The year 2016 in America was a crushing, 12-month family road trip in our cramped Buick LeSabre with no air conditioning and plenty of stench. We drove to the sun and back, as a country—because the surface of the sun is the new Orlando in 2016—all of us crammed into the backseat of this driverless crazy train. We ate nothing but Rally’s and sawdust along the way and picked up a cool hitchhiker, whose name is Russia, our new BFF. (He’s nice. A real outsider!) Hate crimes spiked exponentially and Kevin James got another sitcom, and somewhere along the way we became the “Shining Comment Section on a Hill.” The lucky ones perished during the journey or jettisoned themselves into space; the unlucky ones did not. No, we’ve all sat here uneasy and anxious and carsick, continuously asking if we’re there yet. Prince and Princess Leia passed—and then Leia’s mother, too, a day later, because we’re not home just yet and 2016 will TELL US WHEN WE GET THERE. There was Pulse nightclub and the rise of fake news and cops shooting innocent people, people shooting innocent cops. Muhammad Ali and Florence Henderson died. (Well, they “alt-lived.”) Also, two bald eagles just said “f*** it” and bailed and flew down a sewer.
It was a viciously not-great year in America, from stem to stern—it would be difficult to prove otherwise. But! Does that mean that you shouldn’t go out and party on New Year’s Eve?
YES, it does! And not just because 2016 wants to douse your face in hydrofluoric acid and steal your wallet. Rather, it’s because every party or pub or ball on every New Year’s Eve is awful, for a million different reasons, even in the best of years.
Bars on NYE are ghastly, rotten hellscapes that charge a $900 cover to drink watered-down cocktails and mingle in a crowded horde with alarmingly drunk millennials and DJs and divorcées. I’d rather jump down a well and break my femur.
And never mind getting there—or getting yourself home. The roads will be littered with cops and drunks and Uber drivers charging 72,000x surge pricing. There will be danger in all directions, legally and physically and financially.
There are a hundred different activities around the city for when the IndyCar drops at midnight, each involving their own unique blend of NO THANKS. And I say that not as a “cool guy” too cool for your mainstream gatherings—quite the opposite, really. I say that as a nerd … as an old, generally anxious, mildly claustrophobic dad who would much rather stay home and watch movies with my kids.
You have your New Year’s traditions, I have mine—and that has been ours for six or seven or eight years now, long before the world began melting into a puddle of chaos and angst, before the poets died and the NUCLEAR ARMS RACE switch was flipped back to “on.” (Yay!) The kids and I will spend the day at Costco stocking up on all sorts of sugary garbage they’re not typically allowed to eat and drink, then we’ll set up the campsite in the living room. No bedtimes. No rules. Last one awake wins. (I never win, of course. But yet I ALWAYS win. I am Schrödinger’s old person!)
If you’re going out, be smart. Be safe. This wicked year is not over, our road trip not completed. And as it’s taught us all along, it can always get worse.
Anyhoooo, have fun out there, gang! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!