Happy (YAWN) New Year | January 2006


Another year, another dollar (no, nobody gave me a raise). I’m always fascinated with this obsession to celebrate the new year. I mean, it’s just another day.

Why do people go out and get drunk to begin the New Year with a hangover? Some way to get started on a good note, huh? And I should, um, “note” (pun FULLY intended) here that the Spanish word for note–“nota”–happens to be slang for being drunk.

The worst was the year 2000. I still remember all the hype–the “Millenium,” the supposed “End of the World” (we saw how well THAT one turned out), etc., etc., ad nauseam. Then there was the most over-hyped “problem” in human history, the so-called Y2K bug. Jeez!

I remember I worked at a radio station when 2000 came around. It was a Spanish-language station and I was in charge of producing the Miami Heat’s Spanish-language radio broadcasts.

The radio station was owned by the Archdiocese of Miami and so it had a small budget; the station played commercials but it also held “radiothons” from time to time to help pay the bills. So the computer system we used to put stuff on the air was somewhat antiquated. The system held all of the Miami Heat production on its hard drive (this would include all the commercials, the intro to the pre-game show, the post-game show and the game itself, and the “bumpers”–the jingles we played going into and out of commercials–among other things). As a result, I was obliged to stay late and record all of these things onto a back-up system (because the Heat was playing on New Year’s Day), thanks to the fact that NOBODY had ever backed up the computer, and the fear that the system would fail because of the infamous Y2K bug.

By the time I was finished, it was 11:30PM on New Year’s Eve 2000 (December 31, 1999). I didn’t have any plans to go out or anything, but still, I would rather not have been at work late that night. Because now I had to drive home just before midnight. And I was worried about the idiots who think a gun is an appropriate substitute for a noisemaker, or fireworks. And quite frankly, the roof of my car was not bullet-proof.

So I practically FLEW home from work, risking getting stopped by a police officer. Although my guess is they were considerably more worried about drunks driving, and I’d read before that cops usually look for people who are driving slow as drunks tend to do, believing they’ll be pulled over for speeding.

I got home okay before midnight, with enough time to watch one of the New Year’s specials on TV and hear the gunfire in my neighborhood (and I actually lived in a decent neighborhood back then). The noise was reminiscent of my time in the Army, going to a range or training with blanks in the field.

Now THAT’S something I’ve always wondered about. Why are some people so, so, so, um, er, STUPID (for lack of a better word) that they’d fire off a gun into the air to “celebrate,” especially in an area with a huge, concentrated population such as ours? If there were such a thing as instant karma or poetic justice in this world, every bullet fired into the air like this would find its way back to the shooter. In my opinion.

Oh, and speaking of fireworks, why do people who KNOW they’re going to be drinking insist on firing off their own fireworks? I mean, come on, there are plenty of places to go see fireworks, and you can get drunk safely. For that matter, you can get so drunk you’re not even aware there are any fireworks going off around you. But I digress.

Just as drinking and playing around with a gun don’t mix, neither does drinking and shooting off your own fireworks. Don’t believe me? Just go and visit a hospital emergency room late on New Year’s Eve/early on New Year’s Day. There you’ll find plenty of people who shouldn’t be allowed near ANY heat source when they’re sober, never mind fireworks when they’re drunk.

I think I’m going to make a New Year’s resolution this year not to go celebrate New Year’s Eve anymore (not that I have the last few years). I’ll just stay at home and relax–and avoid getting hit by a drunk driver (or worse, becoming one myself). Or getting hit by gunfire.