Rereading old writings to influence and kick my new writings in the ass, I came across my thoughts from the end of last year. Honestly, roll the dates ahead a year and update the latest consumer-necessary products, and it's equally relevant. And I'm listening pretty regularly to the same music I was evenly affected by last year. Progress is [something].
Originally published in The Tack, December 2005:
Ever get the feeling that end-of-the-year lists are being dishonest? Like when somebody names their “10 Best Albums of 2005,” and it’s really just the nine albums they listened to that were released in the last year, then some album that was “so good in 2004 that it should count in 2005 too?” I don’t like those types of people.
But there really are those out there who can’t make decisions on their own, and need a wrap-up list to guide them towards a certain choice or action. Of course, you’re not like that; you’re lucky enough to have me. So read on as I tell you what you should be doing instead of perusing top ten lists this winter.
Invent holidays to fill in worst holiday-less stretches. There are a few times each year when neither the post office nor the church has a holiday for a whole month. By inventing your own, you can decide when you’re celebrating, and for what purpose. You can even use the classic “Seinfeld” example: “Festivus—for the rest of us.” Make sure to give your holiday an intriguing name. Mine is called Deep-Fried Day, and it coincidentally takes place on December 2nd. The idea behind it is that you take anything you’ve got left from your Thanksgiving reenactment and deep-fat-fry it till golden brown. Why? Because I really don’t see Americans eating enough fried foods, nowadays. Plus, it breaks up this cold and cheerless holdover between Mr. Turkey and Santa.
Celebrate on fiscal time. Nothing says family tradition like reviewing your favorite company’s first quarter balance sheet, right? Try to prepare yourself for fluctuating interest rates, a dangerous yield curve, economies of scale…being indicted on fraud. You can even play Monopoly as a fun, but practical and realistic, diversion away from the office. Have a countdown of when the American markets close, and go wild—not too wild, as you’ve got work in the morning.
Make a “Worst of 2006” List. This is obviously a curveball to everyone who hasn’t finished out 2005 yet. They’ll be expecting to find stuff out there that has already happened; instead, you’ll provide them with the tragedies of the coming year. I would suggest staying vague; “Dragons will unleash a firebombing attack before being killed off by a gang of rogue astronauts” probably won’t get many people to subscribe to your future ideas. Stick with disappointments: “The government will disappoint,” “Hollywood will disappoint,” and “Disappointment of the decade: Chickens.”
Make a “Best Year of 2005, not including 2004” mock list. Everyone loves a little satire, so instead of reading the other expected clichés, define yourself as different when you make a list with one item on it, “2005.” For an even harder hitting story, name 1964 the best year of 2005; 1964 has had a good year, don’t deny it.
If you’re feeling ambitious, try combining two ideas to form an even better one. For example, predict that in 2006, our government will finally realize our lack of interesting holidays, and in effect invade a celebratory country like…Ireland. That way, come mid-March, Americans will rightfully own the holiday we’ve been calling our own all these years.
For every publication out there that includes something I’ve enjoyed in the last year, there’s another three describing Ashlee Simpson’s latest CD as “noteworthy.” There are so many differing opinions floating around that people are bound to disagree. During this holiday season, that is painfully irresponsible when you consider every American’s civic duty—to consume as much as possible. Because seriously, we can’t have all this individuality floating around when there are Xbox’s to be bought.