventually make up and make out.

I was probably at my worst during the month of October (a month that I love but always beats me up). I’d pretty much given up hope. What’s more, I got more than a little worried about myself and my relative grip on self-control. I dialed back certain aspects of my life that could lead to peril if abused and tried to figure out if I was in the middle of a spiral or merely just freaked out.

I’m still not sure where I was, but I know this: The past four weeks have shown enough promise that I actually look forward to getting out of bed in the morning. My relationships with my family and friends are better. My work ethic, writing, and poker playing are all in such a way that I’m not ready to quit any of them. I am, in short, quite content.

So, as 2006 comes to a close and we holiday types spend some quality holiday time with our families and friends, I find myself quite willing to say that I’m happy and feel very lucky to have gotten through 2006 without any permanent scars.

Of course, with happiness like this comes a little bit of survivor’s guilt. I have several friends and family members who have dealt with a great deal more this year than I have. What’s more, they are still suffering. From the wife of a good friend who died, to my family who is missing its patriarch, to people who are trying to figure out how to live lives that are so completely different than they expected due to unexpected circumstances, I know that I am one lucky guy.

The next several days are going to be spent with family and close friends. If I don’t make it back before the new year, I wish all of you who continue to come here a very happy holiday.

Let’s make 2007 a good one, huh?


Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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8 Responses

  1. Anonymous Sandra says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! If your coming home to Missouri, say hi to your parents for me. Enjoy this time with your family!

  2. Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Whine Whine Whine

  3. Anonymous uncle b says:

    u got the herps.

  4. Anonymous Su says:

    Happy New Year, Willis family!

  5. Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Your writing is, as always, brilliant. Happy 2007 to you and yours.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Happy new year!

    Just think – 2007 is going to be on the other side of 2006’s variance.

    Oh, Happy days!