MONTE DUTTON - MIGHT AS WELL GIVE IT A TRY
Bear with me. I’ve got a point to make, but it’s going to take some finagling. On Sunday, I’ll be three weeks’ worth of 60. It took this long for me to notice. Sixty was just a number, not a check point. I guess I didn’t notice until last night. When I went to sleep, I thought I felt satisfied. I had just finished writing a story of which I was proud. I’m excited about a change on the horizon, but there’s a trace of panic in the furrowed fields of my mind. Such things take time, and I’m ready to go. I feel like a bucking horse waiting to get out of a stall, except that I’m too old to buck. The arthritic knees have been acting up.
I’ve been dreaming so much that I can barely tell whether I’m asleep or awake. I don’t have nightmares. I have pessimistic dreams that my soul accepts calmly. They’d probably be nightmares were I younger. I don’t feel threatened; I feel resigned to my fate.
My novels are going to be wildly popular, but only after I die. It’s going to take death to get more people to read them. It’s a harsh reality for a man to question whether he’s worth more dead than alive. The past five years have been governed by a new, three-word rule.
Nothing. Ever. Works. It’s the same basic plot as modern NASCAR.
It’s become the quixotic goal of my life to disprove it. The world is disappearing in the distance like Kyle Busch’s Toyota. Yet things are looking up. Peace and prosperity are just ahead. Always.
Which brings me to Matt Kenseth. The 2003 Winston Cup champion left last year for no apparent reason other than he cost too much. He left as if thieved in the night. Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Pinto the Wonder Horse are gone, too. Okay, the last was just a character in a Tom T. Hall song, but the analogy is legit.
It is known that Kenseth will share Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford with Trevor Bayne. His schedule has not yet been announced, but he’s coming back. The man who has been both champion and rookie of the year, won the Daytona 500, IROC, 39 Cup races and every unofficial one ever conducted in the pursuit of deadpan humor is answering the call of fans who are reluctant to leap off into the brave, new world without the occasional reminder of the past.
The Monster Energy Cup Series just roared out of Bristol and Martinsville and is headed for Talladega. An alarmingly small number of humans noticed. Kenseth is coming back. It could only help and can’t possibly hurt.
I’m as excited as a man who wrote the words above could possibly be.