Rick's List Positive Accentuation Edition

Last week's List was a death-soaked exercise in which I wheezed my way through a number of observations about turning 64. Folks, perhaps alarmed by the tone, were kind to reach out and tell me everything is gonna be OK, that in all likelihood the Reaper is still metaphorically pounding on doors in the older sections of town.

I appreciate that, but in reality I was only trying to put a comical spin on my new life as cover boy for the AARP catalog. And to answer more than one reader: No, my wife and I did not really go coffin shopping on my birthday — although I can think of less entertaining ways to spend an hour or two.

In the 1994 Bing Crosby musical comedy "Here Come the Waves" — which, along with "Under the Volcano," "El Topo" and "Platoon," is on my Mount Rushmore of Best Choices for Light-Hearted Movie Night — the keystone toe-tapper is an Arlen/Mercer classic called "Accentuate the Positive." Well, I've decided "Accentuate the Positive" is my new theme song. It replaces King Crimson's "Epitaph," which always soothed me with lines such as:

"The wall on which the prophets wrote is cracking at the seams

Upon the instruments of death, the sunlight brightly gleams

When every man is torn apart with nightmares and with dreams

Will no one lay the laurel wreath when silence drowns the screams?"

But! I do think it's important to do more than just think optimistically. I'm the sort of person who needs tangible reinforcement. As such, I'll feel better about myself and the future if:

1. Brightly-colored confetti falls tenderly upon me wherever I walk. Not if I'm just sitting in a chair, though, for an extended period.

2. Remember "paging"? Important people would be in the lobby of a fine hotel and a bellboy with one of those hats shaped like a hockey puck would enter and call out, "Paging Mr. Steinbeck! It's your publisher, Mr. Steinbeck! You've just won the Nobel Prize!" I want people to page me.

A. I can see it now: I'm at Fenway Park on Opening Day and there's a buoyant atmosphere of sunny pageantry. And just before they raise the latest World Series banner, announcer Dick Flavin's mellifluous voice comes over the PA. "Paging Rick Koster! Is there a Rick Koster here?"

B. Flaven lets me know my car's been towed.

3. As part of a new fitness regime, I climb Mt. Rushmore effortlessly. But wait! Now there are five heads! The National Park Service has added my head! (A replica of the image from the cover of the AARP catalog.) Confetti starts falling — but only on ME! Not those other guys.


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