An editorial / By Dale McFeatters
Scripps Howard News Service
December 29, 2006
New Year's is not a celestial event like the solstices and the equinoxes. It is of no particular religious or historical significance. It marks an arbitrary change in the calendar; it could just as easily be some other date.
New Year's Eve is a peculiarly forced and joyless occasion that one doesn't so much celebrate as survive. It has odd rituals like the masses who cram into Times Square and stand chilled and numb for hours to watch an illuminated ball for 10 seconds.
New Year's Eve even has a semiofficial costume - a really stupid-looking party hat. Be honest: You hate noisemakers.
Then everybody sings "Auld Lang Syne," a song of whose lyrics and meaning no one is really clear. You will not sing it again, or even think about it, until this time next year.
We are urged to cast restraint to the winds and make merry and then navigate home while hoping not to run into a police roadblock.
And then there's the custom of making resolutions that people in their heart of hearts know won't last past midmonth. Having been urged by the holiday entertaining sections to clog your arteries, you are now subject to the media burst of annoyingly perky tips on weight loss.
The newspapers run pieces on the biggest stories of 2006 and you discover you've forgotten all about most of them. "That all seems to have happened a long time ago," you tell yourself, even while remarking how fast the year has gone by.
New Year's Eve is followed by New Year's Day, a federal holiday that brings joy to wives and girlfriends everywhere for its nonstop football. The day also officially begins two months of what in most of the country is the year's most miserable weather.
On Jan. 2 you have to go back to work.
All that aside, have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
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