New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays where people are expected to have a great time. The collective expectation of having a really great time drives people to excess consumption to demonstrate that they are indeed having a fabulous evening. This display of fun is manifested in Times Square, where people jump up and down and yell. It is, after all, New York. People are outside in freezing weather, and the rest of the country must be shown how to party.
For me, New Year’s Eve this year was not so very different from previous years. I managed to get invited to a party. Once inside, I made a beeline for a bowl of chips and dip. Judging by the speed at which I gorged myself, those were the best chips and dip on earth. I vacuumed them up like a crime scene investigator. The first 30 seconds I ate much like a civilized human. I dipped one chip at a time and then chewed thoughtfully, as if trying to remember stanzas from a poem. This inevitably progressed to a two-fisted stuffing of naked, un-dipped chips at a furious pace.
My posture was no less shameful: hunched over the bowl like a mother bear watching her cubs hunt for salmon in an Alaskan stream. A quick snarl deterred any potential intruders. I quickly regretted my over-indulgence. There was this weird headache, caused primarily by the absence of anything of any nutritional value in my system. I tried reading the ingredients on the bag of chips. This evening was the first and last time I wished I had been privileged enough to taken organic chemistry in college. I vaguely recall that several industrial solvents were included on the back panel, along with cottonseed oil. Heck, benzene on your chips might tweak your unborn children, but darn it tastes good. Good taste is vital at social gatherings. It also guarantees that insects won’t eat the chips before the humans do.
Then there was the traditional standing around the party wearing a silly pointy hat. Naturally, the hat was one-size-fits-hardly-anyone. It attached with one of those rubber band chin straps that really hurts if you accidentally snap it against your chin. Magically, a glass of champagne appeared in my hand, followed by another.
I started thinking about how I wanted this year to be my year, a year that would absolutely be mentioned in the A& E biography of me, in the incredibly unlikely event they ran out of celebrities to do profiles of and plucked me out of the depths of obscurity 25 years from now. The hostess of the party approached me and asked if I had any resolutions for the new year. I allowed the champagne to act as my spokesperson. “Well, I’m remodeling my bathroom in three weeks. It would be nice to have a girlfriend so I could sleep at her place while the work is being done.” She excused herself to go check on the Swedish Meatballs in the oven.
Resolutions are wonderful at the start of the year. This time I was determined to get some positive results on the dating front. The real world is still a scary place, so I decided to go on-line to find my true love. Love in cyberspace has two rules: first, no one can hear you scream, and second, you are whoever you say you are until exposed otherwise. For example, a woman of 37 admitted in her essay that in fact she is 40. I am sympathetic to the competitive disadvantage she perceives in the dating world by virtue of her age. Maybe it’s not a good sign when the first thing you know about your soul mate is that truth is optional. How much should be revealed in the dating promotional ad and how much information should be parceled out in combat, I mean upon dating? Clearly, saying in your personal ad that lunacy runs in the family is technically true but likely to scare off the customers. My choice of pictures shows me in a good light. I don’t use that light anymore because it shines on my bald spot. Bald spot and all, this is still going to be my year.
by Gene Feldman