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The New Year is upon us


One down. One to go. Christmas is in the rearview mirror. New Year’s is around the corner. We suffered through a polar vortex with double-digit below-zero temperatures. The only good thing, weather-wise, was the predicted snowmageddon did not materialize.

Monday was downright balmy, with temperatures in the low 20s. By New Year’s, we will be back in the comfortable 40s or near 50s. Some will break the cargo shorts out. Winter is here with all the temperature and snow ups and downs.

I stopped going out on New Year’s Eve decades ago. It is the first amateur night of the year. All the amateur drinkers are out, getting beyond drunk, aggravating other patrons, puking their guts out, and driving drunk. No thank you, I will stay home or go to a house party close to my lair.

I worked many New Year’s Eves over the decades, and they were not pretty. Around 11:30, we would find a safe hiding place. The Chicago Police Department frowned on us bringing the cars in full of bullet holes. At midnight, there were so many gunshots, it sounded like the 4th of July in a war zone. We made dead pools. We would bet on what police district would have the first murder of the year. If we were lucky, we made an arrest before midnight. Then we spent a few hours of the New Year processing the arrestee. Worse were the drunken bar fights near closing times or the early morning drunken domestic disturbances, which had the propensity to turn violent.  

Making New Year’s resolutions began in ancient times when people promised the gods they would live better lives. In the present eras, they range from sincere to ludicrous. People vow to lose weight, join gyms, live a healthier lifestyle, quit what they consider bad habits, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Some are ludicrous because people aim to promise the impossible.

I do not make resolutions. I only strive for two things. Strive being the operative word. One, I try to be a better person and citizen of the world. Two, I will keep learning new things. These are relatively easy, as they are the things I do regularly. Being a better person is the most difficult, as I am old, crabby, ugly, tired, mean, miserable, and ornery. You know, perfectly normal.

I am a lifelong learner. I try to learn something new every day. The more one knows, the better person one becomes. I try to associate with people who have more knowledge than me or are more skilled than I am. I look, listen, and ask questions. One thing I never ever do is seek perfection. Never ever is a long f**king time. There is no perfection in nature. Humans created perfection to enslave them in a maze they can never escape.

I added one other thing for the upcoming year. Since I am no longer a fan of that fake contact sport, football, I will learn as much about soccer- real futbol- as possible. Soccer is a contact sport, but the players do not wear helmets or padding all over their bodies. There is not one NFL player who would last fifteen minutes on a soccer pitch. Soccer players, on average, run approximately 12 miles per game.

Football players are Ken Doll sides of beef pretending to convince the gullible backwood peckerhead fans they are rough, tough, macho men. Professional wrestling is more legitimate than football. At least wrestlers pretend to be trying to kill each other.

I am fortunate. I know people from all walks of life with various talents and skills. Through conversation, asking questions, or observation, I learn from them. I try to improve on what they provide through practice or more research.

My motto for several years is, if you think you know everything, you are wrong.

Happy New Year.

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