My Boring Life - Part I
New Year's Eve
If you like pointed hats, confetti, and cocktails,
then I suggest you not read any further; for I am the Ebenezer Scrooge
of New Year's Eve. If there were such things as ghosts of New Year's
past, present and future, they certainly would have haunted me by now.
I suppose it all began somewhere back in my childhood.
Being subjected to Lawrence Welk, Guy Lombardo or whoever it was that
entertained the masses on New Year's Eve long ago, I'm certain set the
stage for what was to become a life-long dread of New Year's Eve. Well,
maybe "dread" is the wrong word. Maybe I'm just jaded, but somehow
watching zillions of people watching a ball drop (oh, yes I know it's an
apple now or should be) at the stroke of midnight on New Year's eve just
seems a bit ridiculous. It makes me want to scream "Get a life!" If you
know what I mean. I'm sure all those New Yorkers who hoot and kiss in
Times Square on New Year's Eve would chortle uncontrollably if they ever
spent a day living my boring life.
Walk a mile in my shoes New Yorkers and you'd die of
boredom I'm certain of it! No Orange Julius, no $240.00 dinners, no
skyscrapers (the highest building in my town is the courthouse is about
93 feet tall), no "escort service", no revolving doors, not a single
escalator and only one elevator in my little town. Plus, I might
actually say "Hi" to people I pass on the street (oh no!). Awful, just
awful, isn't it? Can you even spell B
G in New York?
Keep in mind that I live in a rural area of northern
Ohio, where a shopping trip to Wal-mart is considered entertainment and
eating dinner at KFC is considered a big night out, especially if you
have those new dippers with the hot sauce.
The big local hangouts for those under thirty are the
"Office Bar" and "Bluto's" and I'm not kidding! For most of us
small-town folk over thirty, the sidewalks roll up at dark - and this
time of year the it gets REALLY DARK, REALLY EARLY. A "New Yorker" I'm
not. But, you know what? As boring as my life is, I like it and that's
all that matters to me. I'm not made for revolving doors, hot dog carts,
and Orange Julius. I sure don't have $10,000 to pay for an Escort
Service. The only escort service we have in my little town is at the
local car repair shop. We don't have those things here. I think the
nearest revolving door is in Cleveland - but I'm not sure they are there
anymore either since the downtown department stores have all gone belly
up. I don't like hot dogs unless they are connected with a baseball game
and if Orange Julius lives in my town I am not aware of it. I'm sorry
Julius. So, New Yorkers, I have a life even if you don't think I do. I
think therefore I have a life?
When I was a kid, midnight was a rather mysterious
event. I only saw it once a year. And, you guessed it, that once a year
was New Year's Eve. I can remember thinking that strange things must
happen at midnight. Ghouls and other creepies must awaken then to
terrorize all those who venture out at that odd hour. But on New Year's
Eve, there are sooooooo many people awake at midnight. No doubt these
millions were kept awake by the exciting showmanship of Lawrence Welk or
Guy Lombardo, or whoever graced the television screens in those days -
gosh, I'm showing my old age! Perhaps the lilting accent of Lawrence
Welk or the squealing of Guy Lombardo's orchestra's muted trumpet kept
the goblins and ghosties at bay. I bet didn't dare venture out at their
favored hour - Lawrence Welk? Guy Lombardo? These annoying people no
doubt kept Goblins and ghosts home on New Year's eve, because when I
went out at midnight to hear the neighbor shoot his 12-gauge shotgun at
midnight, there were no scary things floating about at all. Just a lot
of noise. New Year's Eve was the only midnight hour I was ever allowed
to see. I could only assume that the spooky spirits resumed their
nightly hauntings the following night and every night - except for New
Year's Eve. I was glad for that. Maybe secretly I was also glad for
Many nights, unbeknownst to my parents, I would awaken
at 2:00 or 3:00AM (an ungodly quiet hour for a child) and in the winter
I would wish for the furnace to come on to make some noise to mask the
sounds of the ghouls and goblins I imagined were skulking in the night
just outside my bedroom window. I had a transistor radio in those days
too. A prized possession. But, in those days at 3:00AM there was nothing
on the air but static (and occasionally WLS in Chicago which
infrequently could be heard in my little town). That was fine. The
furnace and the radio worked fine for masking the sounds of a child's
In the summer, though, the transistor radio's static
was the only noise I could find to mask the sounds of creepy things. I
used to stick the thing (the transistor radio!) under my pillow and
listen to the static unless WLS was coming in good that night. I'd fall
asleep to the static, certain that unimaginable creatures lurked
furtively in the quiet hours of the night making weird noises and trying
to scare little boys like me. I actually liked the sound of the furnace
better than static, though. But, both served their purposes. They masked
the sounds of the dark and fearsome things that stalked all children who
dared to be awake in those wee adult hours of the morning.
Yes, indeed midnight is a strange thing to a child
with a wild and unbridled imagination. Even so, getting to stay up
until midnight was a treat back then.
I'm grown-up now. I'm old. My childhood just a memory.
Midnight is just another hour. No creepy weird things floating just
outside my window anymore. No specters, no ghosts, no apparitions; no
mysteries at all - just the silent darkness in the quiet hours - alone
with my grown-up thoughts.
These days we don't have to subject our children to
Lawrence Welk, Guy Lombardo, or whoever entertained my grandparents and
parents (and bored me to death) in those days. We have Dick Clark and
"New Year's Rockin' Eve" - although Dick is to sick to host it anymore -
we get Ryan Seacrest now. We have giant apples falling down poles in
Times Square and zillions of people jumping around and grinning as the
camera pans the crowd - all, seemingly, with nothing better to do than
watch a "big apple" glide down a pole and pronounce one day ended and
another began. And, millions watch this on TV. Even my friends and
acquaintances watch the apple fall down the pole. Where's the remote?
What's on the History Channel? Spare me New York, Times Square, and the
giant apple. New Year's Eve? Bah Humbug!
Not to be outdone by New York, there's a little town
not far from me called Port Clinton. And it's quite a raucous place in
the summertime. But in the winter, it's freezing, damp, nearly deserted,
and quiet. Quiet, that is, until New Year's Eve. Port Clinton is in
close proximity to the Lake Erie Islands (Kelley's, Put-In-Bay,
Rattlesnake, Middle Bass, Pelee, et. al) and hence it's a summertime
hotspot (no pun intended) for boaters, party-animals, and anyone who
seeks a wild, semi-uninhibited time on the wild, jumpin' islands
smack-dab in the middle of Lake Erie.
each New Year's Eve, the residents of Port Clinton, gather to watch a
Walleye (cleverly named "Captain Wylie Walleye") glide down a pole at
midnight. A Walleye is a fish. It is a fish that attracts a great many
fisherman to Lake Erie, particularly the Western Basin. Somehow, no
matter how odd this sounds to you, I'd rather watch a six hundred pound,
fiberglass Walleye named Captain Wylie Walleye glide down a pole in Port
Clinton, in the bitter winter winds off Lake Erie (surrounded, no doubt,
by non-cool people like myself) than I would watch a fiberglass, glass,
or crystal, apple slink its way down a pole in Times Square; lost in New
York City surrounded by beautiful people, most of whom will be totally
snookered by the time the apple begins to fall. Heck, I'd even rather
watch "the pickle" drop in Dillsburg, Pa..
Given my druthers though, I'd "druther" watch "The
Secret Life of Bun Candy Bars" on the Food Channel or "Mythbusters" on
the Discovery Channel. Hey, it's my boring life and I can do any boring
thing I want!
(Someone just corrected me, they said a ball comes
down the pole in New York, not an apple. I wouldn't know, it's been
decades since I was forced to watch it! And, someone told me that the
ball was made of crystal. The should have taken the money they must have
spent on the "crystal ball" and fed some of New York's hungry kids. I
bet for what that ball cost they could have fed a lot of kids.)
No matter what you choose to do on New Year's Eve,
it's fine with me. I'm perfectly happy with my boring little life in
this small-town in northern Ohio. I'll grab some
Dei Fratelli Salsa (you should try it!), some fresh white corn
tortilla chips, and swig down a couple of Diet Cokes (with Splendaź,
mind you) while watching "Quincy" or "Everybody Loves Raymond" on DVD.
Or maybe I'll just read a good John Grisham or Nelson DeMille book. But
I'll betcha I'm asleep on the couch before midnight. The New Year will
be waiting when I get up. I won't have a hangover, that's for sure. Nor
will I have any embarrassing memories. At least, I hope not!
But, it seems that some people just need an excuse to
party. New Year's Eve and Saint Patrick's Day come to mind as some of
the best excuses to revel in excess. How much does the good Saint
Patrick have to do with Saint Patrick's Day? I'm almost certain he
didn't invent green beer or any other color of beer. But, if you want to
party, go ahead. Any day will do. You don't need to have your party
certified by the masses do you?
Whether you decide to watch the ball drop on TV or go
to New York to watch; or venture to Port Clinton, Ohio to watch the
walleye fall into the new year, you'll still get up the next day, on
January 1st, in the New Year and realize that the "Holiday Season" is
over and it's back to normal until next December. To me that's kind of
And, sometimes New Year's Eve brings with it the
morose thought that I'm one year closer to my own demise. Certainly not
something I want to celebrate. I mean who likes to dwell on their own
mortality? Who needs to be reminded? Not me!
While I'm a big fan of Christmas, I am not a fan of
New Year's Eve. It's too noisy and phony for me. Scientifically the
earth has made one more trip around the sun. The date of "New Year's
Day" was arbitrarily assigned by man. Different cultures and different
religions have different dates for New Year's Day. New Year's Eve? Bah!
If you are a New Year's Eve fan; that's great. If you
want to grab your pointed party hat, hoo-hoo horn, streamers, confetti,
Glenfiddich and spring water - and festively honk and party your way
into the New Year, that's wonderful! More power to you! I just wont be
hoo-hooing with you.
And, if you're one of the ones who feel left out of it
all; out-of-synch with the masses as you gaze upon the beautiful people
with their permasmiles flashing - hooting and hollering in Times Square
or partying in Beverly Hills - just think of me. I'll be having a quiet
New Year's Eve here in small town Ohio. I will give "New Year's Eve" as
little thought as possible.
But one thing for sure: As boring as it will seem to
many who probably feel sorry for me by now, I will enjoy it. I will
enjoy it as much as any other relaxing evening. And just maybe there's
more people like me than I thought. And if so, perhaps we are the
majority who think New Year's Eve is more hype than substance; more of
an excuse to party than a celebration of a new year.
New Year's Eve is just another day in my boring life.
But, my boring life is just how I want it to be.
Happy New Year to you. May all your dreams come true
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