will be fine in '99
by Mad Dog
I'm sure somewhere there was an article on the Year in Fondue Oil
Recycling, the Year in Bellybutton Lint Sculpture, and the Year in Vegetarian Livestock
|| I spotted the new year coming from a mile away. The first tip off was the
note on my Martha Stewart desk calendar to "chop down a tree to make paper for next
years calendar." Then there was the arrival of Christmasa pretty strong
clue in itself. Next came People magazine's "100 People Whose Movie Studios and
Record Companies Bought The Most Advertising So Wed Put Them On Our Cover"
issue, which sold briskly in spite of the fact that we all guessed that Leonardo DiCaprio
would be number one. But the real clincher was when I blindly stumbled across my first
"Year in Review" article. I don't remember what magazine or newspaper it was in
but I'm pretty sure it happened in October.
Since then I've seen thirty-four Best and Worst of '98
articles, twenty-six Ins & Outs, eighteen Hits and Misses, twelve What's Hot and
What's Not, and enough year-end wrap-ups to circle the earth more times than John
Glenns Geritol I.V.
There have been articles about the Year in TV, the Year in
Music, the Year in Books, and the Year in Movies. I'm sure somewhere there was an article
on the Year in Fondue Oil Recycling, the Year in Bellybutton Lint Sculpture, and the Year
in Vegetarian Livestock Management. Unfortunately I didn't get to see them because I don't
subscribe to all the magazines I'd like, which isnt to say Ed McMahon and Dick Clark
aren't sending me plenty of mail trying to remedy that.
While the Year in Review reminds us that 229 people died when Swissair Flight 111 went
down in Nova Scotia, the Weekly World News is more likely to give us a glimpse into the
future by informing us that a talking dog will run for mayor of Guthrie, Oklahoma.
bothers me most about these articles is that I get dizzy from the whiplash deja vu.
Editors must believe the American public has a very short memory. Think about it, nothing
on these lists is over 12 months old! If George Santayana had been forced to live through
1998 Im sure he would have said, "Those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to spend January reading about it over and over and over."
That's why the only year-end articles worth
reading are the tabloids' predictions for 1999. At least these look ahead. While the Year
in Review reminds us that 229 people died when Swissair Flight 111 went down in Nova
Scotia ("Honey! Guess what happened last September while we were watching reruns of
the Bob Hope Christmas Special?"), the Weekly World News is more likely to give us a
glimpse into the future by informing us that a talking dog will run for mayor of
Guthrie, Oklahoma (though it doesnt say whether it will win). And while it's nice to
reminisce about how El Niño brought us more rain, harsh weather, and news stories than
any weather system since Noahs flood, isn't it going to do you more good to know
that before she died a couple of years ago, psychic and astrologer Jeane Dixon, predicted
that one of President Clintons old girlfriends of will be found dead in the Lincoln
Bedroom and Hillary will be a prime suspect?
I suggest that we forget the past. Okay, maybe we shouldn't actually forget it, but for
1999as a trial runwe could just pretend it's not the most important thing in
|| For a nation of people
who turn to the morning horoscope before Ann Landers, I'm confused by this preoccupation
with the past. Sure, like most Americans I occasionally long for the good old days of the
Cold War, the threat of nuclear attack, Vietnam, and polio. But then I stop and remind
myself that to go back to those days also means having to put up with Jerry Lewis movies,
Dan Quayle, and Tiffany all over again.
So I suggest that we forget the past. Okay, maybe we shouldn't actually
forget it, but for 1999as a trial runwe could just pretend it's not the most
important thing in our lives. We can ignore the 105th and 106th sessions of Congress, the
Starr Report, every Billboard Top 100 before the first one this year, and for those 13 of
you who saw it, the movie remake of Lolita. Then we can live our lives to their fullest
and look forward to January of 2000 when there will be 238 Year in Review articles, 115
lists of the Ins and Outs, and God-knows-how-many itemizations of What's Hot and What's
Not in the Coming Millennium. Who says theres nothing to look forward to?
©1998 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while you're putting up your new calendar.