This is gravy time, folks. We have reached that sluggish state of Christmas post-mortem, the viscid spot on the calendar when the leftovers fossilize, the garbage collectors disappear, and no one can say what day it is. We are living out the climactic dyspepsia of the dying year, impatiently waiting for 2019 to give up the ghost and, with its final labored whimper, let us metamorphosize to 2020. As we brace for penetration of that psychic wall dividing the old year from the new, we close our eyes and hum our favorite lullaby: the vivacious melody of our new year’s resolutions. The cynical function of these hopeless resolutions is to reassure us that things will get better—and they do, for, from our comatose condition at the end of the year, things couldn’t possibly get any worse.
Don’t think I’m above this squalid custom: I haven’t shaved or sobered up since Friday afternoon, and I still have to read three more pages of the Book of Kings just to maintain my regimen. If 2020 is to be of benefit—to me or to anybody else—then we must begin the year by purging ourselves of this bile, this toxicity that reduces us to vegetative vestiges for the final week of December. This bile is both psychological and physical, the latter manifesting in the cruddy clutter we so cheerfully toss into bin, though usually not until two or three months into the year. I’m already making some progress, trashing a brittle ladle from twenty years ago and junk mail of more recent memory.
Aggressively though I fight to keep my name off of their multilayered mailing lists, the presidential candidates always find a way to stuff their fluff into my mailbox. Tom Steyer, who appears to have changed his name to Tom Democrat, has already sent me three flyers and counting, and we’re still six weeks away from the New Hampshire Primary. Steyer has been wasting paper on me since the September convention, when Michael Morrill, his majordomo, handed me his business card after I made it clear that I was uninterested in working for his campaign. Now I regret turning him down: I could have sabotaged him as best as I was able, though I might have felt the vaguest compunction for betraying a man whose business card was “labor donated”.