Happy New Year to all of you! This is the time of year when we reflect on the year that has passed, and look forward to the year we are heralding in. I have successfully heralded in the first couple weeks and I am looking to get ahead now in my heralding.
The media are awash with the images of those we have lost over the previous 365 days, not counting GPS malfunctions. They dissolve across the screen one by one, and every year, invariably, you say, “WHAT? He’s not dead yet? I thought he’s been dead for 20 years!” I could swear that Abe Vigoda died for seven years straight. They left us way too soon. They will be missed.
Stories that dominated the news are re-hashed, like dorm room brownies. The Arab uprisings, the crazy weather, the tsunami in Japan; this is the time to sigh and say, in spite of it all, we made it through another year. Except for the poor bastards listed above, and possibly Abe Vigoda. By the way, when I die, I don’t want to leave us way too soon. I want people to say, “He hung around about 20 years too long, and not only that but my purse is missing.” I do want to be missed, though, especially if my death is to be by firing squad. Sometimes I think about my existence and I start to wonder if I will ever get out alive.
Thanks to last year’s resolution, I watched more news, and I’m sorry I did. I finally learned how to say ACK-MA-JIN-a-DAD, the Iranian leader, although I still have not learned how to spell it. Every year around this time there is a special re-cap just for ACK-MA-JIN-a-DAD, where he blames homosexuals for many of the world’s problems (especially homosexuality). This undoubtedly signifies that he himself is a homosexual, under the “He Who Denied It, Supplied It” rule. But over there they don’t have any republicans to try to root out all the skeletons, which remain in the closet along with the homosexuals. Even ACK-MA-JIN-a-DAD’s father, ACK-MA-JIN-a-GRAND-DAD, doesn’t know the real truth.
We take a moment to relive the weird news stories from 2011- Maybe a kid who had a pencil lodged in his ear and still completed his SAT. Or a cat who walked 1,500 miles back to his owner’s house, a huge inconvenience since now the owner has to drive even FARTHER or maybe schedule a trip to Hawaii scrunched on a plane with a cat for 22 hours.
And of course, it is a time for resolutions: a simple phrase that will completely change our lives for two or three weeks. There are the obvious ones: “This year I am finally going to quit smoking!” Whenever there’s a fire and someone dies of smoke inhalation I start to wonder if smoking is really safe.
Getting in shape ranks high on the annual list. Every year from January 2nd (my gym is closed on New Year’s Day) to about the 12th the fitness room is teeming with new members doing 36 reps at each machine, at a weight of ten pounds. They are like ants, only with a larger thorax. My wife calls them the “resolutionaries,” and they bring all the gravity and dedication of a high school Starbucks barista. You know exactly who they are because they are fat, but to their defense, they only work out two weeks a year.
Many people aspire to diet. On Regis & Kelly, a nutritionist comes on to tell you how to make “healthy food swaps.” Instead of a pizza, try a paper plate with tofu with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on it. Even less calories if you eat the paper plate. One bagel is worth 12 English muffins except in England, where the pound is so high. Forsake the Frosted Flakes, and start your day with curds & whey. Did you ever see a picture of Little Miss Muffet with a big tuffet?
I asked my wife to poll her Facebook friends and find out what their resolutions are. Jim promises to be nicer to animals. Yeah, when they start being nicer to us. One of our new kittens has adopted the attitude that, in return for reducing every stick of furniture in the house to a pile of random molecules and scratching our bodies so that it looks like we just played kickball in a field of bramble bushes, it will pose for royalty-free photographs in which its eyes are the color of a neon Budweiser sign and sit on our lap at the most inconvenient moments in order to point out our weaknesses.
Jenn wants to “Sell my house and meet the man of my dreams, not necessarily in that order.” I believe that getting a new house should also be a priority, since it is not advisable to meet the man of your dreams at a homeless shelter.
Mimi wants to do the Broad Street Run in Philly this year. I am training for it also, but I will do it widthwise instead of lengthwise.
Obama has yet to respond.
As for me? This year I resolve to take better photographs. My New Year’s resolution is 30 megapixels.
Incidentally, every year I hate trying to sing Auld Lang Syne, when all you know is the first line, kind of like trying to sing Oye Como Va. The song is of Scottish origin, credited to Robert Burns, although it is widely known that he either adapted it from an old folk song or copied it from the Encyclopedia Britannica. Once you know the lyrics it doesn’t get that much easier. The chorus, “For auld lang syne, my jo” might be translated to mean, “For old time’s sake, my dear.” And even if old acquaintance be forgot, do not forget the word “jo,” for I guarantee you it will win you a game of Scrabble.