Autumnal Equinox 2014: Pride Before the Fall

It’s September and temperatures are boiling the local mercury. It’s that time of year we call “Native American Summer,” or at least should, since “Indian Summer” makes no sense given that it’s monsoon season India (and I’m professionally engineered to avoid cultural misnomers). It’s almost over anyway — September 23 brings with it the annual countdown the winter season known as the Autumnal Equinox with its resplendent 89 days of Fall.

Autumnal Equinox 2014: Goals

Discrete stretches of time kindle within me a desire to accomplish something interesting. The 30 days of National Novel Writing Month come to mind. By that rubric, 89 days is just a day shy of a trilogy, right? A guy can do a lot of damage in 89 days. A pal suggested trying 89 different locally-brewed beers. But why stretch over three months what one can do in a weekend?

That said, the 89 Day challenge needs to be more substantial than a hangover. “But what about liver damage, that’s substantial, ain’t it?” asks Sonoma, to which I reply, “Go home, Sonoma, you’re drunk. Again.”

Another friend thought doing an 89 day Instagram photo essay would be manageable if the subject was interesting. However, the only subject in whose presence I’ll consistently be for the 89 days of Fall is me and no one, including me, wants to click through nearly 89 photos of Egogram.

I find with any defined interval of time I have an impulse toward self-improvement. I suppose I could use the 89 days of Fall to concentrate on losing weight but I’m sure I’d find it again come Thanksgiving. I could enjoy 89 consecutive pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks but why not save the $445 and the 33,820 calories for something like a new iPhone and 10 less pounds of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice-flavored regret?

Speaking of Starbucks and 89 days, a fellow named James Burkhart was sentenced to precisely that amount of time in jail for installing a hidden camera in the women’s restroom at a Starbucks near San Diego State University. Unless you have a large bladder, this is why you should get anything beyond a grande to-go.

“Write a poem a day,” someone else suggested. My first thought was NOT writing a poem for 89 days would achieve the same aesthetic effect (nil) and make the inevitable poetry reading more bearable. This is what Gwyneth would call “consciously un-coupleting.”

If I were going to write anything, it would be “89 Days to a Newer, Truer Self,” which is just dying to be penned, packaged and productized across an array of media. An 89-day pad-calendar with daily aphorisms rife for the ripping is a natural. “Day 44. You’re halfway through this calendar. Celebrate your accomplishment buy ordering another one.” And the cycle of abstruse continues.

Depending on the source, the Kama sutra has up to 77 sexual positions. I’m sure I could improvise 12 positions more for a full complement 89 but I also suspect my wife will laugh me right out of the marriage counselor’s office.

Perhaps we should acknowledge the 89 days of Fall by simply doing nothing but being fully in the fleeting moments of its grandeur. I mean, how could any endeavor but humility compete with the heraldry of its hues? Admittedly, this is my hedge — because, as they say, pride comes before the Fall.

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