Christmas Island is ironically the first to ring in the New Year, while the uninhabited Howland and Baker Islands, near the United States are the last. I bet that real estate has doubled since the pandemic. New bed and breakfast coming soon, presumed. Most everyone else in the world has already started their New Year, before we have finished our last meal. Why am I always the last to know? Feeling f.o.m.o (fear of missing out) these last few days, for sure!
The history of time balls and the first recorded New Year’s “celebration” occurred 4000 years ago in March, ancient Babylon. “The first new moon after the Vernal Equinox was considered the dividing line between the previous year and the new one.” “January 1 was celebrated as the start of the new year for the first time in 45 BCE, after Julius Caesar implemented sweeping changes to the Roman calendar.” “Ancient Romans celebrated the day with sacrifices to Janus (not the actress from friends), the Roman god of beginnings (for whom January is named), as well as gift exchanges (white elephants, joking) and (jingle-ball) big parties.”
“On December 31, 1904, The New York Times threw a raucous street party in Times Square.” “The event was a huge hit, and soon enough, Time Square New Year’s Eve bashes became an annual tradition.” I’m pretty sure Dick Clark hosted. As it down pours rain and with the rumbling ominous clouds, I’m wondering how this celebration will endure and surely take place. The new variant has many canceling plans and staying home, especially this past week.
Thunderbolts and lightning, snow flurries and wind whipping, up in the mountains; the ski slopes closed until further notice. You’ll need chains when this blizzard let’s up and you can see further than one foot in front of your nose. There’s one tradition that can still be met. “Crimson undergarments are also supposed to bring good luck when New Year’s Eve rolls around.” “From Italy to Spain to Bolivia and beyond, the custom of donning red underclothes on December 31 is widespread.” Stay away from thongs even before midnight gongs.
Do you believe in fate? The New Year’s Eve concert in the early ninety’s makes me think there’s something to fate, lightning, Tesla, rock-n-roll, statistics, omens, spooky moons, conspiracies, collisions, and New Year’s Eve. After two close-calls, near-deaths, back-to-back, and all these years and miles in between; I’m still perplexed as to the odds of such events and their unlikely probabilities. I’m thinking of taking up math for a new resolution.
“According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are estimated to be 1 in 13,000, if you live to be 80 years old.” “A bolt of lightning surging through your body can reach up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is roughly five times hotter than the sun’s surface.” I’m not going to test that validity! “The U.S. Weather Service places a person’s odds of being struck by lightning in a given year at 1 in 1,222,000 people, based on population.” Scarily, I have had a few members in my family struck and killed by lightning (trying to churn ice cream in the mid-west). Of course, out-doors ups a person’s chances, and hence I’m inside doing inside activities only.
The story goes, while out on the porch holding and rocking their babies, my great grandmothers were churning. Storm’s out in the mid-west can come on fast, but the bolt went through both women and killed them upon blast. The babies were miraculously alive and were thrown from their mother’s when the lightning hit them. Whatever the exact facts, I learned from their fate’s never to make the same mistake.
It’s not what you’ve got, but what you give, and I reveled in the music from the nosebleed seats. I stood out and felt left out, as the balloons fell from the ceiling and confetti engulfed the amphitheater. I had been so excited to see one of my favorite bands; only seeing Metallica before. Metallica not as uplifting as one would hope! That’s not their image, to their defense. No love ballads they once stated, would never “sell-out” their claim to fame. No matter, ride the lightning was still impressive to this day!
“The odds are much worse when you play the US Mega Millions with one to 302.5 million chances.” So, there goes that saying of having better odds, lightning versus the lottery. “Sadly, getting struck by lightning is much more probable than winning the lottery.” Speaking of winning the lottery, and my next introduction; my sister-in-law, aptly named Sissy and the best sister God intended us to have.
Years before I even met my betrothed, Sissy, her best friend Missy, Tommy Skeoch, Frank Hannon, and Brian Wheat, all piled in my tiny corner store of knick-knacks on Sutter’s Street. They were obviously lost, and I dumbfounded answered their dilemma in a New York minute. The mid-westerners used to make fun of us (West-Coast), saying too much running around and getting nothing done. Among other unsweetened sentiments, that I just laughed at, while headed to the airport, fast pass in hand.
Sissy couldn’t be more opposite from my biological sister, and all these years later, I feel lucky who fate landed on us. In every way they are completely different, Sissy’s home looks like a magazine advertisement for Ralph Lauren and my blood sister (Coco, see Here I go again) looks like something once “ralphed” in her living room, hell of dens. Appearance, purpose, beliefs, and our individual relationships, yin and yang does exist! There’s a reason. Sissy, a muse for rock ballads, and Coco amused by destructive devises.
“In the “winning the lottery vs getting struck by lightning” scenario, the odds remain firmly in electricity’s favor.” “Indeed, it’s your choice that dictates your fate”, so they say. “As a human being with common sense, you can act on things sensibly and be wrong less.”
“We spend billions on terrorist attacks, but hardly anything on preventing asteroid impacts.” “Yet, of all the ways we can die from astronomical events, asteroid impacts are both the highest probability event and the only ones we can prevent.” Words by astronomer Allan Harris.
“Gregory Baer, author of Life: The Odds, states that your chances of becoming a saint are around 1 in 20 million.” “This is taken from the fact that out of the 100 billion people who have ever existed, only 5,000 or so have been declared saints.” “Still, 1 in 20 million is better than 1 in 300 million, don’t you think?”
So, whatever you intend this last night of the year; maybe a concert, fireworks, or a ticket will help usher the New Year in with high hopes. I have chosen some Irish blessings to invoke. “May your heart be light and happy, may your smile be big and wide, and may your pockets always have a coin or two inside!” “May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.” “For each petal on the shamrock, this brings a wish your way: Good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day.”
Hope to see you in the New Year; we’ll embark on another quest of untold glory. Unchartered territory lies ahead, let’s keep good focus on what matters most, each other and our families.