And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,
And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen.
It rolls around again, that most magical of Scottish celebrations: Hogmanay. Illustrated, usually, by wild parties, nonstop music, ubiquitous usquebach (whisky), and the best odds of the whole year that you will end up falling asleep on your lawn around 4am.
Here at Chez Haggis we will be doing nothing of the sort, of course. But somewhere deep in my head I'll be pretending I am. New Year's Eve is always bittersweet for me because it always makes me miss my Dad desperately, he of Annual Hogmanay Festivities fame. At the same time, it's also a wonderful opportunity to look back on The Year That Was and be thankful for its blessings, if not for its ass kickings.
This year, all of the great things for which I'm grateful fall under one big umbrella: I'm glad to be alive. Last new year's eve was miserable, scary and depressing. I spent it holed up in my house, wearing a mask, not able to see people. I'm so glad this year is diff... oh. Er. Well. Hmm. ;) Obviously the key difference is that last year I was holed up worried I was going to die. This year, I'm holed up looking forward to all the ways in which I'm going to really, really live in the latter half of 2008.
Some friends have said they are going to toast to my good health, and I've absolutely begged them not to. I still have a long way to go via immune standards, and there are still lots of things that can go wrong between now and then, so I'm not celebrating anything to do with good health yet. I'm simply celebrating life. It's an important distinction for me, because any celebration of "good health" is premature at best and (in my superstitious mind) a guaranteed way to encourage The Fates to f*ck me over. So if you like me at all, you will not utter "good health" in the same paragraph as my name this year. In return I will utter it three times for each of you. I will also pass on to you all the good wishes I have received via email from what appears to be hundreds of Haggis fans. Those dears have sent me wishes for a Larger Penis in 2008, Increased Libido in 2008, and Get It Hard/Keep It Hard "lotion" in 2008. They are all so kind that I don't have the heart to tell them that my penis is plenty large enough already...another thing I plan to toast at midnight. ;)
Truth be told, as ridiculous as it sounds, I'm really looking forward to 2008. 2006 and 2007, as wonderful as they were in terms of Bambina and family, just completely sucked wind from all other angles, and I'm hoping 2008 is my comeback. On a political note, I'm also hoping it's the year we elect the right person president. As we enter the final 384 days of George W. Bush's Reign of Repugnant Recalcitrance, only HL Mencken can summarize the past eight years: “Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” In 2008, let us hope, pray and work to ensure that it doesn't describe our future.
As always, I'm going to end with the traditional Scottish blessing:
Lang may yer lum reek
Yer wally dreep
And the skin o' yer belly trip ye.*
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Long may your chimney smoke (ie, you have a warm home to live in), your penis work (ie, you have happy "relations"), and a belly so big it trips you (food and sustenance). It's a beautiful thought, of course made into a semi-dirty ode to sex and gluttony, as only my ancestors can do it.