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So this is the New Year.
We made it.
Let’s face it, 2020 was almost certainly the worst year any of us have ever lived through. The pandemic. Police brutality. The election…which apparently still isn’t over. Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” video, which somehow was only the second worst thing she starred in last year.
Everyone was affected, from the folks who lost loved ones, who lost their jobs, who lost their homes, to those who had to [chokes up] give up their bonuses or socially distance on their yachts. Yes, 2020 gave us COVID, and all we got was this check for $600.
The anticipation of 2021 and the relief of leaving 2020 behind has been palpable throughout the country, really the world. We couldn’t wait to shake last year off like a bad case of fleas.
You saw it on social media and on television all week, it would have made for a great John Oliver “And Now This” segment:
“Well Dan, it’s finally 2021.”
- That’s right, Carol. Thank god 2020 is over!
(fake anchor laughter)
But, all you need to do is turn on the news or take a look at your Twitter feed to know that 2020 is still very much in the air. Quite literally, as the coronavirus is making more spin-offs and sequels than Disney and “Star Wars.” It’s “Coronavirus 2: The Search for Curly’s Ability to Breath Without Assistance.”
It’s like another season of an already terrible television sitcom, like if some network executive told, I dunno, Jim Belushi he could do another season of “According to Jim.”
What’s that? There were eight seasons of “According to Jim?” 182 episodes? Ok.
This idea that once the calendar turns to January 1st, suddenly everything old is forgotten and we see all the colors of the rainbow again (I’m colorblind, kid), is probably why I’ve never really been a fan of New Year’s to begin with. It’s really, to paraphrase the great Jon Secada, just another day.
Whenever we approach this time of year, or when I think about New Year’s, I immediately think of this song, from Death Cab for Cutie. Ben Gibbard sums up exactly how I feel when we get to 12 AM on January 1st:
“So this is the New Year?”
(Death Cab for Cutie – The New Year)
As we said in our last episode, which was downloaded and listened to more than any other in our six month run, so thank you for that, there are just certain days of the year that are meant for being with one another. Days that would simply be too depressing to spend on one’s own.
I can remember a few New Year’s Eves…is it New Year’s Eves? Is it like Attorneys General? New Yearses Eve? New Year’s Eve eves? Well, I can remember a few of…those…when I was a teenager that I did, in fact, spend alone; one in particular, when my buddy who I used to spend New Year’s Eve with was out of state, and it was too late to try to get a last minute invite from anybody else. [I wasn’t invited to any other New Year’s parties]. At first, I was kind of okay with it – maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to spend the night alone, in my childhood bedroom, playing video games, while my dad fell asleep on the couch. That’s the kind of shit they write teen movies about!
Spoiler alert: they don’t. It was that bad. In a high school career filled with plenty of evenings spent on my own, I have to say that New Year’s was the loneliest. Maybe it was knowing that seemingly everyone else in the world was having a great time, that they’d have someone to kiss at midnight, though hey, my mother was right down the hall.
Of course, now, I don’t have to worry about the alone part too much, as my wife and I at least always have each other on New Year’s Eve, as we did this year. When you get home at night, it’s all about having someone you love by your side, and these next two songs are all about that.
First up is Taylor Swift, one of the very few people who had a good 2020, with “New Year’s Day.”
Then, it’s me, yours truly, with a song I wrote in 2010 and recorded in 2013, “The Ice is Getting Thinner.” It’s a bit more playful than I typically allowed myself to write, and oddly enough a bit influenced by U2’s “New Year’s Day,” but, like any good song, there’s a lot more going on underneath. And it all hinges on the line in the breakdown: “I want to trade tomorrow for yesterday, when we were together on New Year’s Day.”
(Taylor Swift – New Year’s Day)
(Kyle Pucciarello – The Ice is Getting Thinner)
While New Year’s may only be the turning of the page of our collective calendar, it can be a way to symbolically start fresh.
And this new year does have me thinking about what that might mean, where I might like to be by this time next year. What moves me? What inspires me, defines me? What are the things that give me my purpose? What are the dreams I still have?
If I’m being honest, it’s actually an even bigger question: how much more time do I have? I don’t mean that in the sense of mortality, though the ticking of the clock is a little more noticeable than it was even just a few years ago. I mean: there have always been, and still are, things that I wanted to accomplish in life, professionally and personally. And at a certain point, you start to ask yourself a question that Bruce Springsteen asks in “The River:” is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?
That’s the same question Beach House explore as they start their new year.
(Beach House – New Year)
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t.
And if you do, you certainly don’t keep them. A recent study by the University of Scranton showed that 92% of people abandon their resolutions after a month, and the other 8% were lying or resolved never to participate in a poll.
But, one thing I do enjoy is seeing what other people’s resolutions are. And it just so happens that this year, a few celebrities have already shared their resolutions. Would you like to read them with me?
In sports, James Harden, who for the time being still plays for the Houston Rockets, his resolution was to gain twenty pounds in 2021, a resolution he…met, and exceeded. Congratulations James!
Then there’s the entire New York Jets football team, whose resolution is to lose every game next season. Apparently, this was also their resolution last year, and they almost did it! Two years in a row, that’s called being resilient. Way to go!
In entertainment, fellow podcaster Joe Rogan, you know Joe Rogan, vowed to be even more surprised and defiant when people criticize him for being misogynistic and homophobic. You be you, Joe.
Speaking of trouble with the LGBTQ community, JK Rowling’s resolution is to finally be more accepting of the transgender community, as long as she can virtue signal by making the main character of her next book a transgender wizard: “Henrietta Potter and the Disappearing Wand!”
In politics, Joe Biden, Joe Biden’s about to maybe, probably, I hope become the 46th President of the United States in a few weeks. Joe Biden’s resolution is to try really hard not to give Kamala Harris a back rub, even if she looks really tense. Goals are good, Joe, best of luck with that one.
Here’s an interesting one: contestants on “The Price is Right” all got together and collectively resolved that when you’re the last person to bid, and the highest bid is $1000, and you want to bid higher, you bid $1001 and not something stupid like $1250 so that there’s $250 worth of wiggle room where you can lose because you’re an idiot and can’t play the game the right way!
[cough] Excuse me.
Staying with entertainment, movies and television shows have resolved to stop this thing with the credit card being able to open door locks. Has anyone ever tried this? Is that all it takes? Why are we even bothering to lock our doors if anyone with 2 inches of plastic can just walk right in?
Left-handed people have made a resolution as well. Left-handed people have all resolved to stop letting you know when other people are left-handed too. “Barack Obama? You know what he was, don’t you? Left-handed.” Yea, so was the Boston Strangler and Jack the Ripper, but I don’t see you mentioning them.
And, finally, in the spirit of New Year’s, I’ve resolved on behalf of the entire human race to stop using a phrase we heard a lot this past week, “a new tomorrow.” There’s no such thing as a new tomorrow. All tomorrow’s are new, that’s what the word tomorrow means. The day after today. Tomorrow. What you really want to say is “a new today.”
And maybe, in that new today, you’ll make a resolution of your own…
(Otis Redding – New Year’s Resolution)
Where were you on December 31st, 1999?
If you were around back then, and judging by our listener demographics you were, you were probably freaking out. In case you weren’t, or you’ve forgotten, or you haven’t seen “Office Space” in a while, it basically boiled down to this: the entire world’s infrastructure was based on years being entered into computer software as two digits, rather than four. So, when 99 became 00, no one was really sure what was going to happen. And people were genuinely freaking out: What would happen to our bank accounts? Would the power grid shut down? Would Ross and Rachel ever get together?
I always thought the whole thing was ridiculous…why would anyone want to date Ross from “Friends?”
But, also, when this software was being created…did they not think that this would matter in the year 2000? It’s not like they didn’t know it was coming.
The brightest minds in the world, responsible for laying the groundwork for the conveniences of our modern lives, could not foresee the great four digit dilemma. And, because of that, this consumed us for the entire year: What. Was. Going. To. Happen. At. Midnight?
You know what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened. Same shit as every year. Ball came down. They sang the stupid song. And no one kissed me. Yippee.
Here’s two people who were far better prepared to celebrate the Millenium: one wrote about it all the way back in 1982, and the other…tried to name it after himself.
(Prince – 1999)
(Will Smith – Will 2K)
We’re almost there, you can feel the anticipation of thousands of maniacs standing in the cold in Times Square, waiting to watch a ball of diamonds worth more than any of us will make in a lifetime descend down a flagpole.
I actually get a little more forlorn about the actual New Year than most: I love the holiday season, the youthful joy and excitement of it, getting that week or two off from work. If anything, that ball dropping means back to reality: we’ll see you at work on Monday!
But, we’re not there yet. The workweek is still a few days away, and now the only question is: what are you doing New Year’s Eve? That’s the question Ella Fitzgerald is asking in this next song:
“Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it’s exactly 12 o’ clock that night”
As 2009 turned to 2010. I was at a friend’s house for a little party, just the six of us. The couple throwing the party had just been engaged, and the other couple there was well on their way. That left two single people: myself, and the female friend of the couple throwing the party.
You’re probably thinking: “Well, great, when it was time for that New Year’s kiss, you were all set! And hey, it was 2009, you didn’t even have to ask for consent back then!” Well, you did, but I had absolutely no intentions or desire to do so. There was almost nothing I liked about this girl. She was, to be as gentle as possible, uh, not my type. And I knew this was going to be a problem.
Sure enough, as the minute hand on the clock swung closer and closer to 12, she said, “Well Kyle, we’re the only two single people here, so you know what that means.” Now I’m in a panic, how the hell am I going to get out of this?
Clock strikes 12:
“So, are we kissing?”
- No, I don’t like you?
- No, I’m saving myself for marriage?
- Um, I think I left something in the microwave?
What do you do?!
Well, at about 11:55 I remembered something that just might save the day.
Back when I was a kid, and maybe you used to do this too, for some inexplicable reason, after Dick Clark ushered in the new year, my mother and I would go outside and bang pots and pans. And we weren’t the only ones, there were other people doing this, too! Dozens of people, many with jobs and college degrees, outside in the snow banging a metal pot with a spatula.
So here it is, 11:59. The ball is finally about to drop in Times Square. But, no one in the room cares about that, they’re all staring at me with sadistic smiles on their faces. They can’t wait! They’re not even going to kiss each other, they’re just going to stare right at me.
The ball drops, “Happy New Year,” she turns and starts to lean in. So, what do I do? I spring off the couch, sprint into the kitchen, quickly grab a pot and a wooden spoon, and with speed that would make Usain Bolt blush, I was out on that front lawn banging the pot and jumping around like a lunatic.
Ridiculous? Sure. Childish? Perhaps. Worth it for the bit? Always.
(Ella Fitzgerald – What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve)
(Wilson Pickett – In the Midnight Hour)
We’ve reached the midnight hour, and now we’re virtually clinking our glasses and singing along to “Auld Lang Syne,” which apparently literally translates into “old long since,” a phrase about as stupid as the song itself.
Like Billy Crystal in “When Harry Met Sally,” I have never understood this song, enjoyed this song, or sung along with this song. I recently learned that it was translated from Scottish, and I’m thinking it might make more sense being sung by Sean Connery in his native tongue, may he rest in peace, than it does being sung in ours.
You know what, why don’t I just let Billy Crystal sum it up:
“Anyway, it’s about old friends.” Even when Sally tries to explain it to him, she can’t. It’s a stupid song, it doesn’t make any sense, and I don’t like it.
Well, to quote the great Yakko Warner, “Goodnight Everybody!”
No, you’re right, we can’t end the old year, or start the new year, or forget about everyone from our past on that note. Even if not much has changed since the clock struck twelve, and we’ve still got a long road ahead, it is important to have a little bit of hope on January 1st.
So, from my home to yours, thank you for beginning your new year with us. And here’s hoping that 2021…will be our year.
We’ll be seeing ya…
(The Zombies – This Will Be Our Year)
The Flyover Podcast is recorded and produced by Kyle Pucciarello in Chicago, Illinois. For more information, please visit www.theflyover.site, official_flyover on Instagram, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.