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Recently a satisfied reader plied me with questions about the year almost ended. These are my answers.
Q. What did you do with your life this year?
I abused it, as usual.

Q. What was the biggest mistake you made this year?
Waking up.

Q. Did you meet any of your goals this year? Which one(s)?
I said to myself on 1/1/99, lets see if I can't be flat broke by the end of the year, so that while everyone else is stocking up for Y2K, I can look forward to dying of thirst and starvation the first week of 2000! And it's happened!

Q. Are you further towards some of your goals this year than you were at this time last year?
I am exactly one year closer to my goal of dying of extreme old age.

Q. What were your successes and failures?
I survived a trip to Cleveland.

Q. What did you learn?
I learned that I am allergic to Cleveland.

Q. What do you have still to learn?
Why did you take so long to ask? I have so much left to learn I will need another millennium to find all the answers:

What are the names of the Brady Bunch? Why was it called the "Rocky Squirrel & Bullwinkle Moose Show", when Bullwinkle was clearly the star? How may I withdraw $200 at a time from an ATM, even though I have no bank account and no credit cards, without being caught? Suggested by my ex-wife: could I be any more stupid? How many barking dogs does it take to change a light bulb?

How may I hotwire a 747? What day(s) is(are) garbage pickup? What is the song "Louie, Louie" about? Instead of making two-ply toilet paper, why don't they just make toilet paper that's twice as thick? Who actually watches Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee? Is there really a two-pack-a-day Barbie? Is that two packs of beer or two packs of cigs? Why? What does "Jedi" mean?

Compare and contrast: the production of maple syrup in Vermont, and the times you've been kissed by your aunt. How many words rhyme with "purple"? What does "mean" mean? Why were there four musketeers? What does cat toe-jam look like? Why don't cats want you to look between their toes? What do they have to hide? Are anarchists out of control or what?

Will English ever be spelled fonetikly? Iph naught, waigh naught? How many eyebrows does Brook Shields have? Did Monty Python have legs? How auld _was_ auld lang syne? Who was the first guy who ever said "I shall fear no evil, for I am the meanest, baddest, m*f* in this whole valley of the shadow of death"? Why doesn't everyone just shoot "chartreuse" in the head?

Can you tell me the way to San Jose? What does chicken taste like? What is a dash of pepper? A dash of hippopotami? How many smidgeons make a pinch? Did Whitey really respect the Beave? How Tricky was Dick? Was it really easy to dance to, or were they just joshin'? Whose brilliant idea was poodles? Dachshunds? Irish red setters?

Compare and contrast: Brazilian hand-puppets, and a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Candide. What was Paraguay's finest hour? "I fought the law and the law won." What, exactly, did the law win? What would Palladin have done for a living if he ever lost his gun? Quick, what do you get when you cross Captain Kirk with a female alien elephant? Too late...

What happened to 001 through 006? Were their licenses revoked? If I were a little tea kettle, that wouldn't be my spout, would it? What was the strangest thing Mick Jagger ever did with his lips? Was Keith Richards involved? Was there a chihuahua in the room? Were lawyers for Taco Bell alerted?

Q. Why couldn't you have written this column entirely about Y2K?
I could have, but it wouldn't have made any sense.

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