Dec. 21, 2003: Is That 2004 Ahead? What Happened to 2003?

Whoa! What is that looming straight ahead? Is that 2004? Already? What in the dickens happened to 2003? How could a year just up and leave us without any warning? Mark my words, we are going to miss 2003, because 2004 shows definite signs of being a royal pain in the behind.

The Olympic Games are scheduled for August in fractious Athens, Greece, home of Greek gods, bad air and eternal traffic jams. Let the bickering begin.

The G-8 Summit is coming to Sea Island in June, bringing heads of state, their lackeys, stiff-necked journalists and hordes of rowdy protestors who ought to be back home earning an honest living. I predict the only substantive thing that will come out of the G-8 Summit will be ruining a lot of family vacations to the Georgia coast this summer.

If all of this isn’t enough to give you a pain in your tum-tum, 2004 is also a presidential election year, which means enduring a year of political promises that nobody intends to keep, a lot of self-important media types no one believes and wall-to-wall television ads that no one watches.

Before we confront 2004, let us give 2003 its due. All in all, this year wasn’t too bad. The best news, of course, was discovering Saddam Hussein, the Anointed One, cowering in a hole in the backyard of a farmhouse, and when dragged out by the good guys, looking like a downtown Atlanta panhandler. He was lucky the U.S. military reached him first. Had I found this scumbag, I wouldn’t have told a soul. Instead, I would have quietly constructed an attractive outhouse over Saddam and his secret hole and staged daily all-you-can-eat prune parties. Talk about being the Anointed One!

There was more good news in 2003. Mississippi State University hired Sylvester Croom as its head football coach. Croom is black. The university thinks he can win football games and do it with integrity, two things that his white predecessor seemed unable to do. Sylvester Croom earned the job on merit, not through some phony affirmative action scheme. The fact that the state of Mississippi was the first in the Southeastern Conference to hire a black football coach is a delicious irony. I hope Croom goes undefeated in 2004 and all the years to follow (except when he plays you-know-who).

In the Good Riddance to Bad Apples department, we no longer have former Congresswoman and current Ambassador to Outer Space Cynthia McKinney and her race-baiting father and state legislator, Billy, wasting taxpayers’ money with their rabble-rousing. The voters wisely retired them both in 2002, and some competent people took their places this year. Delta Air Lines CEO Leo Mullin wisely called it quits, taking his ill-gotten millions and leaving a once-proud airline and its employees to fend for themselves.

Bill Campbell, former mayor of Atlanta, moved to Florida and carried his bad attitude with him. Campbell wins my award as the most incompetent politician of the millennium — past, present and future. Jim Harrick no longer coaches basketball at the University of Georgia, and Tony Cole no longer plays basketball for the University of Georgia. Hallelujah!

The flaggers started 2003 cranky, and it looks like they are going to end the year the same way. Flaggers aren’t happy unless they are unhappy, which seems to give their lives meaning. They want back their old state flag, which features the Cross of St. Andrews. It isn’t going to happen. The state of Georgia is not going to change the state flag again. Period. End of story. The flaggers might as well accept that fact and join us in the 21st century, or go invade someplace like North Dakota or Manitoba and start their own country.

As I do every year at this time, I must now fold my tent and begin my annual New Year’s pilgrimage to St. Simons where I plan to stuff myself with as much corn-fried shrimp as is humanly possible at the exquisite little Georgia Sea Grill. Ready or not, 2004 is coming, so I might as well face it with a satisfied smile.