The lady’s kids appeared out of the mist, bearing armfuls of products gathered from the far reaches of the vast big box store. They threw their bounty into her shopping cart sitting in front of me in the checkout lane, the pile growing ever larger, before venturing off for another load.
“Excuse me!” I said brightly. She looked up from the mound of clothing, shampoo and fidget spinners.
“Hi, I picked this line after carefully evaluating the contents of each cart in each line, estimating this line to have the shortest wait between me and my car. Your kids are throwing off my calculations.”
“Really?” she smiled. “Well, gee, why don’t you go $%^&$#$*% yourself? How do you calculate that?”
Did you know the first New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1, 45 B.C., the first day of the new Julian calendar? Julius Caesar walked around saying, “What a New Year’s Ever party! I am SO hungover.”
One of his friends said, “Big J, ummmmm, we didn’t have a New Year’s Eve party last night. This is the first year of the new calendar.”
“OK, so why am I so hungover?”
“It’s Rome, Big J, we celebrate every night.”
In Rome, New Year’s Day was dedicated to the god of new beginnings, Janus. Janus is often shown as having two faces, one face looking back to the past, the other to the future.
You could depict your “best friend” the same way, you know, the one you told a super-duper secret and they promised not to tell anyone. Later you found out they told your sister and she let it out over Snapchat. You confronted your “BFF” and she denied it, of course. I suggest you learn about Adrestia, the Norse god of revenge. Make things right — we never saw nuthin’.
Naming and Circumcision
New Year’s Day is also the day of the Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus in the Christian church. I also mark several days of the year to celebrate past surgeries and medical challenges. This year I’ll celebrate the Feast of the Broken Femur, the Feast of the Portal Vein Blood Clot and the Celebration of the Migraines Brought On by Leaving a Putt Two Feet Short.
One New Year’s tradition says the more leafy greens you eat, the more successful you will be. The year Facebook went public, Mark Zuckerberg ate 37 salads on New Year’s Day.
One Million People
One million people will converge on Times Square . Only 500,000 will be there for the ball drop. The other 500,000 think the Knicks are about to win a game.
Baby New Year
Baby New Year is the iconic baby in a top hat who most symbolizes the new year. Baby New Year is also a prolific rapper, best known fof the hits “Auld Lang Gang Syne” and “New Year, New Deals on Big Screen TVs.”
When I lived in Canada, we observed Boxing Day the day after Christmas. It wasn’t a day for my brothers and I to beat each other up — that was every other day.
No, Boxing Day is a real holiday in the UK, Canada and several other countries.
It Goes Back to Medieval Times
Some experts trace Boxing Day all the way back to medieval times. The “box” part refers to wealthy people giving boxes of gifts to their servant staff the day after Christmas.
Gee, thanks. That’s like letting them watch the Kentucky Derby the next day after everyone has left and the race is over.
Boxing Day Sales Used to be a Thing
Back in the day, we loved Boxing Day because it signaled big savings at post-Christmas sales. Some families even celebrated Christmas by exchanging gifts in the days between Christmas and New Year’s Ever just to save lots of money.
Now, the sales are so good before Christmas, Boxing Day sales are passé.
Which is good. Who wants to celebrate a birthday 5 days later?
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
This gift was on sale
So I bought one for me, too
No Boxing, Fighting or Roundhouse Kicking
I know, I know. Why call it Boxing Day if you aren’t going to throw a few punches?
Sorry, not allowed.
Save up that aggression for next Christmas season. You’ll need it to fight other shoppers on Black Friday to get that 64-inch TV for $100. Especially when you have to gang-tackle a grandma who nabbed the last one.
People ask me all the time about Christmas and what really happened. Here are three answers to things they often want to know.
What is Myrrh?
Myrrh is a natural resin or gum. In those days it was used as incense or perfume. These days it is packaged as a sugar-free, breath-cleaning Doublemint gum and is available in major grocery stores, convenient stores and gas stations.
What is Frankincense?
Like myrhh, frankincense is a resin used in perfumes and incense. In biblical times, many people valued it more than gold and silver. It is also a deodorant specifically made for Frankstein monsters. It stops sweat, and helps them dance better to techno music.
Why did the Wise Men not return to Herod after visiting Jesus?
The original story was they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod. The truth is their Google Maps app directed them to a busy Los Angeles boulevard where they were told to turn left during rush hour at an intersection without a traffic light. They sat there for five days waiting for a gap in traffic and eventually turned right and headed home.
Children are great, I mean if they never said anything or made any sounds at all. But if your spouse REALLY is pressuring you to have a few, run these three reasons by them to not have children.
As soon as you have kids, your “BFF” will soon become Best Friend Forever That I Never See Ever (BFFTINSE).
Your spouse is A-1 in your life, right. Well, when the kids show up, your spouse will move to the number two position and never recover.
Staying healthy is easy — get enough sleep, eat right, exercise. All three of those go out the window when kids start populating your house. Welcome to Take Out Pizza For the Rest Of Your Days on This Planet.
You’ll multiply your success rate if you can improve the quality of your thinking. Learn from the world’s greatest thinkers who share these traits.
Legendary minds develop advanced thinking patterns because they are intensely curious about the world around them. Learn to ask questions as you go through daily life. At the zoo, you might ask, “Why are these monkeys flinging poo at me? What is that all about?”
Great thinkers see patterns everywhere. Try this: Drive down the road and look for connections. For example, you might say, “Gosh darn it, will you look at that? The lady in that Toyota Camry next to me at the stop light looks exactly like a young Tim Conway.”
Priority on Learning
Good thinkers put a priority on learning. When Leonardo da Vinci was 12, his father said they were moving to Omaha. Leonardo complained, “Father, I can’t be Leonardo of Omaha!” His father said, “Sure you can.” That day Leonardo learned about flexibility, adaptability and how to hide from your family when they move to Nebraska.
Now that you are retired, you need to change how you are doing things to be joyful and carefree. Here are three tips to stay giddily happy in retirement.
Spend More Time on Personal Relationships
I don’t mean your spouse and family. I mean the cashier at the Dunkin Donuts who never makes fun of you for ordering two dozen donuts every morning for yourself, the Uber Eats driver who brings you meals at home because you are too lazy to go to an actual restaurant for dinner, and the waitress at the local IHOP who calls you Double Slammie because you always order two Grand Slam breakfasts for lunch every day.
Maintain Your Health
Now you don’t have any excuse to work out and exercise. You can’t tell yourself, “OK, I am going to work out today!” and then blow it off for three months because you “are too busy at work.”
You’ve been so busy being a driven, mean curmudgeon trying to be a Master of the Universe, you forgot how to have fun. You remember fun! Remember floating down the river in inner tubes drinking watery beer? That was fun. How about the time you went down the giant slide at the water park and your swimming suit flew off half way down. Good times. You need to do more that now.
Before you ruin your life by having kids and buying a house, try to get these five things done.
Pilot a Blimp
After you settle down, you’ll never be able to talk your spouse into letting you fly a blimp. “But what if it blows up like the Hindenburg?” they’ll say. That’s a tough objection to overcome.
Sing Loudly in the Shower
It’s much easier to sing loudly in the shower when you are single. Once you settle down, get ready for pounding on the wall of the bathroom, followed by yelling and complaining.
Drive Like the Cars in Fast and Furious
I don’t know what he did before he had had kids, but I remember when I was growing up my dad drove so slow we thought we’d never get home from church. So get it out of your system now. Once you have kids, you’ll drive like your grandpa on slow motion pills.
Paint Your Face for Football Games
Hey, this one is a stretch because, in reality, you probably shouldn’t be painting any part of your body to support your team after you graduate college. At State U, it’s perfectly acceptable. Once you are 25, it gets a little dicey. But go for it. This is your last shot. Just don’t plan on painting your kid’s face with the same color scheme down the road.
Golf Four Days in A Row Non-Stop in Your Own Town
In your twenties, you’ll think nothing of playing non-stop golf all over town for four days. Once you are hitched and popping out kids, your spouse will wonder where you have been. You can’t answer, “Well, Ted, Jim, Greg and I have been working on a massive environmental-impact study at several of the local park lands.”
You’ll get ahead faster and move further in life if people like you. Here are some shortcuts to get people to like you quickly.
Mirror Their Movements
One common suggestion is to mirror someone’s movements to get them to feel comfortable around you. Try my twist on this method. I call it “Mirror Plus.” It adds something extra. If they scratch their nose, you should scratch the top of your head. If they talk with active hands, you should act even more animated. Try mimicking the hand movements of NFL referees.
Even stone-faced, serious people respond well to compliments, they just won’t show it outwardly. Sprinkle positive comments to everyone you meet throughout the day.
On the elevator: “I really liked how you punched that button with authority.”
On the street: “Say, you have a cool dog. He seems to like chewing on my leg, but I like him.”
In the office: “Wow, that is a great haircut. Very soon you’ll be on the cover of ‘Weed Wacker Haircuts’ magazine.”
Be Warm and Friendly
Sometimes getting others to like you is just a matter of being warm and friendly. Say, “Hi, Champ!” or “Hey, Tiger!” to people if you don’t remember their name. Your big smile and open body language will communicate your warmth, even if it is obvious you don’t care enough to remember your coworkers’ names after working with them every day for 15 years.