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Bubba looks to the calendar with an attitude - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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Bubba looks to the calendar with an attitude

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Posted: Friday, January 22, 2010 12:00 am

I was beginning to think my pal Bubba Gravelhauler had forgotten our longtime tradition of having a longneck or two to kick around the year past and speculate about the upcoming year.

But almost three weeks into 2010, we managed to get together at, where else, the Crawl On Inn.

Generally, Bubba has been inclined to think of a new year as a time when his luck will change and he can discard all the bad things that happened to him in the past year. I’ve referred to him as an optimistic pessimist during previous new year’s discussions.

So I was prepared for our usual ritual, drowning the 2009 sorrows with the first couple of longnecks and gradually shifting to a better mood as the evening wears on.

But my pal seemed to be a bit subdued right from the start. I asked why he hadn’t called earlier for the new year tradition.

"Oh, I been busy," he said. "Things are pickin’ up in the oil patch, you know."

"Well, that’s got to be a reason to look forward to 2010, isn’t it?"

He shrugged and replied, "Sure, I’d love to have another boom before I call it quits. Ain’t got that much time to retirement, but some nice commissions on the way out would float my boat. Not that I’m sayin’ we got a boom on the way ’cause I might jinx it, if you know what I mean."

I was well aware of his superstitious nature. "So you’re actually pretending to be in a gloomy mood, just in case?"

"Nope," he shot back, "I ain’t exactly thrilled over how it’s gone so far this year."

"How so?"

"Well, for one thing, my Longhorns got beat. And then the Cowboys just got destroyed."

I smiled and said, "Hey, that’s a small part of the overall picture. Sports are to help us escape from the reality of the old, cold world."

Bubba shook his head. "You seem to forget that they’re an investment for me. And even though both of ’em was gettin’ points, I’m deep in the hole and it ain’t even Super Bowl time yet."

"Yeah, but look at it all in relative nature. We’re a heckuva lot better off that the people in Haiti. In fact, we were better off than them even before the earthquake hit. Plus, we rode out the recession here in a lot better shape than most of the rest of the United States. And with more drilling and the deal out at Penwell on the way, you can still count on some good times in your line of work. Besides, I know you’ve probably got numbers on several Super Bowl boards. If any of them come up, you cut your Horns and Cowboys losses."

Bubba nodded and even managed a smile. "I guess you’re right, but I ain’t countin’ no chickens. But maybe 2010 will get better."

I had to leave, but first I congratulated my buddy on his different attitude this year. He’s definitely a pessimistic optimist this time around.

Odessa, TX

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