This morning I opened my laptop and began the weekly struggle to find something to help you start your week with a laugh.

This is why I was hired by my first managing editor, one of nine I’ve served under. You can see right away that “change” has been part of the newspaper business DNA for centuries.

Today I’d settle for a smile. I know it’s hard for you. You haven’t been to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned since April.

I see that the dye is fading from your hair, and you’re going gray an inch at a time. Your husband says you look younger. He’s lying.

None of this is your fault. The heat is on me. I sit in my chair with a cup of coffee beside me getting cold, and I need to give you some good news.

The best news I can come up at the moment is that a Colorado newspaper tell us that “a phone app to tell you if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 launches this weekend.”

There’s this: There are no mass church weddings, inside or out, planned this week. That should bring the death toll down.

It’s Nov. 1, and it’s time for change. The biggest one is due in about 48 hours.

By now, most of us know what kind of change we want in the White House. Don’t hide your face. You know.

By now most of us have already voted. The early turnout has been greater than the buy-one, get-one-free meal at Applebee’s.

You know which guy you want to serve out the next four years as leader of the free world. So do I. You’re not going to tell me, and I’m not going to tell you. We would just upset each other, and we’re going to need each other this winter no matter who wins.

But let’s face it. You know me, and you won’t be surprised. As Joe Biden said the other night, “You know who he is, and you know who I am.”

Nothing more can be said. This we know. Change is coming.

We may know the answer on Nov. 4. We may know it on Christmas Eve.

Yes, change is coming and for me, it starts today. I have to go around and update and battery change 13 clocks. I know. It’s one of the tics in my personal compulsive-obsessive app.

Change is nationwide, worldwide and interplanetarywide. But for me, it all starts at home.

Today, I have to change the sheets on both our beds. Yes, we sleep in different beds. We were both born in the Hollywood era when, in movies, married couples weren’t allowed to sleep together on screen.

J.P. Devine’s clocks need to be changed soon. Photo courtesy of J.P. Devine

So after years of kicking one another, snoring or sneezing at one another at 2 in the morning, we embraced the Hollywood rule. If it was good enough for William Powell and Myrna Loy, it’s good enough for us.

So the sheets get changed today in between the clocks. Five clocks, change hers. Fix six clocks, change mine. By Christmas, they’ll all be done. Yes, the car clock as well.

By noon I will have changed the bags in the trash receptacles, cleaned the bird cage.

Yes, I’m stalling. Change, like everything else in a writer’s life, is about avoiding writing. I think I’ll go upstairs and change my underwear while you go and vote.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 


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