Happy New Year!
Good. Glad that’s out of the way. Let’s never say it again, hmm?
All your friends–excuse me, all of the people you sort of know and who sort of tolerate your company every now and then–are at a New Year’s Eve party that guarantees to be a shindig of such massive proportions that the foundation of the earth itself will not be sufficient to contain it. There will be drinking! And carousing! Tiny finger foods! A drunken game of Apples to Apples that ends in a violent argument about the nature of soup! Fireworks! A visit from real, live firefighters! And, of course, a kiss at midnight: a symbol that you are not alone on this special day, that your New Year begins with companionship and camaraderie!
But you’re not invited. For whatever reason–be it your annoying laugh, your tendency to compare the most innocuous of subject matter to African ethnic cleansing, or your paint-peeling funk, you are alone on New Year’s Eve. But have no fear! The Man Cave is here to help guide you through this difficult, lonely time.
What to eat?
I know, I know—this is a night just like any other. You’re alone, and there’s nothing but Netflix for company. What’s to stop you from making a pot of ramen? And, of course, by that I mean, “what’s to stop you from reheating the water left in the pot from last night’s ramen for another helping tonight?”
Come on. Have some pride. It’s a new year! Another clean slate, from which you will accomplish nothing of note. I have found that there is no food better to emphasize personal, professional, and spiritual failure than hash browns and black coffee at Waffle House at 2 AM (People who know me might point out that I have, in the past, used hash browns and black coffee as being the perfect food for emphasizing a great number of events, including marriage, childbirth, promotions, and graduations. Look, eating at Waffle House at 2 AM is a great way to emphasize a lot of things, okay?).
For our readers in the Godless Northlands, where Waffle Houses don’t sprout on every corner like Athena from the forehead of Zeus, do not fret! It’s easy to find the right grease hovel in which to forget your isolation; simply follow the smell of bacon and lard.
If, for whatever reason, Waffle House (or regional equivalent thereof) is off the table, then your options are more limited, but by no means should you be without hope! Ketchup and deli meat go exceedingly well together, and function as the base for any number of (allegedly) delicious sandwiches! And for dessert–a spoonful of peanut butter, which has enough calories and protein to keep you awake and productive for hours! Rather, enough calories and protein to turn into fat when you inevitably sit around and do nothing.
What to drink?
The New Year demands class. Champagne (or any sort of sparkling white wine, we’re not snobs here) is the standard, but really, anything that doesn’t come out of a box or a can is probably a step up for you. This time of year, most of the more reputable grocery stores will be having clearance sales on their wines. With aggressive couponing, it is within the realm of possibility to grab a (semi) decent bottle of wine for under ten dollars!
For those situations when wine just won’t cut it (and you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve alone, so I think we’re pretty secure in that assumption), make yourself a nice punch. This will serve dual purposes–it will mask the taste of alcohol beneath a layer of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors, and it will also create the illusion that you are preparing for a major party! Simply take two bottles of champagne (or any sort of sparkling yadda yadda), one bottle of grain alcohol, a gallon of Hawaiian Punch, and two-liters of a “fruit” flavored soda of your choice, and pour them all into a large bowl or stockpot. Voila! Instant party punch! As the evening progresses and the level of the punch drops, take the time to remind yourself how fortunate you are that no one else is here–otherwise, you’d have to share!
What to wear?
You’re kidding, right?
What to read?
What to resolve?
Now we’re getting somewhere. The tradition of making promises to improve one’s self is an old one, and stems from the fact that the New Year is a perfect starting point for making symbolic gestures. So you drank a bunch of mouthwash and passed out on your aunt’s rug. Twice. In one week. No problem, that was the OLD you. The NEW you, the one facing down this next year without fear, without doubt, and probably without pants, is going to turn things around!
The best kind of resolution is one that in no way learns from the mistakes of previous years. After three consecutive years of failing to lose even half of your frankly unrealistic weight-loss goal, most people would try for something a little more achievable. Indeed, breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable goals, is widely understood to be the most effective method of problem solving.
Screw that! You’re better than all of THOSE people, right? It’s a New Year! That means you’ll DEFINITELY finish all those nunchuck courses. And this is PROBABLY the year you learn to speak French! And the year you start doing laundry! Don’t let your unblemished record of unqualified failure discourage you from the steps you need to take to turn yourself into a better person!
It’s a New Year. The possibilities are limitless. And, as a (mostly) functioning member of society, your capacity for self-improvement is only limited by your imagination. So you’d better stop imagining now, or else you’ve got a lot of work to do.