The New Year
ead Letter Office is a column of letters written by Todd Hutlock to a friend named Jimmy, who may or may not exist. The column details real-life experiences regarding work, life, and how Hutlock's obsession with music runs them both.
On my list of overrated holidays, New Year’s Eve is tops, finishing just ahead of Halloween. I mean, think about it—have you ever had a really good New Year’s Eve? I sure haven’t, and I don’t know many people who have. Oh, they might claim that they had a great time, but what did they do that was really so great? Go out and get drunk with a few hundred of their closest friends at five times the prices that they would have paid the night before or the night after? None for me, thanks.
This year, I plan on staying home for New Year’s Eve, as I usually do. And, as with everything else in my self-centered little universe, this got me to thinking… about myself, naturally.
I recently read—or maybe I was told by someone or saw it on TV, I don’t recall exactly—an old cliché (and you know how I love those) about New Year’s Eve. It went something like, “Whatever you are doing on New Year’s Eve is usually reflection of what you will be doing for the rest of the coming year.” And I thought about it for a minute or two and decided that it, like most old clichés, was pretty much accurate in my case.
For example: last New Year’s Eve, I sat at home and did absolutely nothing. And I’ll be damned if that isn’t what I did for the entire calendar year of 2003 for the most part. I hardly ever went out, and I hardly ever wanted to. I just sat in my house and watched movies, which is exactly what I was doing when the clock struck midnight last year. I think I might have been watching The Lady Eve, come to think of it.
A few years ago, I went out and worked on New Year’s Eve, and that following year I ended up working two jobs (well, one of them was a DJ gig, but still) seven days a week. This included some extremely hellish Friday evenings when I would put in a shift from 11 to 8 at the Co-Op Bookstore Record Department, then rush down to Cleveland where I would DJ from 10 to 2:30 AM, then be back at the Co-Op for a 9-6 shift on Saturday morning, and have another DJ gig at 10 that night. And I did that EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND that year, barring holidays. I’ll never work New Year’s Eve again, my friend.
I even went way back in my mental archives to 1989. I spent the evening with my girlfriend at the time, Carrie. There was some significant hay-rolling going on at one point, followed by a nice dinner and I think some more of the same. Anyway, it was all gravy until about 11:20 or so, at which point we got in some horrible fight about something and the next thing I knew she got up, put her clothes on, and left me there. Just got in her car and left. We broke up two days later (she didn’t even return my calls the next day), and I spent the entire next year alone, except for a handful of strictly physical-type affairs. Hmmmm….
Spooky, ain’t it?
Anyway, I’m sure I’m reading into all of this to some degree (I am a bit of a drama queen, you know), but I’m now a bit paranoid about sitting home alone on New Year’s Eve. Does this mean I’m going to spend the body of 2004 alone? I mean, the dog will be there, but that hardly counts, does it? Short of going out somewhere—which I am bound and determined not to do—what can I do to ensure in my own superstitious mind that I will have a happy and fulfilling 2004?
Well, my list of ideas is pretty short. I was thinking I should get some writing done. That might help keep me on deadline a bit better throughout the year. I half-thought about cleaning out my closets—I’m sure I’m carrying around a ton of shit that I’ll never want to wear again, and God knows I need the storage space. Maybe I’ll dig out some of my old favorite albums and usher in the year listening to them, or even better, some new ones that I haven’t played yet. That way I might get back in touch with new music a bit more next year. Hell, I could hook up the old DJ rig and make a mix, and maybe the gigs would come rolling my way again. I’ve got about 7 or 8 half-written songs in various stages floating around my brain—maybe if I finish one, I could get back into playing music again.
Anyway, that’s about it on my end. Give this some thought, and when you make your inevitable 3 AM drunken phone call, make sure you leave your ideas on my machine. Hopefully I’ll be too busy doing something to pick it up.
Your man in the Midwest,