Years ago, I was sitting in a dark bar at some casino, watching purple lights dance off of a blue waterfall and an orange fire pit. A lone musician sat in the corner with an electric keyboard and synthesizer, and two lonely dollar bills in a beer mug. Me and Cynthia, my co-worker, were winding down from a day of advertising hell. She was born to sales, but didn’t like the radio station we were working for. I was good at promotions, but hated dealing with people. We were lamenting together when all of the sudden the musician started singing I Can’t Live if Living is Without You at the top of his lungs. He even closed his eyes, as if the emotions of the song were just overwhelming for him. So of course we had to laugh. We laughed so hard, and so long, that we were both holding our sides, and falling out of our chairs. Tears were pouring down Cynthia’s face, which made us laugh even harder. And okay, yes, we felt kind of like bitches for laughing at the musician, but we added $10 to his tip jar because even though the comedy was unintentional, we were at least happy, laughing bitches when we left the bar.
Looking back on 2008, I feel like somebody needs to sing that song again while I’m sitting in some gaudy, artificial place. I need to laugh until I’m heady, exhausted, and out of tears. I need to stumble outside to the sidewalk and hail a cab, where I’ll laugh all the way home even though I’m not drunk. I need that week afterwards, where friends and I can’t even look at each other without bursting into song and cracking each other up.
Outside of a a new President being elected, 2008 was just a horrible year. Or maybe I just read too much news, and it’s dawned on me that much of the world is stupid, insane, and willing to degrade life at every opportunity. From raped babies to brainless religions to corrupt politics, 2008 offered up a particularly shameful and unevolved picture of the human race.
I’ll usher out the year with all the dignity it deserves — in a red vinyl booth, underneath strobe lights, while sipping some fruity concoction topped by a paper umbrella. My friends have talked me into going to a seedy karaoke bar in Minneapolis, where melodramatic songs and off-key singers are sure to bring a few laughs –- if people can refrain from killing each other.
Do you have a song to help usher in the new year? Share it in the comments section and win your choice of two books from my library, or a fancy-schmancy “Rise Up and Create” t-shirt from my friends at Visual Chronicles. Winner chosen by random drawing Saturday, January 3rd.
UPDATE: And the winner is….LJB! LJB, please check your email. Thank you everyone for all the great songs! – JD