One Last Time With Feeling!

Bad dreams, undulating testes, mid-life crisis and the end of an era

I awoke this morning from a dream that had been going along nicely and then suddenly turned hideous. In the dream I was attending some kind of brunch/art-reception event. I was flirting with a couple of attractive young ladies when an elderly woman stepped out of the bathroom. She was smartly dressed in a pair of white pants and a green and blue flower-print blouse. A stream of urine and liquified feces was running down her right leg and leaving a trail along the tile floor.

The clock read 6am and I knew there was no way I was going back to sleep and risk a sequel to that one. Two and a half hours later I am laying in the bathtub, watching my testicles undulate, and wondering why the hell my brain did that to me.

Maybe it’s another piece in my unfolding mid-life crisis. I turned 44 a few weeks ago. I’ve been writing for this paper since my middle thirties—for close to a decade. Now it is going away.

Synthesis has always been sort of a hot mess, and that’s a big part of the reason I love writing for it. There are no rules save for don’t bad-mouth the advertisers. No one has ever told me what to write about in my column, even when I moved out of Chico and started writing more and more about the mundane daily activities of living on a ten-acre farm. It became sort of an experiment for me; my plan was to keep writing for the paper until they put my column out of its misery, put me out to pasture, and hired on some bright young wit who was hip and in the know. I expected that to happen years ago—sadly it never did.

I’ve never understood the imagined rivalry between Syn and the News & Review. To me the only similarities are the fact that they both come out once a week and they are both printed on paper. It’s like comparing the Eagles to the Dead Boys. Different animals entirely, not even the same species.

Bill’s story of how he started this paper—in a college apartment on a credit card—has often served as an inspiration to me, and I hope it does to you too. Take a chance, chase a dream, make something happen. He got a twenty-one year run out of the thing—not bad at all. Opportunity is out there, waiting impatiently for you to mature enough to discover it.

Anyway thanks to everyone at Synthesis for giving me this space for all these years. The cash and the Duffy bucks were good too. And thanks to you all for picking this up and giving it a read. It has truly been both an honor and a privilege for me to write this column every week for all these years. I don’t know what else to say. I suppose that’s that. It’s going to feel weird to hit the send button this one last time.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.