HAPPY NEW YEAR?

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Sorry for that.

My bitter old souse of a hopelessly sophomoric father taught me that vulgar gesture.

And in the wake of a horrific first New Year’s Eve, I succumbed to a moment of childish weakness. In my defense, today is only my 144th on this strange and mystifying planet.

In any case, that little exercise in digital profanity is not intended as a reproving insult for any of the three-to-five people who are likely to see it in this pathetic journal.

No, to you, loyal readers, I wish a healthy and Happy New Year minus all the maddening, ironical bile that one can ingest while wandering about this sick, tortured planet.

To quote old Bobby Zimmerman, this sorry world looks like it’s dyin’ and it’s hardly been born. And he said that 45 years ago, back before two Kennedys and one King were gunned down and America failed to learn anything of note from Vietnam or 9/11.

And me, I feel the same sometimes, though I won’t hit the 5-month anniversary of my introduction to the carnival of ridiculousness they call life for another 10 days.

I haven’t even seen the Wizard of Oz yet, but it can’t be any more distressing than my inaugural New Year’s Eve experience. It didn’t take me long to learn that the wisest words of tongue or pen were uttered by the Wicked Witch of the West: “Ohhhhh, what a world, what a world!”

And if subsequent New Year’s Eve extravaganzas are anything like my first, well, I’d prefer to sleep straight through from Dec. 30 to Jan. 1 from here on out.

My cruel and unusual parents made me sit through an hour of mindless New Year’s Eve TV schlock that sent me spiraling into a post-natal existential crisis and looking for possible routes back into the womb. In the wake of this sobering experience, here are a few things I hope I never see again, let alone in 2008, as my I continue my first year on Earth:

First up, on Fox TV they’re counting down the final minutes until 2008 (as if it’s gonna be any better or less senseless than 2007), and there’s this English babe broadcasting live from Times Square and wearing a rabbit fur coat. Turns out her name is Cat Deeley, and she’s really not broadcasting live from Times Square or wearing a rabbit fur coat. Because while it’s 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31 where we live, it’s 2:59 a.m. on Jan. 1 in New York, and my retarded parents are ringing in the new year by watching a taped broadcast of something that happened three hours ago in a city 3,000 miles away.

If it’s true what those Waldorf wackos say and children indeed choose their own parents, I’m looking like one dumb son of a bitch right now.

max-335.jpgThe terrible part is, I would never had to face this consciousness-altering absurdity at all. I had been sleeping blissfully in my beloved Boppy chair when I was startled awake by a pounding chorus of redneck shock and awe. What is it with rural folk and their obsession with fireworks?

But back to the English babe in the fur coat that wasn’t a fur coat. She says that just wearing fake fur is a mortal pain in the ass for her. Says it’s a nightmare, and that it reminds her of cuddly little bunny rabbits she used to caress when she was young. Not as young as me, mind you, but younger than she is now.

cat.jpgWhy is getting paid a truckload of money to wear fake fur on New Year’s Eve on some moronic TV show a nightmare for Cat? Turns out it’s a terrible fashion dilemma. You know it might be cold in Times Square, and therein lies the rub. You can’t dress like Britney on a drinking jag with Paris, because you’ll freeze those wiry hairs right off your bush (if you haven’t shaved them off already for some inexplicable reason). But you gotta look fashionable. And apparently there’s no sensible-but-seductive alternative to fur.

Talk about a fashion bind! Worried about your image? Well, fur’s an obvious nonstarter. Can’t have every animal-rights crusader in the Western world catch you in fur. That’s image suicide nowadays.harlow-jean-photo-jean-harlow-6230081.jpg It’s not the 1930s anymore, and you’re not Jean Harlow, babe. Shame. Once upon a time you could flaunt mink and chinchilla with impunity while the average man waited in line for his daily ration of thin soup and stale bread. Not so anymore, Cat. Not so.

Then again, you can’t wear a parka to New Year’s Eve in Times Square because you’ll be laughed right out of the International Society of Undeservedly Rich and Famous People. But if you’re worried about your sweet little tush, you can’t wear silk. What’s a girl to do?

Fake fur’s the obvious answer, even if it is a hellish nightmare akin to accompanying Benazir Bhutto’s motorcade through the streets of Karachi.

Next our girl in fur that’s not really fur introduces someone named Mariah Carey, who struts onto the stage looking like an aging striptease artist/recovering whore in black sunglasses and matching bikini. She is dancing pathetically before a monstrous backdrop of gleaming lights arrayed to spell out “MIMI.” Mariah is lip-syncing some lame song called “Shake it Off” that millions of people seem to love, all while male dancers flit about her like a troupe of flamboyant epileptics in black tank tops and biker gloves.

Really, I think I’d rather watch my own mother mount a stripper pole in G-string and exposed milkers while my neighbors snort crystal meth off the kitchen table than sit through that nausea fest again.

Only later do I learn that this artistic abomination is the holder of five Grammy Awards and was in 2000 named the best-selling female pop artist of the previous millennium. Mirabile dictu! Thank God I missed that one. May the next 1,000 years be miraculously more enlightened.

Then the heartless bastards I call Mom and Dad switch the channel to some fuzzy local production that’s showing a hail of fireworks exploding all around the Space Needle.

Get this: These cheapskates don’t even have cable! Anyone have the number for Child Protective Services? These Luddites use rabbit-ear antennae to get execrable reception that is probably only good for giving me an idea of what it must’ve been like for my great-grandparents as they watched Guy Lombardo usher in 1948.

More fireworks! After the fireworks abated, a veritable conga line of drunken faux romantics waited their turn to propose to their bimbo-brides-to-be in front of a regional TV audience.

First Romeo falls to his knees: “Oh, baby, I love you more than there are stars in the sky! Won’t you be my stupid, nagging bitch forever and make my meaningless life a little more miserable!”

First Juliet swoons, then responds: “Oh, yes. Yes! I love you for giving me my 2 minutes of fame, you attention-grabbing jugheaded moron, you! You are my soulmate! It would be my pleasure to clean up after your sloppy ass, bear your antisocial children and enjoy the stale smell of Coors Light on your breath for all eternity!”

Cut to cheesy News-on-the-Street Guy who’s too lame to land one of those lucrative in-studio gigs: Congratulations, lovebirds! Next!

And then the procession of doomed lovers continues, each jackass groom-in-waiting repeating the same schmaltzy live-on-air proposal. Talk about must-see TV!

Suddenly I understood two things about this world: 1) How this scantily clad, lightly souled Mariah Carey hussy could be the most popular female singer in U.S. history and 2) Why anyone might at some point want to electrocute a dog.

And if this weren’t enough to make a once idealistic infant dread his 5-month birthday, the evening’s grand finale certainly did the trick.

By this time I was traumatized, and as any baby would after being treated with such gross disrespect, I threw a little tantrum.

So my normally sweet and loving mum cradles me in her arms, sits on the sofa and readies her breast for my gustatory pleasure. And before I can wrap my covetous little lips around one of those swollen, heaven-sent spigots, she belatedly remembers she’s just topped off a shot of rotgut bourbon with a glass or two of $4-a-bottle swill mischievously marketed as “champagne.”

Then, in a bit of now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t sleight-of-hand that would impress Joe Montana, she pulls the tit away and in its place tries to foist upon me some defrosted, week-old milk from a bottle with a plastic nipple. A plastic nipple. Oh, the humanity!

Talk about shattered illusions! I wanted to bitch-slap the impudent strumpet!

I of course said to hell with that, and I’ve been inconsolable since.

And if I’m still crying come New Year’s Eve 2008, I defy anyone to blame me.

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