The morning of my eighth birthday, I woke up to the sounds of my tone-deaf brother’s singing. See, when I was a kid, my brother’s favorite game was to wake me up as obnoxiously as possible, which meant that that day, I awoke to the lilting strains of “Rise and Shine and Bring Out The Glory-Glory,” accompanied by two pots being banged together for the rhythm section.
“Getthefuckouttahere,*” I mumbled, my mouth still full of pillow.
“OH NO!” he exclaimed. “It’s YOUR BIRTHDAY! You don’t GET to sleep in lazybones!” He then launched into a a-Capella version of “Lazybones” accompanied by one of our dogs howling.
I paddled my way downstairs in my footie pajamas and threw myself on the couch with the funny pages from the Trib.
“Happy Birthday, Rebecca!” my dad boomed cheerfully as he read the sports section of the paper.
“Thanks,” I mumbled, my head still full of The Sleeps and dreams of reinventing the Babysitter’s Club books so that the characters were all mutant zombies that looked a lot like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
“How do you feel?” He boomed loudly, always trying to annoy me with his loud-ass voice first thing in the morning, when all I’d wanted was five minutes of peace to wipe The Sleeps off my face.
“Uh, okay.” I replied, wishing he’d shutthefuckup already.
Knowing he was annoying me, he kept going, “How does it feel to be EIGHT years old? Do you feel any different?”
Finally I put down the funny pages, which had been obscuring my view of my father, in the vain hope that he’d forget I was there and assume that one of the house plants was reading the comics. I let the question bop around in my brain awhile.
Did I feel different? Was I supposed to? Was there some climactic event that happened on one particular day that I should be aware of? What was different about today as opposed to yesterday? I mean, I guess I’m older, but that’s not really much of a deal. Over and over I mulled the question - did I feel different?
At last, I replied with the only answer that seemed appropriate. “Well, I only have one more birthday until I’m in the double digits.”
He laughed before handing me a present to open – more Sea Monkeys for me to experiment upon.
And I went about my day, not feeling even one stinking inch older.
That’s, I think, what bugs me about New Years so much. Not only is the age bracket for having fun between 15-23 (the ages in which puking bar pretzels out your nose is considered “quality entertainment”), but it’s this big pivot point for most of the people I know. This year, I’m going to lose X amount of pounds, or quit smoking, or breastfeed llamas in the Swiss Alps. The resolutions range from the sublime to the absurd.
Take for example, last year’s resolution for me: “DO NOT BECOME LIL WAYNE.” Perhaps this year, I should aim to “BECOME LIL WAYNE,” just to be contrary.
I woke up yesterday feeling exactly the same as the night before, with the exception of my eyes – the sun was being too loud for them. I’d gone to sleep after drinking wee champagne bottles with my friend Paul, who was visiting from one of those states that starts with a vowel. Ohio? Iowa? Kansas City? I didn’t know.
Since I’ve been using “this is going to be our year!” every year since I was a wee tot to describe my beloved Cubbies, who haven’t won the world series in 104 years (if Jimmy Wales is to be believed), so when I see it applied to the new year, I’m always baffled. If the Cubs can’t break a losing streak for 104 years, how the nuts are we supposed to believe that this year will be any different?
I’m not even wearing my pessimistic pants today – I’m just not sure that the changing of the calendar will do anything to make us different and/or better people. I woke up today in the same shape I woke up yesterday and the same shape I’ll wake up again tomorrow. Life goes on. The calendar changes. We keep on keepin’ on because that’s what we do.
Only thing different is that I’m going to have to stop signing checks 2008.
And come up with another absurd resolution, natch.
*As my brother was ten years my senior, my parents allowed me to swear in the house after I’d complained bitterly that he could swear but I could not.
Do you make resolutions, Pranskters? If so, what are they?