2013: Dull, If Not Boring!

new year3The year is less than two weeks old, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and say 2013 isn’t going to be a very good year.  It’s not going to suck or anything; it’s just going to be dull, boring, historically dismissive.  It’ll be one of those years which a hundred years from now nobody’s going care about.  Kinda like 1489, or 1843 or 1771.  Those were years that, I imagine, were perfectly cool at the time but simply couldn’t keep their lustre compared to 1492, 1848 and 1776.  They just didn’t have the star power.

First of all, 2013 doesn’t sound right.  It’s got too many syllables or something.   It trips on the tongue.  Nineteen eighteen has cadence.  Ten sixty six has rhythm.  Forty four B.C. has an authority about it.  These are all years when big stuff happened.   However, take a look at twelve fifty seven or seven thirty one.  These are years that so closely resemble every other year that even nerdy historians don’t worry about what happened then because guess what?  Nothing did.  That’s going to be the problem with 2013.

Yeah, we’re going to have all the regular stuff in 2013: Easter, Father’s Day, Labour Day, Christmas etc., but we’re not going to have any of the big stuff.  There are no Olympics this year, no World Cup and most importantly, no American elections.  American politics are going to be dominated by budget negotiations.  Big snooze!  Budgets aren’t sexy, and besides now that Obama’s been re-elected, there’s nothing much at stake.  The political shine is off the rose and all those oh-so-committed (informed? engaged?) voters are heading for the exits.  The last thing any of them wants to do is play Survivor with fiscal responsibility; a subject most people think is about as exciting as eating lukewarm Kraft Dinner.  No, Springsteen and Oprah have put away their microphones for the duration, and political entertainment has left the building.

Speaking of entertainment; don’t expect 2013 to be a banner year at the movies,new year2 either.  Film makers are doing so many storyline retrofits I fully expect to see Holmes on Homes listed as technical advisor in most of the credits.  First, there’s The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp, who is going to outshine Armie Hammer by a long shot and probably end up riding off into the sunset with Red (Helena Bonham Carter) leaving Lone to fend for himself.  Then, there’s Gatsby who was great when Redford portrayed him in the ‘70s; something about Oz which has James Franco playing a prequel to Dorothy (remember him in drag at the Oscars, hmmm?) and two more additions to the Star Trek and Superman franchises – like we need those.  Eventually, Hollywood is going to get boiled down to just one single movie with various sequels, prequels and equals regurgitated every year.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there’s another Die Hard this year, which, with any luck at all will be Die Hard: Once and for all.  Unfortunately, I think John McClane is going to go on forever — like those “Call Me Maybe” parodies on YouTube.

Of course, in 2013, there won’t be that YouTube menace Psy kicking around.  2012’s answer to The Starlight Vocal Band is gone, if not already forgotten.  Last time I looked, he was hanging out in Times Square on New Year’s Eve with Jenny McCarthy and MC Hammer.  If that isn’t a triple whammy kiss of death, I don’t know what is?  And don’t expect a 2013 equivalent of “gangnam style;” there’s only so much a discerning public can stand in one decade.

That’s probably the problem with 2013.  This decade is relatively new, and there’s a whole pile of stuff out there just quietly waiting to hit the fan.  When it does, we’re going to have a lot more than reinvigorated “Hammer time” to contend with!  Actually, this might be the calm before the storm.  So, to that end, I suggest you just sit back and relax in the relative peace and quiet of the next eleven months or so.  Gather your wits about you, because after that it’s going to be “Buckle up, Pardner!  Here we go again!”

Happy New Year’s Resolutions

new yearIt’s January 1st, 2013, and for the last few days people have been asking me why I always make New Year’s Resolutions.  You have to understand I haven’t actually kept a New Year’s Resolution since the winter of ‘71/’72 when I resolved never to trust Linda what’s-her-name again.  I didn’t, she did and we both ended up spending Valentine’s Day separately toying with the idea of joining a nunnery – for different reasons, obviously.   Since then, it’s been a rapidly accelerating litany of make ‘em and break ‘em years that continues to this very day.  Even as we speak, I’ve already had a cigarette, done no abdominal crunches and eaten the last brownie.  All that’s left now is to have a beer with the Rose Bowl and hurl the F-bomb at the television set when Stanford loses.  However, even though my Resolution record is, at best, shoddy, New Year’s Resolutions are not simply an Express Bus to failure.  They have a deeper meaning.

New Year’s Resolutions are based on that one essential bit of information that none of us can deny.  We’re still here.  Despite the epic blundering of most politicians, the herculean efforts of do-gooders everywhere and the Ancient Mayans, we’re still standing.  Quite frankly, if you’re old enough to read this, you’ve already survived enough man made mayhem to scare the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse back into their box.  And that’s not including all the impending doom that the relentless media has been foisting on us ever since the American Midwest mistakenly decided Phil Donahue was a journalist.  In fact, in my lifetime, there hasn’t been five minutes that anybody but a Playboy Bunny would call peace and quiet.  Let’s face it, folks: we’re tough, and that alone should leave us awash in optimism.  After all, when we’ve been through what we’ve been through, what the hell else can they throw at us?

This is exactly what New Year’s Resolutions are: a tough guys’ look at the world.  They tell everybody that, despite rumours to the contrary, our world isn’t on the verge of collapse.  We believe we have enough time to make things better.  And despite what looks like overwhelming odds, we’re going to take the time and trouble to try.

This single stubborn optimism has led to all the marvels of human history.  Beethoven didn’t just jump out of bed one Tuesday and write the Fifth Symphony.  He plodded along for months, under the assumption he was going to have time to get it right.  Picasso would have never picked up a paint brush if he didn’t believe in his place in history.  He’d have spent his days in cheap Spanish tavernas, drinking wine and chasing women.  Why not?  There’s no future in striving for creative immortality if there’s no future to reward it.  Nor is there any reason to exercise, program the PVR or tell yourself you’re going to phone grandma more than once a year.  Why do any of the above if your modus operandi is one day at a time?

In the cold dark soul of 4 o’clock in the morning, we might not be optimistic, but we certainly believe in the future.  If we didn’t, we’d be sleeping like lowland gorillas — with nothing on our minds but a sloping forehead.

So admit it: even if you don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, you’re an optimist.  Why not just bite the bullet and make a few…privately?  See what happens.  You may be like me and screw them all up every year, but, at least, nobody can say you gave up without a fight.  Besides, you might be good at it, and this time next year (if the 2013 edition of the Mayans don’t get us) you could be kicked back, pulling in your belt a few notches, or trying to decide whether to spend the rest of the winter in Cancun or Maui.  You never know, but it doesn’t happen unless you try.