Good evening. How are you? Sentimental, I presume? Dec 31st--It's easy for people to get sentimental around this time of year. The traditions of the holiday season encourage as much, be they the earnest appeals of spiritual leaders and loved ones to our better natures or the shameless marketing ploys by engines of commerce (and really, who can reliably tell the difference, anyway?).
On that latter note, I've observed that cynicism is also an especially popular sentiment during such times. I'm sure you've heard your fair share of the denigration of Christmas and gift-giving as nothing more than the hollow gestures of affection demanded by a society built on conspicuous consumption. New Year's too, gets a bum rap sometimes for being ultimately an over-hyped occasion for mass, socially-condoned substance abuse and orgiastic behavior that in the best case, provides only the most fleeting of pleasures.
I hear that view and I understand it to a degree, I really do. I hate walking around the mall like a zombie, desperately wracking my brain for any tiny granule of inspiration that will lead me to the least shitty, affordable thing that I could possibly purchase for my loved ones that I haven't already given them at some point in the past. I hate the typically testy scramble to figure out New Year's plans that don't cut someone important out, don't involve standing around out in the freezing weather for too long, and aren't basically a re-hash of getting drunk at a friends house in high school.
But at the same time, c'mon: Those tasks aren't so bad. They don't take up much of my time, and I doubt they take up much of yours. And aren't all pleasures essentially fleeting, anyway? All the ones I've enjoyed seem to be at least. Fuck if I'm not going to get sentimental about the people I shared them with, wherever they be now.
The year is 2009--the last year of the first decade of the 21st century--or a few moments longer! And however unrealistic it is, I hope that everyone has a chance to enjoy this time while it lasts. I am especially grateful for all the incredible opportunities I've had these years and the people that have been there along the way. I've been more fortunate than most, and I haven't given back nearly enough, not anywhere close to what I've received.
And Christ, we haven't even gotten to my transgressions! If I slighted you at all, I hope you know how sorry I am. I hate myself for causing any harm to you, and I don't ever want to behave in that way again. Whatever foolish reason I had for acting in the way that I did, it wasn't worth it.
You have much to teach me and the world, and I hope that going forward, especially if it hasn't happened already, that you will be recognized and respected and cherished for being here with all of us. I hope that even when things don't go according to your plans, as they are loathe to do, you will still find happiness, satisfaction and meaning, perhaps more through adversity, although again, it'd be nice if some stuff just worked and came easy.
More than this, I hope that however the last years were for you, you're looking forward to 2010. Why shouldn't you be? Especially because, according to the decade summaries and analysis-pieces in the mainstream media, the first 10 revolutions around the sun of the 21st century were a real bust, perhaps the worst 10 ever (…or at least as far back as the Baby Boomers can remember). You know why of course--it's all the usual suspects; terrorism, war, greed, pollution, natural disasters, celebrity culture, reality TV. A general shift in society away from the simple common courtesy that used to guide human interaction, an abandonment of the human decency of years' past. It's the "good old days," scenario has been thrown at every up-and-coming generation of youths by their forbears. Others talented individuals have written about how tired and futile this argument is, and I fully agree.
But I do think there is something to be said for knowing where we came from; all the unsung hard work and sacrifice and yes, even the hell of a lot of bad ideas that have gone into making the world what is today. It's an endemically imperfect world of course, and it will likely always be. But it is also so full of life and passion and possibility, I can't help but be overcome with gratitude to those who made it so. Every (other) time I stop and think about it, I am moved by all that has lead up to this very moment, and I long for what comes next.
Sure sure, the next decade will be filled with really unfortunate, unwelcome, unforeseen twists that will fuck a lot of things up. People will continue to suffer miserably. People that don't deserve to die will. But I also think that the coming years will be filled with unprecedented accomplishment, incredible progress, and awe-inspiring, life-affirming, bone-chillingly crazy innovation. Lest we forget, the century is young! It's been a wild, unruly, undisciplined child so far, but sometimes those kids turn out to be the brightest minds, the true revolutionists, the luminaries. She's just learning, so give her a chance, will ya?
It will be worth it to stick around and see it all go down, I have no doubt. I'll do my damnedest to make sure I can be there, and I hope you will too, but in the end, its not really up to us now, is it? So cheers motherfuckers. A toast to whatever connection, however circumstantial or providential, has brought you to this gleaming pile of mind-vomit. And now, for a second round expulsion of malformed cliches: See you on the flip-side. God Bless America. God Bless the Globe. God Bless Us All, Even My Atheist Friends. Hail Satan! Hail Santa! XX OO