Sep. 24, 2001: President Bush has urged us all to try and get our lives back to normal after our national nightmare.

I couldn’t agree more. Being the patriotic American that I am, I decided to do my part so I promptly lost my briefcase.

I also forgot to turn off the lights when I left the room – any room. I found myself in the den looking for something but I couldn’t remember what I was looking for. I swung at a golf ball that I intended to hit 200 yards and rolled it about six feet. I dropped jelly on my shirt (dark jelly, light shirt). I got lost but refused to stop and ask directions. I wrote a column and wasn’t sure whether to put commas inside the quotation marks or outside. I drank out of the milk bottle.

Mr. President, I declare myself back to normal.

I am not alone. My housemate and her friends have resumed their long-standing tradition of driving all over Hell’s Half Acre to save fifty cents on a doodad that nobody needed in the first place. I long ago gave up trying to explain the concept of cost-benefit analysis to her — that the gas for the trip costs more than what they save on the unneeded doodad. I was wasting my breath. For her and her shopaholic pals, buying unneeded doodads is perfectly normal behavior.

Since you probably have been preoccupied watching Hillary Clinton suck her thumb and roll her eyes because George Bush seems to be putting consecutive sentences together and actually running the country, I am glad to report to you than normal seems to be breaking out all over the nation.

For example, Georgia Tech supporters are once again trying to explain to us plebeians why the graduation rate for their student-athletes falls slightly short of a school of fish.

Motorists are once again weaving in and out of traffic without the use of the little stick on their steering wheel. (“What’s that thing? A turn signal? Whatever does it do?”)

On the redistricting front, the Georgia Legislature continues to makes us swell with pride at their bipartisan and selfless efforts to ensure that all Democrats be guaranteed lifetime employment and thus avoid the possibility of having to find real jobs.

Governor Roy Barnes has signed a bill that makes it illegal for anyone to run against him. It passed unanimously because Republicans weren’t allowed to vote. In Georgia, that’s normal.

The television networks are back to their regularly scheduled programs, which means running commercials continuously so that we don’t have to look at Sam Donaldson and his awful toupee.

The AOL/Ted Turner/Looney Tunes/Time-Warner/Atlanta Braves have discovered it is September and that they are still in the pennant race. That is not normal. The players have called a team meeting to rectify the situation, lest they have to face the frightening prospects of post-season play.

Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have declared that the bombings occurred because God got mad at us. God has declared that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell don’t have the foggiest idea of what He is thinking because He hasn’t told them anything and doesn’t plan to and for you not to listen to them. God recommends that you listen to Billy Graham instead. He’s for real.

The Georgia Public Service Commission has announced that their offices this winter will be heated with wood. The PSC denied that the cost of natural gas had anything to do with their decision. They say they like the ambience of a crackling fire.

Georgia Natural Gas has announced that it has bought all the forests in the United States and will petition the Georgia PSC to allow them to deregulate the cost of the wood. They say such a move would greatly benefit Georgia consumers.

I am pleased to share this progress report with you as our nation continues to heal and things slowly return to normal. In these times, we can use all the normal we can get. As for me, I am going to continue to drink milk out of the bottle, leave the lights on, love my family and share this space with you. I will even accept the fact that unneeded doodads are and forever will be a part of my life.

Normal feels good.