Another year is upon us. I’ve noticed that people have many fascinating ways of celebrating the New Year. Sauerkraut and pork is the requisite New Year’s Eve meal among certain Americans of German descent. In Cambodia, celebrants put on new clothes and wage a massive water battle. The king of Swaziland eats part of a sacred pumpkin and throws the leftovers to his warriors. Some people get sloshed until they puke their guts out and pass out in the chip dip on New Year’s Eve. Others wear ridiculous paper hats, blow noisemakers, and sing an unintelligible song in an obsolete Scottish dialect.
Then there are the diehards whose entire year is ruined if they don’t have a chance to usher in the New Year by discharging a box of shotgun shells into the air. Personally, I find that to be a childish and dangerous practice. Why can’t people understand that a slug or a shower of birdshot landing on one of their reveling companions’ head would turn a party into a tragedy? I, long ago, resorted to a safer technique. Now I only shoot high-powered hunting rifles into the air. That way, when the spent bullet surrenders to the persistent tug of gravity, it will land far away on some other crowd of merrymaking strangers and never disrupt my festivities.
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