New Year’s Eve is a great holiday, but one with some very half-hearted traditions. Allow me to explain.
The big holidays all have their customs, most of which find their way into the American workplace. Wearing a costume to work on Halloween is applauded by those wanting to liven up the office. Wearing something green is encouraged on St. Patrick’s Day, and people are often pinched if they don’t. Similarly, wearing a Christmas sweater or tie – something loud in red, green or both – is seen as tastefully seasonal this time every year.
But showing up at work wearing nothing but diapers as a tribute to Baby New Year is somehow seen as tasteless.
I learned that the hard way – and again last October, when I told people I was Baby Fiscal New Year. There is no pleasing some people, apparently, even when you’re wearing a diaper decorated with dollar signs. For this reason, I’ve resolved to be better about such things.
Despite the centuries-old tradition of making them, New Year’s resolutions have lost most of their significance. Everyone I know who doesn’t smile and say “I resolve not to make any resolutions” or something similar resolves to eat better, to work out more or something similarly healthful. Inevitably, these forward-thinkers end up giving up on such resolutions by the time the Super Bowl playoffs roll around. Instead of making personal sacrifices, we just wait for the commercial advertising the Lap Band appetite-suppressor system to come back on again so we can write down the toll-free number.
Making resolutions for the coming year was first done by cavemen. As any archaeologist will tell you, cavemen were so frightened by the threats of heavy winters, saber-toothed tigers, wooly mammoths and the like that they promised the Powers That Be they would be extra good if the coming year were easier than the last one.
In exchange for fewer glaciers and something that would wipe out the dinosaurs, our caveman ancestors pledged to eat more vegetables – which is how agriculture was invented. They promised to wear skins and invent language in exchange for the wheel, fire and so on. Back in the good old days, New Year’s resolutions meant the difference between life and death, and the wise resolutions of our upright forebears paved the way for the modern world. If Homo habilis was alive today, he’d shake his head in disbelief and probably use a tool to paint on his wall a condemnation of our lamentable behavior.
It wouldn’t be a flattering painting – partly because he wasn’t a gifted painter, but mostly because modern man takes resolution-making for granted.
So, this year, I intend to follow through with my resolutions. I intend to live up to my goals this year and, in so doing, become a better person. I will resolve to see my dentist twice a year, to cut down on soda and to work out more. I resolve to eat more salads, and to learn to cook something other than frozen food.
Most importantly, I resolve not to show up to work wearing diapers again, no matter how funny it seemed the night before. I’m hanging up my Baby New Year costume for good.
But on Valentine’s Day, I reserve the right to wear red diapers and tell ladies I’m Cupid.
Doug Hecox is a syndicated columnist and comedian. Resolve to buy his new comedy CD “Vote For Me”— on sale now at www.dougfun.com.