While most Americans will be watching football on New Year’s Day, many will be desperately trying to remember where they left their pants the night before. I haven’t been to a New Year’s Eve party in decades because, frankly, no one in their right mind would ever invite me twice. While there are definite advantages to being a senior citizen, I miss those days when I had the energy to make a complete fool of myself. Now I’m asleep long before the ball even begins to drop at Times Square.
People have been celebrating New Year’s Day for a very long time. In pre-Christian Rome, January 1st was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings. Later, New Year’s Day liturgically marked the “Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus.” I grew up a Catholic but never once heard of anyone celebrating circumcision. Anyone’s circumcision. Don’t get me wrong. Catholics get them. We just don’t talk about them.
As an altar boy in the 1950s, my friends and I would peruse books of various Catholic orders before mass and discuss which one we wanted to join. I chose Franciscans because you never go wrong with brown robes and sandals. The uniform is everything, which is why I enlisted in the Air Force. The Marines actually have the coolest uniforms but I never would have survived their basic training. In comparison, Air Force basic training is a lot like Cub Scouts without your mom waiting in the car.
Do people still make New Year’s resolutions? When you’re a newlywed you think it’s a clever way of convincing your wife you are capable of change. As if we men were ever smart enough to really deceive our wives. Women know men are genetically flawed but still keep us around only because they really, really hate taking out the garbage.
We all feel pressured this year to come up with believable New Year’s resolutions. If after racking your brain for weeks you’ve still got squat, you might want to look at mine. Here’s hoping it gives you a sense of direction:
Resolution #1: I will start putting on pants whenever I take out the garbage. It’s not that I forget but I just don’t care anymore.
Resolution #2: I will no longer staple an old photo of my wife’s to the target at the gun range. When my wife finally found out, she was only upset because she insists she had lost weight since that photo was taken and the lighting was all wrong.
Resolution #3: I will withdraw my claim that aliens abducted me in the Big and Tall Men’s department at the Coeur d’Alene K-Mart in 1980. To be honest, it was actually in Ladies Apparel but I swear I was shopping to surprise my wife.
Resolution #4: I will no longer make crank phone calls to readers posting anti-California comments in the Coeur d’Alene Press. While I have tried a plethora of accents to disguise myself, I haven’t fooled a single one of you. The world hasn’t been the same since “Caller ID.”
New Year’s Day is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the past year and foster optimistic hopes for the New Year. Most of my family believed the glass was half full, except for Uncle Bernie, who enjoyed whispering in my ear, “Tragedy is just a breath away.” This explains why he was never invited to family reunions.
Happy New Year! May all of your dreams come true in 2018.
Tom Neuhoff is a comedy writer in southern California.