New years are exhausting, aren’t they? You’re caught between a desperate surge of optimism for a fresh, sparkly year in which you will definitely do everything you haven’t done in previous years but will definitely do this year, and the clawing, irrepressible doom that reminds you that that’s another year of your precious life gone forever, you will never get it back, you haven’t done half the things you said you’d do last New Year, and to top it all off you are one year closer to death.
And to add to that emotionally exhausting turmoil with which you must contend on New Year’s Eve, you must also have the Best Night of Your Life Ever in the History of Best Nights Ever in the World Ever.
I’ve never really got my head round New Year’s Eve. The pressure to have the Best Night of Your Life Ever in the History of Best Nights Ever in the World Ever is like having an unsmiling and slightly frightening bearded man relentlessly staring you in the face waiting for you to make some magnificent arrangements, and threatening death by social disapproval if you fail.
The very nature of New Year’s Eve surely dictates that you may well have the very opposite of the Best Night of Your Life Ever in the History of Best Nights Ever in the World Ever: everything is twice the price, twice as busy, queues are twice as long, everyone is twice as drunk, twice as emotional and twice as unstable, and if you’ve got a mathematical brain like I have, you will have worked out that all those doubled factors means that the sum of your enjoyment is slashed by at least six eighths, leaving you with a rather paltry enjoyment probability of minus four and a half.
So how do you go about having the Best Night of Your Life Ever in the History of Best Nights Ever in the World Ever? Do you brave a pub and spend your New Year’s Eve pressed up against a drunken local who’s slurring about how much he hates his job and is going to form a band in the New Year and go and live on a ranch in Montana, and then get snogged by him at midnight before he throws up on your shins, leaving you with the vague assurance that at least it can only be uphill from here?
Do you trek up to your nearest city with the billions of other revelers, stand in a universally-recognised street, square or harbour in the rain, enjoy a reasonably exciting few minutes of fireworks and loud music, and then endure a journey home that is the exact opposite of everything that is exciting, fun, or pleasant, to arrive home at 7am on New Year’s Day cold, shattered, penniless, probably bleeding, and with a general abhorrence for the whole of mankind?
Do you go to a house party that is filled to the brim with people who didn’t want to go to the pub or into the city, get horrendously drunk on your Co-Op gin, which you have to drink neat because the host has run out of Co-Op tonic water, spend an hour and a half in a toilet comforting a girl you don’t know who’s crying about her boyfriend’s dead gerbil, then find yourself alone in the kitchen foraging for food and suddenly hear cheers and applause from the next room and realise you’ve just spent the stroke of midnight with your hand in a box of Sugar Puffs that isn’t yours?
And then once you’ve got the Best Night of Your Life Ever in the History of Best Nights Ever in the World Ever over and done with, you’ve got to go through New Year’s Day, which should of course be the Most Perfect, Wholesome and Saintly Day You’ve Ever Had in Your Life Ever.
On this day you eat nothing but fruit, leaves and raw fish, drink nothing but nettle tea and filtered water (with a slice of lemon and a dainty sprig fresh mint), you go for a sprightly jog, you read the first three chapters of your new book How To Be An Excellent Human Being and Make Others and Yourself Spectacularly Happy Whilst Doing It, you do ten minutes of invigorating yoga, you smile at a robin and ruffle a child’s hair, and you go to sleep at 9 o’clock with a cup of warm milk and an enormous sense of wellbeing.
Or, more likely, you do literally none of those things and instead spend the day watching awful films and eating terrible food and telling yourself you’ll definitely start all the good things tomorrow.
However you spent your new year, I hope it was happy, and myself and Stickman wish you all a joyous and plentiful 2013.
NB – Stickman is much better now, thank you. After several weeks of intense therapy and a few good sessions of colonic irrigation, he felt much better and now enjoys a relatively stable existence and doesn’t eat cheese before bed.