New Year? When Did That Happen? (tf)

New Year’s is one of those holiday’s when people demand that you have fun. So just like on Halloween night, which I spend in my basement watching TV, eating candy meant for others, and ignoring my doorbell, on New Year’s (eve of course) I set out to have absolutely no “traditional” fun whatsoever. Just for spite.

It’s not that I dislike fun. I think fun is as much fun as the next person. I just like to have it on my own terms. You can’t just shove me in a room filled with people wearing stupid hats and say “have fun”. Well, you used to be able to, but my caloric intake was mostly liquid in those days. Now I’m older, presumably wiser, and largely dry. I like a warm fire, a couch, football on a big screen TV, a good book to read during the commercials, and a large supply of cold diet coke (cans). And then to cap things off, crawling into a warm bed covered by one of those fluffy comforters.

Permit me a bit of a story here.

The last time I suffered through conventional New Year’s Eve frivolity was more than 20 years ago. Another life really. I was visiting a friend in Philadelphia and we were invited to a party. The usual fare. Keg in the tub. Bottles of booze lined up on the counter. Self serve. Food was the finger variety. Horrible dance music was on the stereo. Football game on the TV with the sound turned down. It was the time of large hair…..and all the girls looked liked extras in a heavy metal video. They all seemed to have dates….large guys with mullets and  no necks wearing golf shirts two sizes too small, who all talked like they were deaf. The place reeked of hair-spray, cheap cologne, cheez-whiz, and smoke. Other than my friend, I knew not a single soul. Scanning the room I did not consider this a bad thing.

I was bored out of my mind. So I upped my liquid intake. Dramatically. It seemed sensible at the time. Everything was free after all, and it gave me something to do. The plan of course was to stay at least until the “ball dropped”, that wretched spectacle that they drag poor Dick Clark out for every year. I had a couple of hours to kill. I needed to brace myself for the hokum.

The next thing I was aware of was someone banging on a door. I was in the bathroom. On the floor. Very comfortable actually, but a bit out of sorts. With the keg on ice in the tub, the bathroom was of course pulling double duty. Folks weren’t happy about the semi-passed-out stranger (“He’s from Scranton?”, I remember somebody saying. “Jeez, no wonder he’s on the damn floor.”)  keeping them from both emptying and filling up their bladders. My friend was called in to deal with this. I vaguely remembered that we had walked to the party. Blocks and blocks of city streets. Obviously it was time for me to leave. I hoped somebody would air-lift me to my bed.

I made it. Apparently my friend both carried and dragged me….much like a soldier hauling a wounded man from the front lines. Nobody volunteered to help, no surprise since my vocabulary was reaching epic heights of indignation as we were escorted to the door.

My next recollection was having the sheets of the bed changed while I was still in the bed. Never a good sign.

Needless to say, I never saw the ball drop.

The next morning I thought I was dead and in hell.

It was dark outside before I realized I was not dead. At that realization I suddenly felt like an idiot.

Since that New Year’s, there has been other times that I’ve missed the ball drop. But that was because I was asleep.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on December 24, 2010.

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