Monday, January 02, 2012

Mockin' New Year's Eve

Happy New Year. Or here's to hoping, anyway.

We opted to do the same thing this December 31st as last...very little. Remember when you were young and might not have had all your New Year's Eve plans in tight order by mid-December? You'd be considered a loser, so to save face you'd pay $100 for a ticket to get into some club that on any other night you would not be caught dead in. You'd dress up fancy-schmancy and the band would nearly deafen you with covers likely not played since the previous New Year's Eve and would probably not be heard again for another 365 days. The food was only slightly better than that of an army chow line, but hey, it was New Year's Eve, so who'd complain? That "complimentary" glass of champagne at midnight could not have come soon enough. Fun times.

I guess what made those evenings tolerable or even, dare I say, desirable were the people. When you're together with those whom you want to be around, life's a "can't miss". The people may change, but the idea does not and I assume that's why my wife and I are now content with enjoying December 31st with our kids. We are completely cognizant of the fact that a few years hence, our children will want to have nothing to do with mom and dad on New Year's Eve, so we'll enjoy it while we can.

New Year's Eve has always been caught between trying to be something like a party for the youth (and young at heart) and something meaningful for the grown-ups. Why else would ABC insist upon having Ryan Seacrest roll out world's oldest teenager Dick Clark year after year? I'm fully aware that Dick invented the Times Square New Year's Rockin' Eve concept and deserves honor for it, but post-stroke Dick just makes his audience uncomfortable and feeling awkward. And if I wanted uncomfortable and awkward on the last evening of the year, I'd dress up for the $100 hole-in-the-wall nightclub experience all over again. That'll be quite enough of that, ABC.

"Should old acquaintance be forgot.."?  Dick, your Nosferatu impression is scaring the children!

In hindsight, I would have been more gratified had the television remained off all evening. Up until then, I was doing well at Monopoly and cleaned up in Popomatic Trouble. The chess loss at the hands of my son will be hard to live down, but c'est la vie. But think what we would have missed had the TV stayed off. Justin Bieber looking more like the 70's Mattel Ken doll. The over-celebrated Lady Gaga, who could only get more ridiculous if she came out on stage and disemboweled herself. On NBC, Cee Lo Green's rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine" was not only the worst performance of the song ever, he changed the words to include all religions, which is sort of the polar opposite to the ballad's intended meaning. Dreams die hard, I guess. And why did the networks keep breaking away from the national telecast from Times Square to local coverage of some hokey talent-starved nonsense akin to a primary school Christmas concert? I suppose we are all so giddy on December 31st that we are expected to fall for anything.

The New Year is a time to reflect and consider the changes we want to make in our lives to better ourselves, our relationships, and the world we live in. When I reflect, I often think of the final words of "Desiderata", which I first read upon the shithouse wall at a friend's cottage some 20 years ago and have since committed to memory. "And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."