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  • Writer's pictureRodney Drought

Happy New Year?

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

Wring out the old, bring in the new, please!

Usually I write a new year's poem which is either a fond remembrance or something of hope but quite frankly I didn't have it in me this year. I wonder why?

The muse did nudge however on the final day of the year when I received a job request to clean out a fire damaged pump house and restroom for a community pool. The damage was extensive and the firefighters did their job well as far as putting out the inferno and creating a pile of torn out wallboard, toilets filled with black soot scum among other delights. They only thing to do was bag what I could, sweep up the rest, and stack the damaged insulation and debris in the bed of my truck then make the all too familiar trek to the landfill.

The muse hit me as I was sweeping what I could out of the bed of the truck after tossing the rest onto the packed, mountain of humanity's waste. This was my last job of the year and how ironic it was, tossing the waste of a toilet fire along with the history of all other garbage to rot and become methane, fart gas. The connection of our dumpster fire year struck me and I knew as soon as I got home and showered I would have to crank something out on my laptop.

I usually take a week or so before I release a poem. I love to tinker until I can't figure out anything else t do with it, then I let them go, but this was a rare deadline project and fortunately it came easy. It is always nice to read responses after sending them on their way and this one spawned a few great comments and observations with some saying that hopefully the new year will be better. It got me thinking how maybe for now instead of welcoming a new year with all the hope and promise of a rose colored glass future we should be slightly wary. Wizened by a horrific year such as 2020 maybe it is more prudent to just celebrate the dumping of the awful truth of the previous year and call it a night.

We should wring it out like the dirty rag that it was, empty the bed of the truck filled with toilet fire artifacts and toss it all away leaving it for an unruly army of starlings to pick away at it while giant bulldozers crush and spread it with other used up, forgotten things.

By now you probably figured I never liked New Year's Eve and the celebration of the new year. New Year's Eve always seemed arbitrary and an after thought, post Thanksgiving, Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, what have you, fill in the blank preferred holiday. I actually only remember two or three. One was when I was a youngster and went out with my first real girlfriend, her friend and a friend of mine to celebrate new year's at a local Italian restaurant. It was tacky, cheap, low brow but so much fun because it was the first as a semi-adult with a girl I adored. The other one I remember was with my ex where we bought a ton of food from a high end market and ate and drank and ate and ate and ate until we were sick, all after putting the kids to bed. The rest is mental landfill.

So I prefer to say good riddance to the bad rubbish of 2020 and let's just hold our breath about all that warm and fuzzy outlook stuff for the new year. I did last year at this time quip that maybe 2020 was perhaps the year of perfect vision. So much for my rose colored glass prophecy. It was more like the year of a perfect apocalyptic vision.

I will leave you with a Mark Twain quote about the new year. He was a brilliant man and we should all pay more attention to him

New Year's Day--Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.

- Letter to Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, Jan. 1863

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