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Something about Friday, quitting time at work, is much like Christmas morning as a kid. Of course, nothing will compare with that, but the comparison stands in the sense of pleasant, pleasureful possibilities about to be had. And though it may be a movie, a romantic possibility, or music (a Jimmy Buffett concert or Little Feat -- it does take all kinds), it can be the high point of the week or, in the case of Christmas, the year. It might be something that has even kept you up for much of the night in expectation. At other times it is simply another day, especially for those, more and more common now, who will say of a Monday or a Wednesday, "Today is my Friday night." Is it just me, or is something sorely missing from these attempts at cheeriness and celebration? In other words, is there something about Friday that is inherently inviolate? Can it really be replaced with Thursday? Well, yes, it can. But it has a secondary ring to it, doesn't it? Rather like having your birthday come close to Christmas and claiming it makes no difference. I know. I am one of these unfortunate children. Weep for me.

But stop quickly because I have a job that relegates one night to me, places it, you might say, under my literary sway or, well, you might go so far as to call me Master of Friday Nights if you like or at least King of the Week, named after the goddess Freya, in an ancient sequence of days. I consider it an important job in the way that some San Diego weatherman must contrive to imagine their jobs important. Nothing at all wrong with this. Freud recommends it, after all. Joy in the job, that sort of thing. I am proud to, in a small sense, represent Friday night if for no other reason than without doubt, I look back on a lifetime of Friday nights with relish, fondness, let's see, excitement, even triumph (in a railroad track fistfight I had senior year in high school over a nice girl whom I have long since lost touch with) and a glorious, Austin Powers--type of gig on stage (Friday April 18, 1967? at the Aragon Ballroom) with the Ohio Express and the 1910 Fruit Gum Company. Wow, we were groovin' and I mean groovin'! And I once met Jimmy and Roslyn Carter hammering nails into a pretty good-looking house frame on a Friday afternoon about 12 years ago. All sorts of stuff. All sorts of stuff....

I suppose it's too bad that I don't really go out more than I should, considering my position and all. I mean, I don't have much of an idea what other people do on Friday nights. They go to a lot of ball games, I know, but I'm not really into it. I should probably delegate that sort of thing when they give me a staff and the corner office with window the publisher just has crammed up with books and stuff -- a lot of them in foreign languages. I could put my Black Oak Arkansas poster (collectors, $45: ace condition) right over his map of San Diego County with the distribution pins in it that no one pays attention to anyway.

For years as a bartender I was one of those guys who said, "This is my Friday night," meaning, naturally, any night except Friday. Bartending ruined me for a lot of things. For one, it invested me with a false sense of evening or twilight in general. For some years, that time of day once invested with a Carlos Castaneda type of mystical spirituality, was now redolent with a sense of party, license, anything goes, etc. In fact, somewhere along the line it infected me with the never really articulated idea that every night was supposed to be the best night of your life. Remember, this was the 1970s in Manhattan, during that crisis sensuality age -- much, I imagine, like the Battle of Britain in the '40s, but in this case that time when the forces of disco and punk cost so many of us, in our 20s, just kids really, our lives in one way or another. It also ruined me for the upbeat, health/nutrition/Save-the-Planet/We-are-the-World mentality that followed in the '80s and '90s. By then I had become an overweight and bleary-eyed misanthrope with a permanently fixed sneer where once there might have been a still-youthful and rakish promise of good-natured devilment.

To this day I remain, instead of any sort of party animal whatever, a neurotic recluse content with a book and the phone shut off. I sympathize terribly with my son, who at 28, has suffered several years of social life setbacks because of illness, and I am hardly anything like the social director and cheerleader he needs. His own shyness is a another major obstacle to what has become a sort of Sargasso of Friday nights around here.

So no matter how much fun it sounds like I'm rake-helling up for myself every week -- oh, and I know I can make it sound convincing, that cross between rocker Tommy Lee, the Rat Pack, Errol Flynn, Hugh Hefner, and the rest -- I guess I'm just Joe Six-Pack without even the six-pack when I'm behaving. And I'd better behave because of the death thing and all that. Still, stay tuned because I haven't exactly lost my reputation as a, well, say a wild nutbag with a nose for fun.

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