"I had to stop driving my car for a while ... the tires got dizzy."
-- Steven Wright
OK, I promised myself I would be more positive this new year, so here goes.
Cars are better.
Yes, I know we pay as much for a car these days as my parents paid for a house, but that's mostly inflation, and mostly worth it.
My wife travels all over Georgia. She has to go to Atlanta several times a month. She visits her mother on the other side of the state, as she did this weekend.
Do we worry? Not really.
She has a cell phone and several roadside-assistance options but has yet to use them. Doesn't need to.
Now tell me you don't remember what travel used to be like.
Tell me your battery didn't conk out about once a year at the worst (coldest) time.
Tell me you haven't changed more flat tires than you cared to count.
Tell me you didn't have so many water hose ruptures that you had to resort -- as I did -- to carrying a long length of spare hosing in your trunk ready to cut, replace and re-clamp after the steam began to rise from the hood.
I even remember having to replace a headlight every six months or so.
And we didn't have cell phones. If you were stranded, you were on your own.
There's a reason you don't see a lot of cars from the 1970s and 1980s on the road. Those clunky pieces of junk have been scrap metal since Reagan's first term.
Today's cars are more reliable, more fuel efficient, more trustworthy.
Am I sure?
BOWL BRAGGING: The bowl games always bring about a certain amount of pride this time of year -- if your team wins.
That's why it seems you can't travel too far down the road without seeing a vehicle adorned with the symbol of some sort of college football team, almost always one that won in recent weeks.
I first noticed this January phenomenon several years ago, after Tennessee won the national championship. Suddenly those orange T's were everywhere.
Speaking of orange, the day after Clemson's bowl victory over Kentucky a week ago I saw not one, but two people in the grocery completely decked out in orange Clemson sweatshirts and pants and hats.
The day after Ohio State won the Rose Bowl, I saw two Buckeye-mobiles cruising Evans. (What would Ohio State fans be doing in Georgia?)
Now I can hardly wait for the winners of the Alabama-Texas game to declare their allegiance -- after the game is over, of course.
TODAY'S JOKE: Everett Fernandez shares this one.
A couple were going out for the evening. They'd gotten ready, all dolled up, cat put out, etc.
The taxi arrives, and as the couple go out the cat shoots back in.
They don't want the cat shut in the house, so the wife goes out to the taxi while the husband goes upstairs to chase the cat out.
The wife, not wanting it known that the house will be empty, explains to the taxi driver, "He's just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother."
A few minutes later, the husband gets into the cab. "Sorry I took so long," he says. "Stupid old thing was hiding under the bed, and I had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out!"
Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.