23:59 End of the World

By dean

Like it needs to be said: New Year's Eve has always been one of the most depressing times of the year. All that forced "celebration" and approved inanity, all those out-of-touch, sad twits trying to show how "wild" they can be...all that insincerity. We know the best times of your life are when they aren't expected or planned, the worst times are when you see them coming a mile away. And New Year's Eve is like your high school counselor donning a pair of shades and trying to plan a "rave" for da kids.

So if this year is especially bad with "1999" (with its nobody-actually-pays-attention-to-them bleak lyrics), TAKE THAT solo <*cough*> artists, and -- oh my -- SILVERCHAIR rambling about on so many blaring car stereos and tinny mall speakers, why even bother? We live in a deplorable world, with deplorable people, why celebrate this fact with the root of the problem?

To make matters worse, this particular time there is the very real threat of potential disaster. While if any Himself-Fearing God would strike us down for too many song-destroying Burger King ads or "I'm With Stupid" T-shirts, it's preposterous to assume He would do so on appointment. But what about the people who believe He would? And if they aren't proven right come January 1st, they want to make it happen? Oh, help us, it's not God we should be afraid of, it's His followers.

And Y2K Bug, the endless questioning of "So what are you going to do this year?," the universal feeling of being blue-balled, yeah yeah yeah. It just gets worse the more one thinks about it. It just hits you over and over again that it's not the most comforting of times.

Anything one can do? No, not really. Nutters are nutters, and if they want to take out a city block, an entire state, a small country, Everything But Their Girlfriends, they will. It's easy to be crazy nowadays. Just look at people that go to Sting concerts.

But you don't have to be stupid about it. It's probably not the smartest thing to be in a place that 1.) has "sin" as part of its nick-name, 2.) doesn't view homosexuals as "Satan spawn," 3.) has a "hard-running" nuclear power plant nearby, 4.) has the letters "Is" and "rael" in it, or 5.) has any other human beings for miles around.

Makes sense: better to just pass the usually pathetic holiday off for at least a year or two. It's never been any good, true, but at least before now the only real fear you had was being felt up by the wrong gender at an office party.

Get away. Go somewhere unconventional. Bring plenty of gas, have a shindig someplace remote, go all out, but don't forget plenty and I mean plenty of CD's. Because if something goes wrong, and you're someplace out of the way, at least you can survive off of something that really matters. The choice is Robbie Williams, death, or that rare acoustic cover of "Across The Universe" by SUEDE. If you want to put it another way: if some serious crap goes down, you won't be around. If something doesn't, you'll end up with one of the most unusually pleasurable New Year's Eves of your lives anyway.

Although, wait. Would it really be that bad for 99 percent of this world to be destroyed? Imagine a world completely devastated by nuclear fireballs and Jerry Falwell. Imagine a world where virtually nobody else was around and you can live your life in non-radiated peace. Think of all that time to be left alone with just your own music and no coke-snorting politicians.

But come on. We all know what would most likely happen, don't we? Even if any of us did survive, Murphy's Law would try and screw everything up. It'd probably be a lot like that "Twilight Zone" episode...I'm sure if any of us would survive the probable holocaust, our CD players would break, or a loud bang would make us completely deaf, or the only other people roaming around alive would be either DELIVERANCE-mimicking, militia members or NINE INCH NAILS fans.

It's still worth a shot, though. It's still probably a good idea to try and get out while there's time, see what happens, and go from there. I don't expect any real feces to hit the fan, no. But it's fine to play it safe this time around. Even becoming the tragic figure in a "Twilight Zone" episode is better than dying in a fundamentalist-crazed shootout all to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne."

But anyway, enough cliche-ridden prattling. Get going, I should. I do wish you well. Whoever you are. If we find each other either in the scarred landscape of a post-apocalyptic meltdown with our discmans on overdrive or just run into each next month at this site it should be okay. Because as absurd as the world can be right now, it can't get much worse. Buck up.

So that's the story for now. Wherever you end up, may the wind always be at your back and may syphilis never get you down. Because I'm actually off this time. Away from everybody. Making my own tracks. With a tip of my fedora, the sun over my shoulder, a shotgun braced by my side, and a backpack full of CD's. After all: if this is the way the world ends...at the very least the whimper will sound good.