FRIVOLITY

New Years Eve has come and gone with the hopes of multitudes that somehow the new year will be less crappy than the old one. How many millions of people will start their (really serious) diets today, or their new exercise programs, or vow to stop smoking, or stop over-drinking, or get their finances in order, or in general get their lives in order. I go to a gym most days, and invariably, I see a large increased traffic in January that usually lasts until early to mid-February before it begins to fade back to normal as people vowing to get fit slowly but surely realize that an arbitrary demarcation in the calendar doesn’t really change their lives.

Here in Las Vegas New Years Eve is really a big deal. Tens of thousands of people come here to celebrate the coming of the new year. If they’re staying in a hotel, visitors are required to take the room for at least 3-4 nights a truly mind boggling prices, and that”s before they throw more money away in the casinos. (You said there was a recession?) The Las Vegas Strip is closed to automobile traffic so people can parade up and down the Strip whooping it up.  At midnight they put on a very expensive and impressive fire-works display which may last all of 10 minutes. When I was younger I had thoughts of going down to the Strip and joining the mob with a bottle of scotch in my hand. But it would have meant renting a hotel room (because otherwise there would be no place to park) for at least a couple of thousand  so I quickly decided it really wasn’t worth it. This year they estimated that there was over 300,000 people on the Strip so I probably would have gotten claustrophobia anyhow.

Instead we and 3 other senior couples went for dinner in one of the local hotels. We have been doing this for several years so we were pretty much pros at ordering, eating and paying for our New Years Eve dinner but there were a couple of problems. One was that they had a special price-fixed dinner (instead of their usual menu) which was about 3 times the price it normally costs to eat there. Secondly even though it was an Italian restaurant, strangely, there was no Italian entree. That should have been a warning because the dinner turned out to be quite mediocre, but hey, it only costs 3 times more than it should. After, we had planned to go to one of their houses to watch the fireworks on TV, but instead we forgot (that senior thing again) and just went home.

Years ago there was a cartoon strip (called B.C.) and one of its features was an ant-eater that perpetually had an angry scowl on his face as he foraged for ants. And there was always a group of ants that were gleefully jumping up and down celebrating one thing or another. Eventually the ant-eater would overhear the celebration and think to himself-“Do I hear frivolity going on?”  He would creep in closer with his angry look and sure enough spy frivolity as the oblivious ants kept jumping up and down in joy over something. Then ZAP, as the anteater’s long tongue would shoot out, gobble up all the ants and swallow them in a split second. I think it was the cartoonist’s vision of what life was all about. If you’re too oblivious in in your celebrations life is bound to get you.

So for all the crumbling resolutions that will inevitably occur and for all the faded dreams that will expire as everyone’s life eventually turns back to reality, not to worry. There will be another New Years Eve before you know and then things will definitely get better the following year. Won’t it?

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