If I Had A Time Machine…

364 days ago, I wrote a post that was rather – hmm, how to phrase this? – on the morose side. It was the first day of the new year, and I had spent the previous evening alone in my townhouse save for a cat, a frozen pizza, and a bottle of champagne. This led to a rather out of character self-pitying public diatribe the next day that is embarrassing to look back on now.

As the ball dropped on Times Square in glorious three-hour-tape-delayed fashion and “2011″ came ablaze amidst flashing lights, confetti, and a street-filled chorus of Auld Lang Syne, I just sat there, unsure of whether to cheer the passing year and welcome the unbridled virgin potential of a new one, or to mourn another unfulfilled 365 days and look forward not with jubilation but trepidation toward an uncertain future. In the end, I guess, I felt a mix of both. I am the type of person who always welcomes fresh starts and clean slates and believes that things will work out in the long run. Just once, though, I’d like to look back on a year and think, “Wow, that was a good one. I’m sorry to see it pass.” It’s been awhile since that happened.

Gloomy much, mister? The only reason I’m revisiting these year-old words is because, well, I’ve got something to say in response to this post…

Wow, 2011 was a good one. I’m sorry to see it pass.

I wish I had a time machine that I could step into. I’d zip back to January 1st and sit down with that kinda-depressed guy for a little one-on-one chat, paradigms be damned. And I would say to him,

“Wipe that scowl off your face and quit acting pathetic already! You are about to embark upon an amazing journey, one that will take you to places old and new, far and near. It’s not going to be a perfect year – unemployment will continue to dog you, your tire will suffer a blowout on the freeway, and you’ll spend six nights in the hospital, emerging with one less internal organ – but it’s some testament that, despite these setbacks, you’re still going to look back fondly on this year by the time the last few seconds tick away and bleed into 2012. What’s that? Yes, I’m serious! (And thank you for saying I don’t look any older). Some pretty wonderful events are going to take place in 2011. Like what, you ask? Where’s the joy in being surprised? OK, fine. I’ll tell you, you impatient bastard.

For starters, you’ll take an incredible two-week solo road trip across the United States. You’ve always wanted to revisit some of the places from your childhood, right? Well, buckle up, because you’re going to see them this summer! Fourteen states. You’ll stop by your old high school in South Dakota, and march right up to the front door of the house you lived in during the 1970s in Ohio. You’ll eat your first White Castle slider and tour a museum dedicated entirely to SPAM – no, I’m not making that up! – and you’ll stand in the soybean field where Buddy Holly’s plane crashed 52 years earlier. You’ll see fireflies and thunderstorms and Bob Evans restaurants and you’ll meet up with a long-distance friend and catch fireworks from a parking lot in Boise, Idaho. Yes, I know you’ve never been to Idaho…but you’ll be able to cross that off your list soon! And a few other places, too.

Don't worry, 2011 is going to rock!

You’re also going to self-publish your novel. That’s right – your name will be in print! And you’re going to overcome that e-book bias of yours and offer it on the Kindle and Nook, too. Your friends and family will buy copies, and even some of your blog readers, too. Oh, and guess what? That book is going to receive some very positive reviews! No, not just people being nice to you because you’re related…strangers you don’t even know are going to say things like, ‘Petruska’s future as an author looks bright, indeed.’ Where did that come from? San Francisco Book Review, December 2011. Page 19, to be exact. You’re not going to storm up the bestseller charts or be able to pay off your mortgage, but you will be fulfilling a lifelong dream. Who knows, maybe it’ll be the start of your career as an author!

Sounds like a pretty good year coming up, huh? But it gets even better, my friend…err, myself.

There’s this girl you’ve known for a long time. You haven’t met her in person yet, but you will. And she will knock your proverbial socks off. Your long friendship is going to serve as the framework for a beautiful relationship. She’s going to meet your kids and parents, and you’ll meet her friends and family, and everybody will get along wonderfully. She’ll take you four-wheeling and teach you how to shoot a gun. No, I am not ‘making this shit up!’ You’ll try geoduck together and rock out front stage to Built To Spill and her kisses will send shivers down your spine and just thinking about her will make your heart beat faster. In fact, this New Year’s Eve you won’t be sitting home gnawing on a slice of Freschetta while watching the ball drop. You’ll be with her instead, bar hopping in Ely, Nevada. By the way, it’s pronounced E-Lee, not E-Lie – don’t embarrass yourself the first time you say it out loud, kid. A few minutes before the year ends a post is going to appear on your blog talking about all this stuff. No, it’s not magic, dummy – there’s a schedule feature on WordPress you’ll learn about. You won’t be thinking about your blog, though, because you’ll be having the time of your life with the woman you love, and when the clock strikes midnight you’ll usher in the next New Year with an amazing kiss and an indescribable excitement for the next year ahead.

So…feeling better now? Yeah, I thought so. Quit your bitching then, and embrace the future. You’ve got an awful lot to look forward to!

Oh, and by the way…happy new year!!”



Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

38 thoughts on “If I Had A Time Machine…

  1. You did well. I did too. I did not get shot (as have 11,286 other people) by the City of Miami Police. As in “Drunk man, 5’2″, raging and carrying a large hair brush shot 946 times by 27 policemen because they feared for their lives. Procedures were followed and no investigation will be conducted.” Of course the tag is fictional but you get the point. Carl Haisan has written great stuff about Miami. Have you ever read him?


    1. I’m beginning to suspect your fondness for Miami is on the wane, No, I haven’t read Carl (not you, the author Carl) but I’ve seen his books around and will have to check him out someday.


  2. It’s been a great year, indeed. Blessings to you and Tara and the rest of your family in the comming year. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with those of us who read your blog. Happy New Year, my friend!


  3. It has indeed been a great year and I’m looking forward to seeing what God has planned for the following year. With Him in it, it’s going to be GREAT!!

    It means a lot to have shared part (or rather most) of your year. So I thank you for that!!

    Happy New Year, Mark.


    1. Happy New Year, Tracy! As great as 2011 was, 2012 will be even better. Looking forward to seeing you and maybe trying a glass of that Ironport – if there’s any left, of course! 😉


  4. Faaaaaaaaaabulous recap of your GREAT year, Mark!

    What a wonderful journey it’s been!

    Well done, buddy!

    And thank you for having shared it with us.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, Mark! Wishing you and Tara an AWESOME 2012!



  5. When expectaions are set at “no one died today” chaances are you will have success! This is our year to set the bar higher Mark. We can do it, and hopefully no one will dies in the process. Happy New Year my Friend!
    PS I want my First Edition signed by you. I could sign it, but I don’t thing that helps with the value of a book that you wrote.


  6. What a sweet year-end summary. I’m glad you found so much happiness in 2011. Though, honestly, so long as it was a quality frozen pizza, a cat that didn’t bite, and a decent bottle of champagne, I don’t see anything wrong with the way you spent last New Years. 🙂


  7. It IS rather amazing that you can end a year with one fewer internal organ — and still call it a good year!

    It has been a wild ride you’ve been on, and we’re grateful to be along for the journey. Here’s to more books, more great reviews, more sweet surprises and more adventures in the coming year.

    Happy 2012, Mark. May it be just like 2011 — only with fewer hospitalizations and blow-outs.



    1. Ha! Thanks, Mikalee. I’d like to aim for 0 hospitalizations and 0 blowouts this year, but I suppose The Universe works in mysterious ways. Isn’t that right?!

      Hope you have a great year, with more Diet Coke and fewer bricks!


  8. Hi, Mark! Kathy McCullough urged me to come over and meet you, and am I glad I did! How wonderful that 2011 was filled with so much for you. Just think what goodies you’ll experience in 2012! You’re such a good writer that it will be fun accompanying you.


  9. You have had an adventurous year, but you’re right, it’s been a good one! Let’s hope 2012 is even more successful and that you don’t lose anymore organs. Maybe you can learn to shoot a potato gun or something equally wild! LOL. Happy New Year to the Scrooge You and the New You!


    1. A potato gun? That sounds like something they’d definitely get a kick out of in Ely. Or maybe you’d have to go farther north into Idaho to really appreciate that sort of thing.

      In any case, hope 2012 is a blast for you, Jess!


  10. Can I just say how happy I am that you are so happy? I’ve read you for a long time and I don’t note often enough, but I am so very glad you had a wonderful year. You deserve it!

    Now deserving a king cake this Mardi Gras season, we’ll have to see about that one! 😉


    1. For god’s sake, woman, tell me what I have to do to get one of those king cakes again. I’ll bribe a politician if that’s what it takes. What’s your governor’s name again?

      And on a serious note, thanks for following along all these years. 🙂


  11. You’ve been long overdue for some true happiness, and I’m so glad you finally found it. Thankfully, I’ve been able to partake in some of that joy instead of being on the outside looking in. I haven’t been this excited to start a new year in a very long time and I’m so very glad that I got to start it with you. Happy 2012, baby!


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