A Pause, a Glimpse of Memory, Before Beginning '93


December 27, 1992|By PETER A. JAY

The Christmas tumult dies away.

St. Nick's long gone, and so's his sleigh.

Like watercolors in the rain,

the year dissolves, goes down the drain.

Events and faces, scores and weath- er, merge

and meld and run together.

Before it's gone, then, bid adieu

to blurry, fading '92.

It gave us drama, laughs and thrills,

tragic moments, icy chills,

deaths and taxes, fun and games,

cities vanishing in flames,

waves eroding coastal dunes,

and politicians' looney tunes.

So, just before the old year's close,

herewith some highlights and some lows.

In Baltimore, our town premier

life's been kinda tough this year.

Downtown nightly, gunfire stutters.

Bodies topple into gutters.

These endless murders cause un- ease,

although the rate's below D.C.'s.

One expert says the problem's drugs,

another says it's too few hugs.

A third declares the system's broke

and must be fixed by Mayor Schmoke.

Then there's keno. What you think?

At first there was a modest stink,

but now the stink's become a stench.

The gov, it seems, may soon re- trench.

Want to help the budget lots?

It's simple, stupid. Bring back slots.

In Towson, where the Volvos cruise,

there's lots of real exciting news.

County schools have gotten, well,

sophisticated as all hell.

Look what Stuart Berger's wrought!

He's making sure the kids are taught

'bout condoms, diaphragms and AIDS --

and better yet, he's scrapping grades!

It's all an innovator's dream:

No grades, but lots of self-esteem.

Next year, I'll bet, here's what's in store:

sports in which no one keeps score.

You say that makes you rant and rave?

Then here's one you can clip and save.

I found it in my morning Sun.

It's not a joke. Just sounds like one.

Emil S. Abdelsayed

is black of skin, the paper said.

And black he thought he was, before

he came to live in Baltimore.

In Africa, Emil was born.

But now he's feeling quite forlorn.

At City Hall, Emil applied

to get a special "set-aside"

-- a kind of sweetheart deal, you see,

for each approved minority.

But blackness did Emil no good.

He never proved his victimhood.

The bureaucrats, with great disdain

threw him out into the rain.

And now they face a legal fight

because Emil got treated white.

In Hagerstown the people trudge

to court to watch their lusty judge,

a noble figure in his robes.

He beams before the TV strobes.

A swordsman, he, like Errol Flynn;

the scourge of all who dare to sin.

Now, adding to the judge's fame:

an old but unextinguished flame.

And while this causes public mirth,

it shows the courts are down to earth.

The Sun, for reasons quite opaque,

decides sport hunting's a mistake.

It thinks instead the time is here

for bureaucrats to shoot the deer.

What's next? An editorial wish

for gummint folks to catch our fish?

Dan Quayle's going; so's George Bush.

We voters gave them both a push.

We had some help from Ross Perot

whose crazy aunt perhaps you know.

Now we sit and coil our rope

while waiting for the man from Hope.

One final note. Remember, please,

the real news now is overseas.

Our problems here are two-bit stuff.

In Mogadishu, things are rough.

As you ease through this December

don't complain. You're here. Re- member.

If you're feeling good and jolly,

think of Boutros Boutros Ghali,

UN chief extraordinaire,

a diplomat both wise and fair.

Every global hot tamale,

whether Kurdish or Somali,

sails grenade-like in his door.

He deals with each, then waits for more.

If I met him in the street

I'd want to offer him a treat.

I'd say "please come along, effendi,

for a hamburger chez Wendy."

There we'd sit and have a chat,

drink diet Coke and chew some khat.

Then, if we still had the time,

we'd ring the new year in, in rhyme.

Peter Jay's column appears here each week.

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