New Year Traditions 1/7/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

Yesterday’s blog said that I was writing it on New Year’s Eve.  Today, it’s New Year’s Eve, so it’s heavy on my mind.  Yes, sometimes I do write more than one blog in a day, so what the heck, it’s a huge celebration today, so I may as well write another once since I’m home alone. 

I love New Year’s Eve celebrations.  It’s a time when people get drunk and flirty and kiss strangers and wake up the next morning asking those eternal questions, “who are you and where are we?”  New Year’s Eve celebrations are so unique, unlike any other celebrations, and certainly not like St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mardi’s Gras or anything else.  No, indeed, this is the celebration where we get drunk and watch a crystal ball drop in New York City on the television.  In other holidays, we get drunk without watching television.

Not that I’m bitter about spending the celebration alone.  Again.

There are some New Year’s Eve traditions that many people follow, such as New Year’s Resolutions.  The New Year is a time that many people use to reflect on themselves, the past year, and make resolutions for the new year.  My ex-wife used to be big on following that tradition, but for some reason all of her resolutions were for me to do instead of her.  The joke’s on her, though, because I always broke them in record time.

Honestly, people do make legitimate efforts to keep their resolution, even if they often end up breaking them anyway.  But the reality is that even if the resolutions are not kept, it is still a time of self-reflection.  If the resolutions are broken, the reflection still helps us to see how we can improve to be better people which, at the very least, is a great first step.  My only complaint is when people choose resolutions for people other than themselves.  For example, losing weight and getting into shape are good resolutions if they are for the right reasons.  If somebody is unhappy with themselves because of their shape, then those are good resolutions if done for themselves.  But if somebody decides they want to lose weight to please, for example, their partner, then the resolution is bound to fail because the foundation is flawed in the first place.

One quick comment, though.  If your partner wants to improve themselves, support them.  I have a good friend who wanted to quit smoking, a great resolution.  It’s healthy, and saves money, and yet her common-law husband did not want to quit.  First, it’s rather unsupportive to continue smoking around a partner who wants to stop, but what’s worse is that he would smoke in her presence.  Sneaking cigarettes behind her back would be bad enough since invariably she will find out, but at least it’s smoking out of sight.  Smoking in her presence shows, in my opinion, a poor commitment to her and the relationship.  And, yes, she did eventually leave him.  Not because he smokes, but because it was just one of a plethora of actions that showed disrespect and lack of commitment to the relationship. 

Being of Germanic descent, I’m most familiar with Germanic traditions.  We like to pretend like they are traditions to bring about good luck for the new year, but we all know they were started by the food industry to move product that people wouldn’t buy without some kind of incentive, and certainly wouldn’t eat sober. 

In my refrigerator, I do have pickled herring.  Why it’s in my refrigerator, I’m not sure, but it tastes much like dead fish flesh in white wine pickling sauce.  Delicious.  The tradition is to eat pickled herring on New Year’s Eve for a late-night snack.  Not at midnight, mind you, because your significant other will want you to brush your teeth if you expect to get a damned kiss at midnight from me, pal! 

Speaking of foul-smelling breath, of course, I also have my sauerkraut ready for supper on New Year’s Day.  Another great German Tradition to bring good luck from the same people who lost two World Wars in a row.  For some reason, German’s love very strong bitter flavored foods like pickled herring, Sauerkraut, and German Potato Salad. That these are being pushed as good luck by the food industry is demonstrated by the fact that truly delicious German foods like potato pancakes, strudel (real strudel, not the frozen pastry garbage) and black forest chocolate cake are not considered to be good luck.

But what the hell.  I need all of the luck I can get, so yes, pickled herring tonight, and sauerkraut with Wienerschnitzel tomorrow.

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