EuroNotes Christmas Ď97 The Year in Review

Images from Christmas Season 1997

Sometimes I consider marriage, to have more than just myself to talk about. In the meantime...

Thereís always a time in your life when you look back and think, "That was a crossroads, a crazy, important time in my life." 1997 was all of that and more.

I started by completing my long-awaited college degree (Uhhh, Political Science), took a few months off from that strenuous activity to do some determined drinking and/or partying, strengthening and extending of my friendships, followed by a few months of the European version of the same Ė except making some new friends Ė and finishing up by packing up and leaving everyone from my home of 20 years to join a faceless giant, conglomerate corporation, something Iíd already sworn off. I know, seems like it took a while to leave the nest, but my mommy always did call me a "late bloomer."

And, in between, Iíve learned a lot about myself. It was fun. In fact, as I stroll jauntily into í98, feeling pretty top oí the world, with steel cajones and a shiny pate, I think, "What the hell next?"

Weíll just have to wait until Dec. 98 for that, I guess.

Editorís note: The EuroNotes are a collection of written observations begun this summerÖ and they are meant as random reflections with a sense of humor. I enjoy them. So, uhhh, yer warned.

But what of í97? I mean, besides another Arizona Governor being kicked out of office for ethically demeaning conduct. I guess, I would like to start by wishing everyone a Happy Holiday season, that is, in case something should happen to me before I finish the rest of this letter. Ahhh! Not to worry, though, El Niño may be dumping snow on my new Denver, Colorado home and the entire Rocky Mountain region, but now that Iím a manager (as mentioned) at a huge, uncaring corporation, I can dump on others!

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Next, Iíd like to thank all those countries who allowed me entry in 1997 (and piss on those who didnít):
U.S.A. (home), Mexico (Rocky Point weekends), England (right-hand drive and pubs), Wales (The Twilight Zone), Éire (Guinness, duhh!), Helena (the islands, piss on Athens), Italia (Que Bella!), France (icy Mont Blanc), Monaco (Monte Carlo, beautiful women), Confederatia Helvetica (Switzerland, The Alps), Liechtenstein (briefly), Österreich (Austria, more Alps), Magyar (Hungary, big meals), Romania (great steak, communism),
Ceská Republika (Czech Republic, brilliant/cheap beer, the original Budvar of Budejovice), Deutscheland (Berlin Wall memorabilia), Danmark (land of Bang & Olufson stereos I canít afford), Sverige (Sweden, land of liquor I canít afford), and Norge (summer skiing, fjords, and free cars).

Reviewing what Iíve written, noting the lack of serious observations and biting world commentary, I realize that my life is just a bit too comfortable for good prose. Itís the olí tortured artist theory Ė only undernourished kids with unpleasant childhood memories can become great artists Ė and thatís too bad.
I blame my parents, really. For í98, I plan to travel less and starve myself a meal each week, to gain the fortitude necessary for serious writing in time for the Ď98 Christmas EuroNotes. Iím considering poetryÖ

Unfortunately, after eating so well in Europe, I donít know if I can manage the starvation part. Thereís a new weekend morning tradition in my house: the EuroGerman breakfast. After staying with a friend in Berlin, I have become spoiled with the concept of a 2-hour breakfast including hot loose tea in a French press coffee maker (ironic, no?), toast, jams, butter, honey, and sliced cheeses and meats. For dinner at home Iíve chosen a smattering of cultures with a Scandinavian/French/Italian overtone: French breads, crackers, cheeses, Italian wines, cappuccino, caviar, meats, and the occasional sür stromming (kidding about that last food: raw, rotten fish with bones digested to jelly-like consistency known in Sweden by a misleading, innocent-sounding name. This substance is why Vikings exist Ė Sorry, Sven).

A poor segue, but I recently found the BilFish Baby Book (circa May 28th, 1971). What a treasure of predictive information. Apparently, I popped out at 8 lbs., 1 oz. after many, many hours of labor and have since carried on these traditions of good eating and keeping people waiting. More importantly, under the topic "Favorite Toys" I found the following entry inserted: You stared at a Budweiser can for 45 minutes up north at 3 weeks of age. How prophetic, how predictable! Now I can blame my fascination with the brewed stuff on my parents for early, impressionable exposure. When people ask, how did you think to build a web site called I just smile, and say, "Itís a family tradition." Oh, wait, sorry, the rest of my family arenít a bunch of drunks like meÖ

Which brings up an important issue. Now that Iím working again, I donít get to drink nearly as often. My quiz for this issue of EuroNotes to all of you: Does this mean I should switch to "quality" drinking, or should I "try to make up for it in volume" on those occasions I can drink? Teetotalers need not answer.

Anyway, a quick, intriguing fashion debate for ya, between America and Europe, and best articulated by my officemates, one a crazy Russian girl, one a corn-fed heartland American. The Russian Ė in black Ė claims that Americans "just donít have any fashion," whereas the American Ė in warm, colorful clothing Ė replies, "Yes, thatís because weíve grown out of that childhood phase." Phew! Tough debate. My response is obvious. Ladies, what do you want me to wear?

Enough of fashion.

In these final few inked letters, let me say thank you. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice this year. Thank you to the friends and family in whom I have trusted and shared good times with. Thank you to the new friends Iíve been fortunate to know. All of you have greatly enriched my life, and have given me to understand the strength and importance of relationships in a good life. Without you, all of my activities, journeys, and efforts would be as the pale husk of joy, a shadow of the past, a mere memory of life.

Cheers to everyone, and may 1998 see joy in your life as we remember that the trials and tribulations of the year are as nothing when we have friends!





William Fisher "The BilFish" o 1150 Inca St. #60 Denver, Colorado 80204 o +1 (303) 534.8779