Saturday, January 1, 2011

What I learned on New Year's Eve

I hope everyone had an enjoyable New Years and hopefully one that could even vaguely be defined as safe. Over the course of the night I was able to accumulate a series of rather loosely defined 'rules'. While they may not all be applicable to everyone, I believe that at least some of these can be agreed upon by most. Now in no particular order, the things I learned over New Year's Eve...

#1 There are some messages that are never ok to send.

While it has generally become an accepted part of any time of reverie, the idea of disturbing calls, texts and emails does have its limits. Unless you simply choose to ignore your phone during such times, we all know at least a few people who will send us drunk messages that make us wonder why we are still in contact with these people. Well, we all at least hope that inebriation is the source of these misanthropy reaffirming messages as the alternative is just far to depressing for most of us to wish to consider.

Granted there is the ever popular drunken ex texting/calling but this has been so over done to become almost more cliche then a truly bad decision. Not to say that it is not a poorly developed idea as, like most choices these people make while imbibing, is so chock full of fail and future regret to be painfully obvious (at least to everyone other then the person sending the message).

There are many other forms of future shame but few top one when it comes to making others disdain ever knowing you and the fact that said person's parents thought procreating was a good idea. What message could potentially be so poorly thought out as to not only be a portent of the sender's own suffering but, like some sort of mosquito of misery, sucks the joy out of anyone who is on the receiving end of it?

It is a message that is usually some variation of "I may need you to bail me out of jail later...". For those of you who have never been on the receiving end or been around those who have been sent such a message, consider yourself lucky. For there are few ways to destroy someone's enjoyment like opening up their phone and to hear or see these words.

But even more pathetic is the thought process that was behind this message (or lack there of). For the sender to have even considered to write this message they would have to realize that they are going to be putting themselves into a situation that could result in their imprisonment, yet they choose not to do the obvious thing and simply avoid it. It is the textual equivalent of noticing that oncoming semi trailer and thinking to yourself "I bet I could beat that in a game of chicken" (for those of you who agree to that statement, go try it, I'm sure our genome will thank you).

One final point about this rule. If you do not recognize any of these things as poor decisions then congratulations, you are that person and yes, everyone really does hate you.

#2 Games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

For the more astute of my readers, you may have realized that this isn't exactly a rule. Quite true, but that is only because there is far to much to say about this topic and it is far easier to just lump them all under one category then trying to write about them individually.

These games have, in their relatively short existence become the ubiquitous party video game. Is there a party? Is one of these games available? Then it, almost without fail, will be played. And if the person also has the microphone and drum set then the temptation to play this glorified version of Simon becomes far to great for the collective presence of the party to ignore.

It being New Year's Eve, alcohol, by law, must be available. So it will not be long before these two things are brought together into what, for the observer at least, becomes one of the most inadvertently hilarious events at a party. There is the obvious lure of seeing someone who can play any song on expert while blindfolded slowly degenerating into someone who suddenly makes your utter lack of talent at the game seem normal. As the expert player slowly begins to have to lower the difficulty setting to keep up with there increasing blood alcohol level, the game actually becomes both more hilarious for those watching and also grants the novice a chance to play alongside their betters at the game without looking quite as bad at it as they truly are. And as many of us have had the unfortunate chance to see, humans are spiteful little critters and to see their 'betters' fall to their level (even if just for a bit) makes far too many bipeds cackle with evil glee.

So in a matter of hours, a simple game of matching beats with pretty colors suddenly becomes a lesson in humanities malicious side. If this were not bad enough, those who get far to into the game begin to display another darker trait of our species, addiction. In this case to, what in all actuality, is a rather silly thing. It is not common to see someone who feels they are in 'the zone' to ignore everything else around them, including the fact that they came here with a loved one whom they promptly left to fend for themselves. All over the chance to give themselves carpal tunnel syndrome and imagine that they can actually play a real instrument.

But despite these evils, the Siren call of this game can almost never be resisted. And as the collective level of inebriation of the part increases, even these darker aspects become almost completely ignored. In fact soon it becomes almost mandatory to begin laughing at the absurd actions of those playing the game. Once this point has finally been reached, we find that we have come full circle and are once again back to the point of it just being a game to be enjoyed instead of some sort of serious test of skill.

It is usually about this time that the few people who are not putting their livers through hell suddenly realize "wait, everyone else is too drunk to really care what goes on, I can act like a complete fool and not only get away with it but shall become more liked by everyone because of it!". It is at this point that you shall see a person loose their last bits of inhibition (and actually not because of alcohol) and begin throwing in random kicks, fist pumps and otherwise acting like they are The Guitar Hero. These actions are further encouraged by their intoxicated comrades and soon one of the most hilarious synergies is formed and once again the world is made right be a bunch of humans making utter fools of themselves and loving every minute of it. Oh, and apparently it is perfectly alright to fight over who gets to sing Spider-Man by the Ramones.

#3 Explosions are amazing.

Now this one should be so obvious as to not even need further considering. The rule itself could very well be the end all and be all of this part. Except I had a chance to bear witness to something that proves just how much we humans like our booms.

A friend of mine decided to try and make a firework on his own. In the end, its incredibly simple construction led to it being little more then a gun powder bomb, yet we watched with a childish glee as it blackened the yard with its explosive goodness. Granted this was probably one of the least safe aspects of the entire night, but that is part of its allure. It represents humanities taming of such a destructive force and turning it into a source of mindless giggles.
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