It is that time of year again. Where we sign up for gym memberships and then drive home disgruntled because on the first day of our January resolution the Lifecycle bikes to nowhere are fully occupied and there is a line for seaweed and kale shakes at the juice bar.
The good news is that the gyms are not open, so now there is a legitimate reason not to workout at all.
The bad news is that we need to be more imaginative in making the New Year's resolutions we will be dropping by February.
Perhaps the good news is bad news and the bad news is good news.
It is also the time of year where we have to suffer through countless Year In Review retrospectives in the media. As if we don’t remember what happened over the past 12 months.
Dec 31st. Out With the Old.
The 20th year of the new millennium will forever be etched in our collective memories as the year we tried to forget. I don’t think we need to be reminded of that.
Instead, I would like to take a nostalgic look back at the year 1020, a simpler time when we weren’t exposed to touching highlights because television reception was poor and we couldn’t read. And we didn’t worry about losing weight at the gym because we were too busy starving on dirt floors at home.
In fact for most of us, our New Year’s resolution for 1021, was to make it to 1022.
In March, wearing pointy masks in public was discouraged because according to the CDC elders at the time, the plague was transmitted by fleas. Keeping rats as pets however, was banned in New York City. As in previous years, the death toll remained high. In 1020, being over the age of 35 was an underlying condition.
In 1020 or thereabouts we lost famed globe trotter, Leif Erikson, due to complications associated with living in Greenland. Erikson, the notorious Viking who discovered football in Minnesota, is remembered as the man who gave us Columbus Day.
In 1020, the year in music was marked most notably by the pleasant absence of any major release by recording artist Taylor Swift, who wouldn’t be born for another thousand years, although she did controversially present the award for Chant of the Year to Lady Gaga at the Gregorian Greggies.
In sports, Edward the Blind took home first place dung in the pitch fork hurling contest during the Ox-plow games held this summer in feudal France. Edward’s record breaking toss was witnessed by Lyfing, Archbishop of Canterbury, who later died of his wounds.
The year 1020, give or take 6 years, was not without political drama. Canute the Great proclaimed himself King of all England, and Denmark and the Norwegians, and of some of the Swedes, even though he lost the popular vote and provided no evidence of his coronation.
Toward year-end the king famously stood at the shore of gently lapping waters off Thorney Island to demonstrate to his fawning courtiers his ability to stop the tide. His feet got wet.
Jan 1st. In With the New
I woke up this morning with a headache. Like I have been sleeping for a thousand years.
It’s 2021. Now what? It feels like Y2K+20, where we wake with the expectation that the world will be totally different. And it isn’t.
I bought a big desk calendar that says 2021 across the top. Other than a newly entered brindle coffee cup ring on the 15th and 16th, January is white and pristine, like new fallen snow. So is February. Fortunately, I have a dentist appointment in March.
My resolution for 2021 is to start planning again. In 2021 I want to be scribbling vibrant entries with a Sharpie into the empty boxes. Things like:
Reception & dinner at White House. Take in tux.
Colbert and Kimmel appearances double booked! Call agent ASAP!
Yankees home opener. Call Jeeter for tickets!
Tix to West Side Story!!! Pre Show dinner at Le Bernardin. 6pm res. Party of 12.
Pick up yacht at Port Hercule, Monaco. No appts during film festival.
Plaza booked through New Years for holiday family reunion! Can’t wait!
OK, these things will probably never happen for me. But at least in 2021 they can. Particularly if one of the entries reads:
2:00 pm CVS. Wear short-sleeve shirt.
Across the top of my calendar in big bold letters I wrote: Optimism. That’s what 2021 feels like.
A pandemic of unbridled hope unmasking smiles that are far wider than the aisles of Congress.
The foreseeable dream to embrace an auld acquaintance be forgot without fear of reprisals or ventilators.
The ability to stand in line in a crowded, sweaty gym waiting for a dismal seaweed and kale shake that is supposed to make me feel better.
The new auld normal.