New Year's Memories, Part III
"Hey Mark, did you plan to have these done before the actual new year began?"
"Ok. Just asking."
2006 --- Another house party, this time not hosted by Kid or Play, but rather my friend Bryan. I don't know about you, but I weep for the fact that the new generation has no comprehension of Kid n' Play references. Anyway, it was a good night, perhaps somewhat of a more low-key version of the epic 2003 bash. The highlight was the first autograph I've ever signed in my life. Now, for those of you who didn't know me from university, I used to write a fairly-popular TV column for my student newspaper. Imagine the cutting wit of a New Yorker essay, except the topic was, like, Survivor or something. Anyway, I wrote it for four years, and as a result became something of a D-list campus celebrity. It was useful every once in a while when out at the pub, and someone would occasionally buy me a beer for being 'that funny guy from the newspaper.'
These beer-buyers were never, it should be noted, women. It was always men. Apparently I had hit upon the pipeline to the elusive young male demographic treasured by advertisers --- perhaps I should submit an application to an ad company with this information. Anyway, the dream scenario of meeting a woman who was impressed by my TV-osity never really occurred until this very New Year's, when a friend of my friend Becky recognized me from my byline (as the one bald guy on staff, I stood out) and said she enjoyed my work. She then asked for an autograph, and without any paper handy, I signed her arm. It was very much a rock star moment, minus the rock and roll, drugs and sex. That's right, no sex. With the ice firmly broken, I then proceeded to utterly fail to chat this young lady up for the rest of the night. If romance was an at-bat, the catcher had tipped the pitch like Costner in Bull Durham, and yet the result was still a strikeout. Sigh. Someday I'll learn to strike when the iron is hot. If you're reading this, Girl Whose Name I Don't At All Remember (hmm, perhaps I should have put some/any effort into this), I hope you haven't washed your arm in two years and the autograph remains intact.
2004 --- Another house party, held at the scene of the crime. The crime to which I'm referring is the disappearance of my beloved blue windbreaker, which vanished into this very house's closet at a previous party in the fall. It had yet to be recovered despite an exhaustive search. The happy postscript is that the jacket was finally found a few months later and all was right with the world. I could ride a bike again. Anyway, this is one of the few NY's Es when I actually decided to heavily drink, though this was partially due to the deceptive taste of the drink known as Purple Jesus. You can throw back four of those things before even blinking an eye. Now then I'm on my game (which is rare), I can throw back a fair amount of alcohol, and on this night I was perfectly fine and sober on the walk home. The next morning, my vomit resembled a Minnesota Vikings logo gone horribly awry, but that's another story. Oh yeah, and it was a WALK home. We made the critical mistake of deciding to walk down to the all-night Subway near the school since we were all hungry. There was some drinking involved, as I mentioned, and as a result it didn't occur to us that this Subway would likely be closed given the holiday. I would've killed for a sandwich on that night. You can burn in hell, Jared. The long trek to Subway wasn't altogether a lost cause, however. My pal Bryan drunkenly fell down a hill on the way there, thus providing one of the 10 biggest laughs of my lifetime. The comedy was enhanced by the fact that everyone else just kept walking.
2005 --- As you may have noticed from reading these entries, I'm not big on 'events' for my January 1. I'm more than happy hanging out with friends in some kind of disorganized slapdash brouhaha at someone's house. This year was one of the exceptions, as the gang and I ventured downtown for a party at a local club. The event was put together by some friends of mine on the university student council, which should've been the first red flag right there. Essentially, I had the privilege of paying to hang out with my friends at New Year's. Yay? The club itself was a place I had never known existed and frankly, I'm not sure it's even still a club. I think it's like that mystical model's hangout on Seinfeld that instantly morphed back into a meat-packing plant. The place also had the downside of being tiny. For example, when I said I had to pay to see my friends, I wasn't being ironic. We literally couldn't move much beyond our small staked-out corner at the front of the bar, and thus there wasn't much of a chance of mingle. Going to the bar for a drink was a 20-minute endeavor. Going to the upstairs level required a sherpa.
Overall, not a red-letter NY's E. Perhaps I'm just bitter because we took the bus. I know this makes me sound like a snob, but seriously, come on. The bus? What am I, a leper? I took that damn bus just about every day home from high school, so I've put in my time, thanks. God. The bus. Rubbish.
This concludes my daily channeling of Frasier Crane.
2008 --- Finally, the latest and greatest New Year's adventure. And by greatest, I mean 'the one with the least amount of effort put into it.' I think this was the year when we all decided en masse that NY's E isn't a big deal. Nothing was planned other than hanging out at my pal Eric's place, though that was at least a bit interesting since this came as news to Eric. He threw together an excellent shrimp platter on short notice, so he kept up his hosting streak. The highlights included some spirited games of NHL 2003, watching Rambo III (which, hilariously, featured Rambo teaming up with Afghan 'freedom fighters' against Russia --- oh what a difference 20 years makes) and my aiding and abetting the breaking of a vow. My pal Dave had sworn off his beloved McDonald's for the past six months, but decided that at the stroke of midnight, his New Year's kiss would be, quote, with a burger. So we took off at around 11:40 to the Mickey D's just a block away from Eric's, but to our shock it was closed. Next stop was the retro McDonald's (a.k.a. 'the classy one') at Wonderland and Oxford, but it was closed too. It was at this point that Dave decided to hell with it, but by this time I was becoming personally aggrieved by this lack of customer service. Come on Ronald, this is one of the key nights of the year for late-night fast food --- pick up the pace! Subway might pull this crap, but not McDonald's. Grimace is rolling over in his grave. We only had time for one final try, and it was the McDonald's at Oxford/Wharncliffe --- the very Mickey D's where my buddy Trev had his previously-referenced 20 McNugget-orgy back on New Year's Day 2003. So I knew it would be open, and lo and behold, I was correct. We got our meal and hauled ass back to Eric's place just in time to see what is left of Dick Clark introducing the ball drop. I enjoyed a tasty hamburger and Dave broke his streak in spectacular fashion with a double cheeseburger. Then he spent the next day sick as a dog. I'm not saying there was a connection, but if you, for instance, don't jog for six months and then enter a half-marathon, you're going to be pretty wrecked. The other possibly answer is Eric's shrimp platter. Or a combination of the two that made them lethal, like cosmetic products and Joker's Smilex poison.