Weekly Whack: Hey Dick, Drop This Ball
Hey Dick, Drop This Ball
September 29, 1996

This Wednesday marks the end of yet another year. Radio stations are already beginning to have countdowns of the best songs of the year, news shows are taking a nostalgic look at the top stories of the year, and insurance companies are running out of free calendars to hand out. Yep, the end of the year hype is upon. Usually I would complain about all the hype, but this year it is well deserved because everybody had to wait an extra day because of Leap Year. So we have double to celebrate, not only is it the coming of the new year, but our calendars will be caught up with the natural calendar of the universe. Thus it is because of this, that I decided to dedicate this week's Whack to all the beauty and pageantry that surrounds New Years.

First of all, I would like to point out that I'm not to thrilled about the whole idea of 1997. I don't know what it is, it just seems like ninety-seven is a bit too odd for me. Now that I think of it, all years that end in seven or three just plain out suck. Ninety-three was a bore of a year, and there was nothing exciting about eighty-seven either. So I guess that is why I have no high expectations for ninety-seven. You see, all years ending in even numbers, including zero, are fine, because they are even. All years ending in a five are also ok, because they are snug right in the middle of the decade. Likewise, years ending in one or nine are all right because they are at the beginning and end of the decade respectively. This just leaves years ending in three or seven, which, as I pointed out before, suck. However there are exceptions to the rule. For example, the year that I was born, 1977, is fine because there are repeating sevens. Hence, 1933 would also be acceptable. If you are still confused at this point about which years are good, and which years are bad, please keep in mind that these are my rules, and you're not expected to understand them. So if there aren't any more questions, I would like to continue with the regularly scheduled Whack.

The one traditions surrounding New Years that I always found odd was the whole ball-dropping thing in Time Square. What does a glowing mechanized ball dropping have anything to do with the coming of a new year? I was always confused on how the two got connected. My theory has always been that it started some time during the forties when Dick Clark was going through some mid-life crisis. Anyhoo, to try and find the real origin of the custom, I cracked open my trusty World Book Encyclopedia from 1984 to see what it had to say. Unfortunately it didn't say crap about it. However, it did go over some other New Year traditions that I thought I would share with you.

"Children in Belgium write their parents New Year's messages on decorated paper. The children read the messages to their families on New Year's Day."

Personally, I don't really give a crap about what children in Belgium do. I don't even know where the hell Belgium is.

"The Chinese New Year begins between January 21 and February 19. The celebration lasts four days. On the last night, people dress as dragons to frighten and delight the children."

Man, nobody knows how to party like those Chinese. They will take every opportunity they can to dress-up as dragon and run around the street. You go to Chinatown in New York City on Arbor Day, and I'll guarantee you'll see someone dressed as a dragon running down the street.

"In Japan, many people worship on New Year's Day."

Leave to the Japanese to take the fun out of New Years. No wonder that country is filled with over-worked, over-stressed businessmen who will have heart-attacks before they are forty. They may make better television sets, but at least we know how to have fun.

"In the United States, large numbers of people go to New Year's Eve parties."

Well obviously large numbers of people go to New Year's Eve parties. If large numbers of people didn't go to them, then they wouldn't be parties, they would just be New Year's Eve gatherings.

"Thousands of people gather in Times Square in New York City, on State Street in downtown Chicago, and in other public places."

Is it me, or is the phrase `other public places' a bit vague? `Other public places' could mean virtually anywhere. Are you telling me that they couldn't do a little more research and narrow it down just a little bit more? I mean the set of tennis courts in my town is technically a public place, but you won't find a soul there on New Year's Eve.

"At midnight, bells ring, sirens sound, firecrackers explode, and everyone shouts, `Happy New Year!'"

Man, leave it to those poets at World Book to capture all the unbridled excitement of New Year's Eve in just a single sentence.

"People also drink a toast to the new year and sing `Auld Lang Syne'"

I think it's more like people get madly drunk, and sing a slurred version of `Auld Lang Syne' while running naked down the street with a lamp-shade on their head.

And finally the Encyclopedia entry on New Year's goes on to say:

"On New Year's Day, many people in the United States visit relatives, attend religious services, or watch football games on television."

Basically, people do whatever the hell they want on New Year's Day. This is one of the few holidays where there are no set rules or traditions. People pretty do what they would do on any other day off: watch TV, clean the gutters, and take a nap.

Well I think the time has come to drop the ball on this Whack, so to conclude for this week, and this year, Dick Clark is a very old man; 1997 will definitely be an odd year; and Buon Capo d'Anno to all my Italian visitors of Feff World.

Now for this week's special feature, Feff's top ten New's Year resolutions that he most likely won't be able to keep, nor would want to keep:

10. Stop playing Hearts on my laptop instead of studying
9. Stop waking up at 8:45 for a 9 o'clock class
8. Stop playing REO Speedwagon so loud that it can be heard three miles away
7. Stop making fun of Hawaii and Hawaiians
6. Stop forcing my political beliefs on others
5. Stop eating orange Tic-Tacs for breakfast
4. Stop pointing out when something reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons
3. Stop pointing out when something reminds me of an episode of Saved By the Bell
2. Stop looking so damn beautiful
1. Stop making light of everything, and start getting serious