Plans for the new year

I have no idea what’s going to happen in 2024. None of us do. We remember all that’s gone before (thanking our lucky stars that it wasn’t a whole lot worse), and then quietly say to ourselves, “This new year has got to be better. Oh please, it’s just got to be.”

You wanna know how I always start off a new year? I start it off by refusing to take down the Christmas tree until absolutely necessary. Sometimes it comes down mid-January. One time I kept it standing well into February. This year, I have half a mind to leave the tree up until next Christmas, but the other half of my mind (the side my wife owns) says, “Jan. 4 is the perfect day to take it down, seeing you won’t have anything else better to do. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to vacuum the carpet and empty the cat’s litter box.”

It seems like only yesterday we were bracing for The New Millennium, Y2K and airplanes falling out of the sky. Now look, we’re almost halfway through the 2020s. The French referred to the 1920s as “anneés folles,” the crazy years. I wonder what teachers will say to our grandchildren about the Roaring 2020s?

“Children, the 2020s didn’t really ‘roar’ at all. The people back then were slightly nuts. Well, not all of them, but some were, especially the ones who thought the Earth was flat. They gathered at yearly conventions to convince each other they weren’t completely wackadoodle.”

“You’re kidding us teacher, aren’t you?”

“Not at all. And then other people went to comic book conventions and dressed up like space warriors and superheroes and… Was that the bell? Ok, kids. Don’t forget to put on your gasmasks before you go outside. The air is a bit thicker than usual today.”

I should really try to keep a journal this year, but I have a lousy history with them. I tried keeping one back in the 2010s, but I kept forgetting to write in it. Eventually, I forgot where I put it. It’s possible I’m just not a journal-keeping kind of guy, but I won’t know until I try. Again.

Actually, I do keep track of how much I exercise each day, which usually looks something like this: Monday, walked a mile around the block; Tuesday, thought about walking a mile around the block, but couldn’t find my favorite socks. Wednesday through Sunday, decided walking is dumb. Read a book.

Speaking of reading books – I don’t understand why more people don’t. There used to be a time when families sat around a single candle, Pa in his nightcap holding the latest edition of “Master Humphrey’s Clock,” reading the newest chapter of “Barnaby Rudge” by Charles Dickens. Not as good as the “Pickwick Papers,” but better than just sitting in the dark, watching the candle burn out. I doubt 2024 will be known as the year recreational reading came back into vogue, causing the demise of FaceTik and InstaTok, but I can dream, can’t I?

“So, what do YOU want to do tonight?”

“Go to the library, of course, and check out some new books.”

“Wow! I was thinking the same thing!”

And before we knew it, more than 18 billion people across the world had free library cards; they checked out more than 57 books a year per person on average; not a single living soul doubted humanity’s effect on climate change; and the world was round again, just like we knew it was all along.

C’mon, 2024. Bring it on! 

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