In today's column, Owl Meat Gravy is dead on the mark. High expectations and beaucoup booze can -- and often do -- spell disaster. And few holidays have such high expectations as New Year's Eve. Take it away, Mr. Gravy:
There is something about New Year's Eve that attracts disaster like gravity loves anvils.
It's not impossible to have a good time on New Year's Eve, but you have a better chance of funning it up on any given Thursday.
Why not think of New Year's Eve as an ironic funeral for the year that was? Bury last year's missteps and misfortunes in a reckless haze of low expectations and random mayhem. ...
I recommend abandoning the good intentions of fools and amateurs and going full gonzo for this arbitrary calendar reboot. Do you think Charles Bukowski ever went to a plastic cup beer bash at Power Plant Live?
Another possibility is to blow it out the night before with people you actually like and spend New Year's Eve hung-over playing board games and quaffing the coif of the schnauzer that bit you.
The countdown to the end of the calendar year doesn't do much for me. Nothing much changes except that I write the wrong year on checks for three months.
First dates are Satan's jack-in-the-box. A first date on New Year's Eve is like bungee jumping into the foamy maws of Cerberus. Why not front-load your relationship with drunkenness and emotional shrapnel? If you can survive that, you were meant for each other.
A few years ago I was drinking and debating the end of the world with a beautiful Jehovah's Witness on New Year's Eve. Pamphlets and shots. Now that's a party. I stupidly honored my promise to go out with my friends and abandoned her. The evening ended with my friend's wife blubbering that she was afraid that her husband was cheating on her and that I was a bad influence because I was single. Ugh.
I went to New York one year, because my über-Midwest girlfriend wanted to see the ball drop in Times Square. We broke up by 9 p.m. and I drank the mini-bar. Woo hoo.
Another girlfriend took me to Deep Creek Lake for New Year's. Skiing and all that. It rained the whole time and I spent beaucoup time with her sub-awesome Frostburg State friends. Her friend broke up with her boyfriend and spent the night in our room. Woo minus hoo.
I saw a story on the news about people having New Year's Eve swine flu parties. People intentionally spread the swine flu in its current state to prevent beinng infected with a more dangerous future mutation. Idjits.
My best New Year's Eve was in Dubrovnik, Croatia. I was drinking rakia in the bar near my unheated rented room. Rakia is a local spirit that tastes like brandy made from straw, goat sweat, and despair.
A wedding party swooped in, had a round of drinks and whooshed on to their next stop with me in tow. I don't know if this is a Croatian tradition, but I had big time fun. With zero Croatian language skills my understanding came from rakia. We also drank a lot of Coke mixed with a blunt earthy local red wine – surprisingly not horrible.
You can't plan a night like I had in Dubrovnik and that's the point. Real fun comes when you least expect it. The best you can do is be available and open to anything, have low expectations and ride any wave of chaos.
The lesson here? Giving in to the moment, Jägermeister and eschatology banter beats hanging out with married people every time.
You won't see me at any high-priced events or places with covers, but look for me wherever Sardonic is spoken and rakia is served. Have a chaotic New Year's Eve, Midnight Sunners and please share your New Year's stories.