Slow down, people!

In this year of 2008 presidential politics, when it’s only 2007, I’m finding it more of a challenge living in the “here and now.” Society seems to focus more on the “there and then” down the road. Asthe theme song of the first Clinton running for president exhorted, I won’t “stop thinking about tomorrow.” But a half a year from tomorrow is where I draw the line. Now Iowa may be moving its caucuses to December. Why is everybody in such a hurry?

New car models used to be introduced in October. Now it’s as early as January. This rush to the future instantly devalues the present as well as the future. An ’08 car in January ’07 makes ’07 already sound as old and tired as ’08 will seem 12 months hence. The new model year is hardly the big deal it used to be because we don’t really buy into it. Next year’s versions aren’t trumpeted the way they were in, say, 1968. That’s when a cloth over a new car would hide the future from us until we were good and ready, even eager, to lay eyes on it.

We may be too jaded these days to believe that a measly year will make our lives any different. But our cynicism might also derive from the fact that the future is being shoved down our throats to the point at which the future itself has lost its mystique.

On July 1, I heard someone on the radio already calling it “midsummer.” It seems like midsummer by July 1 because since late April it’s been previewed and advertised in hopes of snatching our pre-summer dollars.

By July 15, the dreaded “back to school” phrase slithered onto the airwaves. Pity the poor kids whose “how I spent half my summer vacation” papers are about the therapy sessions needed after listening to that incessantly. Whether school is on the horizon or in our distant past, August to September is still the most traumatic month transition there is, so why rush into it?

Not long after it actually is back to school time, the greeting card manufacturers would have us believe it’s Halloween.

You can tell when the real Halloween is over when Christmas cards start reminding us that yet another year is nearly shot -- an even scarier proposition.

More radio stations play only Christmas music as early as Nov. 1. But Christmas music on Christmas? By midday Dec. 25, like the needles from the soon-to-be stale pines, it’s already swept aside.

And before you can say “happy new year,” card shelves switch from St. Nick to St. Valentine.

Hallmark should just cut to the chase: “Happy We’ll All Be Dead Soon Day.”

Andy Cowan is a writer, producer and performer. His credits include “Cheers,” “Seinfeld” and “3rd Rock From the Sun.” Website: