Polish Pool

So I wanted to get this post about 2016 written. But here’s my problem. Marty has me handcuffed to the bookcase; my bed doesn’t have a headboard. We were all set to take our relationship to a new level, but then she accidentally dropped the key and Monty swallowed it. So now, we have to wait about 24 hours for him to poop out the key before I can get loose. So I’m using dictation to sum up this past year.

The fiasco with the key seems to encapsulate 2016 very well. It’s like starting out trying to get a cheap thrill, but in the end, someone has to take a crap before you can find true relief.

Actually, 2016 held a lot of high notes for me. The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 and I became a life-long fan. It didn’t really surprise me that my loyalty would be tested so early. I knew this was gonna be a transition year, but who the hell knew we wouldn’t even make the play-offs? I guess Von Miller gets the last laugh, which will carry him all the way to the bank.

My former coworker gave me a beautiful and lovable kitty that I named, Mags. She is everything a cat owner could want. She is cuddly, uses her litterbox, doesn’t eat too much and doesn’t try to play with me when I’m sleeping. I wonder if I could train Marty with those same habits?

I also started an old-time radio podcast. For those of you who have listened, thank you. For those of you who have yet to listen, give it a try. It can’t be any worse than watching Real Mafia Housewives.

In September, I was honored to attend the marriage of my longtime friend Alicia to her husband Mark. Alicia has been through some hard times, but it really warmed my heart to witness as she and Mark gave their lives to each other before God. Life wasn’t so kind to my pal Wes, who was involved in a pedestrian vs. auto accident last April. His knee was injured and he’s still dealing with some PTSD from the encounter. He’s had about as much fun dealing with the medical and legal fall-out as a man would have taking a walk through Chicago without a bulletproof vest. Chin up, Wes. At least your Chiefs are gonna make the play-offs.

I was also honored to be elected as secretary of the Denver Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. Dan Burke is a smart guy. He knew the only way to force me to pay attention at the meetings was to make me responsible for the minutes. Does this mean I have to quit mixing Bailey’s with my coffee? I hope not.

Many of you know that I began a relationship with Marty Rahn about nine months ago. Marty has a tender heart, an agile mind, a courageous spirit and the patience of a teacher. I love her.

Sadly, this year has brought challenges for Marty. In May, she stepped into a hole at work while walking Monty and broke her foot. She had to undergo surgery to get a pin to reinforce the broken bone. During her recovery, she began to experience severe numbness and tingling in her body. After a series of tests, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The M.R.I. also detected three benign tumors; two on her carotid artery and one at the base of her skull.

It is a scary time for both of us right now. For the past two days, she has been experiencing intermittent dizzy spells. Getting answers from her doctors is like trying to go bowling in a herd of elephants. She has been prescribed Gilenya and it has helped, but we fear more surgeries lie ahead. All we can do now is ask for everyone’s prayers as we continue to chart these unknown waters.

In lighter news, I was accused of sexual harassment at work. There is no punchline. It really happened. My angry feminist coworker didn’t like something I said, so she ratted me out to the boss. I consider this to be a badge of honor. In this postmodern age of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, I think we’ve learned that sexual misconduct is actually an attribute on one’s resume. You know how in the movie Ted, when the bear keeps getting promoted every time he does something naughty at work? Well, my boss gave me a raise this year. I can only conclude that he secretly approved of what I did.

I should feel guilty for writing that, but I’ll go watch the female Ghostbusters reboot and cleanse my guilt.

Speaking of Trump, I’m not going to write a lot about the election, mostly due to the fact that I’ve already written about it ad nauseam. I will only say that it’s dispiriting to me *though not surprising) to see Democrats willfully refuse to understand why they lost the election. The combination of a fatally flawed candidate, shifting demographics and bad polling lead most people *including me) down the wrong path. I did not vote for Trump, but I accept him as our president and am glad to see that the Republican agenda will have a chance to move forward.

Politics wasn’t all bad this year. In April, I had the chance to participate in the process by attending the state Republican convention. I’ve also moved away from most talk radio and have gravitated toward conservative thinkers who express themselves through the written word. For those of you who will need a strong dose of sanity throughout the next four years, read the National Review and the Weekly Standard. Conservative stalwarts like Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol, Amanda Carpenter and Ben Shapiro have been beacons in an otherwise gloomy populist landscape. And for those of you who think that all politicians are bad, please follow Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse on Twitter or Facebook.

2016 saw the deaths of many celebrities. The ones that peaked my interest were Glenn Frey, Harper Lee, Nancy Reagan, Merle Haggard, Kenny Baker, (aka R2D2), Gene Wilder, Holly Dunn, Florence Henderson, John Glenn, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

Special note for Antonin Scalia, who’s untimely death high-lighted the polarized D.C. electorate. I’ll see you in hell, Fidel! Trying to rationalize with Castro supporters is like trying to play a game of pool against a Pollock. You confidently walk up to the table with your pool cue in hand, only to discover that the Polack is carrying a pool noodle.

Is anyone reading this a fan of the original Law & Order series? Steven Hill, who played the first (and funniest) D.A., Adam Schiff, on that series, died this year. Is anyone reading this a fan of the cop show, Homicide? Jon Polito, who played Crosetti, the first character to die on that series, also passed away. Also, a respectful nod to the memory of Curtis Hanson, who directed one of my favorite movies, L.A. Confidential.

In the personal loss column, Nehemiah Hall succumbed to cancer last Spring. He and I weren’t close, but many of my friends cared for him. I was truly shocked and saddened at the sudden passing of Ahimsa Wishneski. She and I were forming a friendship, all be it an online one. I hope someone finds that Merle’s gift card I gave her for her CCB graduation and puts it to good use.

Another friend left Denver in the person of Beth McGarr. My pal Drew and I reconnected in a heartfelt conversation at, of all places, a casino. Robin and I have also reconnected. Drew and Robin have reconnected. Special thanks to Katy for introducing me to the Joe Pickett novel series, written by C. J. Box. Art is still the best listener ever.

Many people seem to treat 2016 as if it’s a living entity. I don’t buy it. Life is what we make it. If you want 2017 to be better than 2016, go out there and make it happen. Don’t rely on external events that are out of your control to reinforce your happiness. This is a personal challenge I make to myself as well as everyone else. Happy New Year.

Monty is sniffing me and his whiskers kind of tickle. 22 hours until the key reappears.

Wait! That’s not Monty. Oh whoa ho ho whoa!!! Marty just found the feather duster. I gotta go!

Author: Ryan Osentowski

My name is Ryan Osentowski. I am a conservative blind guy going through life using the structured discovery method. I currently work as the Station Manager at a radio reading service for the blind. My passions include politics, writing, cigars, old-time radio, quality TV shows and movies, food, music, reading, clocks, swimming and tbd. I hope you will enjoy what you find here. If you don't...try it with a strong dose of alcohol.