Happy New Year, faithful reader! I didn’t even bother to write reader in plural form considering that I update this about as frequently as I eat steel, which is never. I could say that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to write in this blog more, but it isn’t. I make the same three resolutions every year: eat better, exercise, and get over my paralyzing and hysteria-inducing fear of the Build-A-Bear workshop. Last year, I managed to do the former two by virtue of living in New York City and being a poor graduate student. I walked regularly because no one at school wanted to invest in a pedicab with me (jerks), and I was too destitute to afford food beyond a bag of frozen vegetables a week. But Build-A-Bear… if anything, the phobia has gotten worse. I will never set foot in their debaucherous den of sin.
So, New Years. I didn’t spend it in New York, certainly not Times Square, for a multitude of reasons. As a general note about New Years in Times Square, and this is especially relevant to this year– I just don’t enjoy hypothermia as much as other people do. I don’t care how many layers of adult sized footy pajamas and Slankets ® I wear or how much alcohol I have in my body, standing outside in the freezing cold for hours on end will always feel cold and uncomfortable, like a neutered polar bear. Even so, my main reason for avoiding Times Square is that I have a deep and genuine aversion to the overly symbolic Waterford crystal Times Square ball. This is surprising considering my Icarus-like love for bright and shiny objects. But every time I think about it, there are basically two mildly disturbing connotations the ball can take.
First and foremost, I don’t like the idea of having a symbol of pubescent manhood for New Years Rockin’ Eve. I certainly don’t want to see it in person. I often wonder what sicko decided that balls dropping would be a great way to ring in the New Year. Ball drop? Please. I-see-what-you-did-there, you sick bastard.
The second area of discomfort is the idea of having the most prominent symbol of the New Year also symbolize Americans “dropping the ball” as in, “You have seriously f*cked up in 2008, and here is a giant shiny object that, over the course of ten seconds, will symbolize yours and many others’ utter failure in life.” Maybe that’s looking into it too much. Maybe you have had an amazing year and I am projecting my ill will onto you. Alright, maybe I will concede that the preceding last sentence is entirely true.
But looking at this year’s events in general, the human race and American people sort of have majorly f*cked up in 2008. Can the US stock market go into negatives? Because as far as I can tell, we’re trying to make it happen. Israel/Palestine and India/Pakistan are a powder kegs, with powder not being the name of a delicious beer; there will be no camaraderie-building keg stands in these parts unless you want your arm shot off with an Uzi. Heath Ledger died and will be forever immortalized in my memory as a Joan Rivers-faced psychopath in The Dark Knight rather than the adorable rebel-with-a-soul Patrick Verona from Ten Things I Hate About You or Jake Gyllenhal’s little spoon in Brokeback Mountain. A sixty degree day in December has me convinced that Al Gorestradamus was right and the world really is ending in 2012 because I didn’t buy a Toyota Prius. The American gymnastics team got crushed by a ragtag group of Chinese kindergartners. The tragedy goes on and on.
It has been a rough year for the United States and the world at large, and I don’t need a giant crystal ball to further motivate me to find pessimistic symbolism considering that I do this on a regular basis. On a more positive note, I guess you can use the election of Obama as a trump card for all things awful, kind of like how the Hellen Keller card is an automatic win in Apples to Apples. Here’s to more Hellen Keller cards in 2009. Happy New Year, everyone.