Quote of the Day “New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.” —Mark Twain
Have you asked or been asked yet? “What are y’all doin for New Year’s?” It is no simple, innocent question; to the contrary it is a query fraught with uncertainty, tinged with suspicion, steeped in desperation. For on New Year’s Eve, more so than any other day, it is imperative to do something significant and memorable and to end the year on just the right, high note. To fail at New Year’s Eve is to leave a gaping blank space in the part of your memory where the really great times are stored. It is to leave yourself undefended in the face of the ultimate verbal dagger–“man, you shoulda been there”–able only to blank stare in return to your assailant’s slowly shaking head and contemptuously piteous eyes. It is to waste one of that small allotment of days scheduled from the moment of birth as optimum for experiencing pure joy and renewal. The pressure can be overwhelming. The ubiquitous question of the day is more than just a request for information or inspiration, it is a challenge.
As TB reflects on my own checkered New Year’s past, I recall a few good ones, a couple of bad ones, and to complete the cliche, they were most all ugly. But for many years my ARB’s and I redeemed our December 31 mediocrity with a New Year’s Day football, food and beer fest for the ages (not to mention a few infamous moonshine moments). Moderation on the night before could even become a virtue as it allowed one to arrive first to the party, thus claiming the most treasured chair and the honor of flicking the first foam across the room. Scoop was dominant in this category for many years. That party continues, sans Travellinbaen, but with the changes to the NCAA’s bowl system, it lost a bit of its luster.
TB misses attending these celebrations of all the major galaxies of the male world–gambling, debate, one-liners and gluttony. And I miss the occasional challenge to a foot race, or to drink a shot of beer each minute for as long as possible, or if there was moonshine that day, to tackle Waldo in a mudhole.
The crowd I run with these days has its own tradition. We go. In the last few years I’ve rung in the New Year in Kauai, Hawaii overlooking Poipu Beach during a tropical storm, in a hotel room next to the ski slopes in Park City, Utah eating pizza and drinking wine, and in a Breckenridge, Colorado, condo getting the timer of my digital camera to snap our picture at the moment the apple dropped in Times Square and the number “2008” flashed on the TV screen in the background. We watch the red stiletto drop in Key West each year. We discuss the whether to stay up until New Year’s local time, but always decide that once the New Year has reached the central time zone we can call it a night. On New Year’s Eve, we’ve yet to dance at midnight or drink to excess, or even to blow one of those horns that spits out the rolled up paper (what the hell are those called?), and I’ve eschewed football on TV on New Year’s Day in favor of more active pursuits. This year I’ll be at Beech Mountain in North Carolina with more beautiful girls in pajamas in one room than TB once thought possible. At 1, 4, and 7, three of the five don’t yet know the pressure of getting New Year’s right–simply staying up until midnight will be a rousing success for the latter, while the former two will be sensibly sound asleep. I liked it the old way. I like it the new way. But we don’t have a plan yet for New Year’s Eve nor Day. And we gotta do something. Or maybe we don’t. But I gotta decide. The pressure is on. What are y’all doin?