In keeping with tradition and myth, Father Time will give way (or already has given way, depending on when you read this) to Baby New Year, symbolizing the birth of another year and the passing of the previous.
As the interim senior correspondent for tradition and mythology as well as Mr. November in the 2022 swimsuit calendar for this award-winning publication (Note: not all newspapers carrying this column publish a swimsuit calendar) I was able to land an exclusive interview with Baby New Year. The following has been edited and condensed for clarity, as well as totally made up.
Me: Baby New Year, first let me tell you what a pleasure it is to conduct this exclusive interview at the beginning of your 365-day journey, one that will see you age from a fresh-faced infant in a diaper, top hat and sash to a bitter and withered old man in a robe, threatening people with a dangerous scythe before disappearing into the cosmos.
Baby New Year: The pleasure is mine, Scott. I remember my great-grandmother said she enjoyed reading your newspaper columns when they first appeared back in the 1980s, when you, too resembled a fresh-faced infant. And now, well… how’s your scythe?
Me: It’s sharp, very sharp. As I am sure you are aware, Father Time has left you with a world that is experiencing many challenges.
Baby New Year: To be honest with you, I am going into this thing without a lot of prep. I’ve been bingeing on Netflix, skipping the cable news talking heads because they’re depressing and divisive, so I may not be as up-to-date on current events as past Baby New Years.
Me: But, I understood that it is tradition for each Father Time to explain the past year to each Baby New Year in hope that we learn from our mistakes and improve the quality of life for all.
Baby New Year: Yeah, no. To tell you the truth, this Father Time was a real downer, man. He kept calling and leaving voice messages. I don’t answer my phone because I don’t want to hear any more about a car warranty I never had so everything goes to voice mail. Father Time rambled on and on, filling it up. This is on fire, that’s on fire. We’re too hot, we’re too cold. Blah, blah, blah.
I knew as long as we got that COVID thing behind us everything would be fine. I’m starting with a clean slate. Baby New Year in the house!
Me: Uh… I hate to be the one to tell you this, but we haven’t gotten that COVID thing behind us.
Baby New Year: What?
Me: COVID is still bad.
Baby New Year: Are you %$@ kidding me? What about the vaccine? We got a vaccine, right? Everybody took the vaccine, right?
Me: Well, not everybody. Some people decided not to trust scientists and health care experts and instead chose to do “research” on their own, which mostly consisted of jumping on the internet and printing out suspect information that confirmed their preconceived beliefs that vaccines were dangerous, a government plot or perhaps of the devil.
Baby New Year: What? You mean I’m stepping into this $#%$ show? I’m just an infant, man, a tiny infant dressed in a diaper, top hat and sash. I’m not doing it. Father Time can keep it. I’ve got Netflix to watch.
Me: I’m sorry, Baby New Year, but tradition says the upcoming journey is yours. Perhaps this year we will come together, no matter what our differences, and make decisions and choices that are beneficial to everyone, based on science, common sense and empathy for others.
Baby New Year: Yeah, wish me luck on that. I’m going to need it.
Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion and a humor columnist. Contact him at email@example.com.