According to the most widely accepted calendar in the world, we’ve done it again. Another new year wiped, spanked, and cleaned. Congratulations on making it this far; you should be commended for such.
A little math and applied logic tells me that the Scotch before me started its journey from conception to its current gullet danger and eventual hardening of my liver somewhere in the year 2000. Remember that one? I remember the last eve of 1999 (and that continuous loop of Prince in my head) fondly. I’d ingested enough of a certain contraband that my eyes were darting back and forth in their sockets at an epileptic speed and a Technicolor yawn worked its way out, expelling the evil spirits like a shaman’s rite before illumination. All was well, though. I was with folks I both loved and trusted. (Should the previous statement stymie you a bit, remember, trust comes with experiences; love, not so much. I don’t knock it, but you can’t always trust love; to this day I still love some people that I do not trust. This strikes me as right and proper.)
In that year that my Scotch was starting its metaphorically embryonic realization of today’s intoxicating fulfillment I ran outside after midnight to witness some of the smoke and fire, some of the sirens and wails, to see a plane plummet madly to the ground. It didn’t happen. It was very quiet and serene. I went back into the party to my friends and adopted families somewhat morose. “No chaos,” I complained. My friends understood. “Maybe the Mayans’ll pan out,” they offered.
Nope. As I suspected, we made it and, despite the lack of any societal breakdown, I say we all deserve a bit of the pat on the back for it. Well done, all. Good on ya’.
No one ever specifically warned me about the cynicism of age. I’d observed a bit of it and braced for some things accordingly, but I had no real clue about how I might find the tedium of mere experience. I can still hit a marvel of wonder at something heretofore unknown to me, but the cleaner slate of thirteen years ago is riddled with notes and jottings of questionable intent or sanity; all of them leaving the one unassailable fact that there once dabbled I, brief as it may have been.* Alien gets harder and harder to find if you’re curious and live long enough. Irascible old bastards who do not suffer fools, gladly or otherwise, know this.
I like new things, even if they’re old. I like new ideas, new styles of writing, new music (gods blind me, I love new music). That my Scotch dates back that far is not surprising (they market that on the bottle), but the folks at that party that I loved and trusted are still around for me. Can you dig that? I spent this new year’s eve with some of them, talked and texted to others. Can you dig it, brothers? Not that I’ve kept these people, but that they’ve kept me.
Here’s a thought experiment: take more than a few of your faults, wrap them up with a pretty little bow, and give them to the folks that have kept you around (and, relax, they’ll not be surprised, they’re more aware of your faults than you are). In all my bachelor years I’ve given my loved ones more than a few things to deal with (preposition, I know; deal with it). That these folks are still groovy with me does wonders for my self esteem and my ego may be intolerable in the coming year that I’m told is the first since 1987 to have four different digits in its makeup. Me, I’ve got the same friends and some new ones, to boot. Good on me, I think. I love that. What’s better than people you dig finding you to be okay for an extended period of time?
I like new things and I confess to a certain creeping cynicism, but I love the old things, too. I love the old folk and good friends that have proved their patience and acceptance ten times over in years that I could not afford in Scotch. That may well be winning. I’m more than fine with that.
So, love, trust, cynicism, faults…Here’s one now.
*Mark, you: I do not profess to be an expert at anything. Even this prose, of which I shamelessly type and tout, is questionable in its form and lack of editing.