Happy Stupid New Year

Why is changing a 7 to an 8 such a big deal?

Oh, New Years, what an improbable holiday you are. Less probable than a holiday for stalking an agoraphobic groundhog. Even less probable than a holiday to celebrate spring that was co-opted by a resurrected Christian Sun-God and re-co-opted by a giant bunny that brings chocolate-filled eggs, but which we pretend has nothing to do with fertility.

Holiday is a derivative of “holy day,” after all. And there’s nothing holy about New Years. There’s nothing holy about a groundhog seeing his shadow, either, but at least there’s some pale mythology surrounding it.

It’s the changing of a number. It’s arbitrary. It’s a holiday for mathematicians. It’s a day I get off work and pretend Dick Clark doesn’t suck the blood from toddlers to retain his youthful good looks.

Yes, it’s considered a good time for introspection, for summing up the accomplishments of the past 365 days. But any of the previous 364 could serve just as well.

It’s a day we celebrate surviving another year during a time when the death rates seem to spike from depression and the cold.

Maybe someday far in the future the day we’ll use the day to celebrate the plummet of the Great Apple from the heavens, blazing in all its glory, to be embraced in the arms of the prophet Seacrest, follower of the Clark, keeper of the Bandstandian Way. Until then, I’ll just enjoy the day off and try and not screw up when I write checks.

Article © 2007 by Steve Spotswood