Post-Holiday Blues

Ahh, once again the end of the year is nigh, just days away from breaking out the new calendar and going back to square one. In the rearview mirror?... Christmas and Hanukkah. Behind that, the monthlong yuletide shopping season with its accompanying holiday parties preceded, of course, by Thanksgiving and, fine, Halloween, if you must (how does that ghoulish little non-holiday get so much play, anyway?). Straight ahead: New Year's Eve, time for practiced imbibers and teetotalers alike to "Party Like It's 1999"--oftentimes with complete strangers--be it in cozy clubs, banquet halls, ballrooms, boats or even stadiums. The end result: waking up the next morning, totally dehydrated, head-throbbing, cotton-mouthed, a more than vague sense of guilt over perceived sketchy night-before shenanigans finding its way into our consciousness. That and the winter doldrums, front and center, sleeping bags in hand, ready to stay the long haul.

Grim much?... Guilty as charged. Hard not to be, though, when you take in the harsh reality of the multitude of festivities coming to a sudden halt, another long winter staring you dead in the face with the foreboding promise of the wettest and coldest days yet ahead. Days that are mostly cloudy, the outlook for the next few months bleaker than Popeye's chances of Wimpy gladly paying him Tuesday for that burger he bought him today. Bleaker than Leo DiCaprio's odds of snagging a piece of that big-assed floating door--the one that a party of five with luggage in tow could've lounged casually on with legroom to spare--being hogged by Kate Winslet as the Titanic sinks behind them. Bleaker than the likelihood of the IRS, arriving hat in hand, admitting they'd made a mistake, returning the money they claim to owe you with interest penalties and some really harsh punitive charges to boot. That and the promise to never audit you in the future, regardless of whether you even decide to file again. Yeah, talkin' seriously bleak.

Alright, by now you've sussed that your expectation of a little light reading with a laugh or two thrown in has been hijacked. In its stead, a monumentally gloomy rabbit hole with no end in sight. Kinda like the time you looked up the history of pyramids online for kicks, jumping from website to website only to realize, hours later, that you'd somehow ended up totally immersed in the FBI's ongoing investigation of a pyramid scheme involving a nutrition supplement company--the very one you sank your last penny into--coming upon a photo of the company CEO doing a perp walk with the caption: "Investors Go From Riches To Rags"... Sorry, was that just me? So, anyway, first off, I want you to know I feel your pain. And second, you might wanna recheck today's title; I'm pretty sure it doesn't read "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!"... Just sayin'.

Okay, so maybe I'm goin' about this all wrong. Maybe I look ahead to the 2024 calendar for inspiration. First up, Valentine's Day, where you plunk down your hard-earned dinero on flowers (that die by week's end), assorted chocolates (half of which are inedible) and dinner reservations (where the next shift of famished patrons stand at the door greedily peering in at you as the waitstaff prematurely clears your table and brusquely ushers you out). Yeah, gonna pass. On to St. Patty's Day, corned beef and cabbage, the beer dyed green, everyone sloshed by noon. Pass again. Easter and the overcooked ham, kids screaming maniacally, hunting for eggs. Another pass. Cinco de Mayo, same as St. Patty's, only with tacos, sans the green suds. Hard pass. And finally, Memorial Day, the advent of summer. Now we're talkin'. Only problem?... it's like a zillion years away! So yeah, my pessimism seems warranted, right? Things are every bit as bad as I thought...

Anyway, to sum up: Indeed, the stacking of major holidays and galas at the end of the year, coupled with this sudden interminable intermission, replete with the shortest of days and the longest of nights, all chip in to rain, snow and sleet on our mutual parade. It's like the perfect storm providing the ultimate kibosh on our collective enthusiasm. The good news: in the end it'll all work out; brighter days will prevail. 'Cause, like, they always do. In the meantime, brace yourself for the overwhelming onslought of January gym commercials, obnoxious weight loss ads, the end of football season, a raft of Presidents' Day sale items, some questionable Mother's and Father's Day presents and, oh yeah, lest we forget... it's an election year... So, yeah, Happy New Year, everybody!