I hate New Year's. In fact I hate the whole concept of a new year. But it's too late to question it now, since I have seen 53 of them in my life time.
New Year's Eve is the most over-rated, over-hyped night of all time. It's a night of crazy behavior, reckless drinking and way too much public kissing. You would think a guy like me, who has been married twice, wouldn't mind kissing in public. (I was a child bride at 20.) But I can tell you, positively, that I'm not a fan. Kissing in public bothers me. It's a personal thing between two people -- unless of course, you wandered into the wrong kind of party.
If you are going to a house party, you'll need to bring a ring of pepperoni and cheese, and a gift for the host, plus whatever you are planning to drink.
If you are going to a sponsored event, say at a fraternal organization, you'll need tickets that cost a pretty penny. You'll also need a new dress and a clean suit and tie, while forcing yourself once again into thinking that you are having a good time.
But not for me, not for this old cowboy. I found out how to have a good time on New Year's Eve without it costing you a dime. You stay home. Not a new concept, but you can hide from the New Year's freaks, who still think it's a big deal that another year has passed along. Plus, I don't have to kiss anybody in front of a thousand people.
I get to celebrate with my three favorite things -- my wife, my dog and my TV. I can ring the freaking New Year in every time zone, thanks to CNN. I can wear what I normally wear around the house -- sweatpants and an old T-shirt. Heck, I can wear an adult brief and a top hat while walking around as if I were the New Year's baby if I wanted to. That's the beauty of staying the heck home.
There will be no awkward small talk. I'll have snack food, sparkling grape juice and, hopefully, a "Three Stooges" marathon. Why the Stooges are big on New Year's is beyond my reasoning. All I know is that it works. Personally, I hope they throw in a few Shemp's. He always killed me. As you can see, I'm not into intellectual pursuits on New Year's.
The reasoning behind New Year's is, of course, the Gregorian calendar. Starting a New Year in the middle of winter is not my idea of party time, but what do I know, I threw up on a bed full of coats at a New Year's party once. Another good reason to stay at home -- I've been black-listed.
The good news is that we don't have to deal with Dick Clark this year, since he died last April. Thank God, the last few years with Dick have been painful, seeing him in that drool bib.
On New Year's Day, I'll be watching football and eating ham as if I raised and slaughtered it myself. I used to watch NHL's Winter Classic, but the hockey players are involved in a management lock-out. Way to screw up my New Year's tradition of taking a nap in the second period.
I hate being negative, but New Year's just doesn't cut it for me. So I hang in my cloister. I shun the revelry and the hangovers. And I contemplate what New Year's is all about.
It's the fact that another year has gone by. It's a time for remembering the past year and those who have left us. It's a time of promise that this year will be different. Yes, this IS the year I make something out of myself.
New Year's, with all of its excuses for getting drunk, raising heck and kissing in public is all a smoke screen for what's really going on: Reflection. Enjoy your time with family if you can. And make those resolutions just so you can feel like a failure by Jan. 15.
Happy New Year!
Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer who used to ring in the New Year with Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians.