Peter Chianca: 3 … 2 … 1 … Happy New (Yawn)!
Now that I’ve finally accepted the fact that I’m finished with New Year’s Eve, I think it’s only appropriate they abolish it. Who do I talk to about that?
After all, it was only a matter of time before I realized my days of truly wild, wacky New Year’s Eves -- marked by dancing, singing and waking up the next day to find a tattoo of Dick Clark on my pectoral region -- were over. It’s a sad day when that comes to you, like the day you realize you can no longer eat Big Macs without risking all-out mutiny on the part of your abdominal cavity.
Not that I didn’t have some fun-filled New Year’s Eves in my day. The best parties probably happened in college, when it’s still acceptable for a host to dispense with such trappings as champagne punch, string quartets and machines that emit bubbles, focusing rather on tremendous metal containers of Schlitz.
At a party my roommates and I hosted my junior year, I recall we also provided about 300 metric tons of confetti, a poor choice given that we were in college and thus didn’t own a vacuum cleaner, or a broom, or even a garbage pail that I can recall. We simply figured it wasn’t New Year’s Eve unless you threw something in the air at midnight and didn’t want a repeat of what happened the previous year, when we chose our friend Dave.
Unfortunately, the New Year’s parties you have after college are never quite as good, although for a few years you can buoy their energy level by pretending you’re still in college, and that the entry-level job you go to is really just a very long course on Xeroxing. (If you try hard enough you can actually keep this up until you’re about 27.)
I was able to throw some pretty good New Year’s parties in my various apartments under this pretense, although looking back the signs of aging can be clearly traced via the crowd reaction to my midnight mix tapes — specifically the transition of “Sweet Caroline” to “Love Shack.” A quick timeline of said reaction follows:
Junior year college: Uproar of the kind typically reserved for Colombian soccer matches, rending of garments, dancing on tables, dressers, refrigerators, etc., swinging from imaginary chandeliers.
Three years out: General elation, lively dance moves, a few wild characters get up on the coffee table.
Six years out: Wistful sighs, slight hip movements, a quizzical look flashes across some people’s faces, like they’re wondering where the coats are.
That’s when you know it’s time to move on from the house party scene. Unfortunately, that’s also when you realize the desperate acts you’re capable of when it’s mid-December and you have yet to solidify your plans for any serious, albeit adult, New Year’s Eve fun. If you’re not careful, you wind up taking to the city streets, ogling ice sculptures as your outer extremities freeze and fall off.
Then, with the memory of that still fresh in your mind, you have kids.
This is where I’m at now, and that’s the primary reason my lively New Year’s Eves are a thing of the past. The only way I’d be awake at midnight now is if my kids ate one too many New Year’s Eve Hoodsies and were still up running sugar-fueled laps around the living room like soused Teletubbies.
Therefore, I feel like I’d be doing people the world over a favor if I got New Year’s Eve abolished once and for all, so we can all just stay home without guilt, pressure or the nagging feeling that someone, somewhere is having a much better time than you.
Or we can just all go back to college.
Peter Chianca is taking a short break from his column; this holiday classic ran originally in 2002. E-mail him at email@example.com.