New Year’s Conversation with an Alien
There are a lot of traditions associated with the advent of a New Year. A curious alien from another planet would likely pose questions like these about the things we do this time of year.
Alien: Why do you Earthlings “celebrate” a New Year? The odds are that any coming period of time will offer as many bad things as good things. Why is there so much laughter and gaiety when common sense tells you any given coming year may be just as filled with disaster as with happiness?
Human: Well, we choose to look at things optimistically. A new year is a new page, a new start and so we celebrate a new age of possibilities. And we also wish that people will have a good year which is why we say “Happy New Year” to one another.
Alien: Would it not be more appropriate to wish people a “Happy and Cautious New Year?”
Human: Well, I suppose so, but that’s kind of negative and rather wordy.
Alien: It is only two more words. Why do you humans make promises you can’t keep?
Human: You mean New Year’s Resolutions?
Alien: Yes. Why does your species always resolve to make dramatic new changes in your existence at this time in the Earth calendar?
Human: It’s part of that whole “new page” thing- a clean slate; a chance to start over.
Alien: But it is extremely futile. Everyone knows that by the start of the second Earth calendar month, these promises are forgotten. Why would humans think they can change years and years of patterns of behaviors just because there is a new ending number on one of your Earth years?
Human: It’s a retrospective thing. We pause for a moment to assess the things we do in life and think of ways to improve ourselves. That’s not so bad, is it?
Alien: It is not that it is bad. It is silly. Why do you not make new resolutions every three months instead of every twelve months? Why do you not make resolutions in July and September?
Human: You know what? Your questions are getting a little annoying.
Alien: I am sorry. I have more. Why do you humans ingest large amounts of fermented beverages at this time of year? Beverages that will make you act in ways you will later regret?
Human: You mean champagne? Well, that’s just tradition. People like to get a little trashed this time of year- it’s an innocent thing.
Alien: It is rather illogical. Fermented beverages make humans feel sick. Why would a human who is about to resolve to change their lives for the better in the year ahead, start out that same year by poisoning themselves?
Human: Hey, I was kidding about getting “trashed.” Not everyone drinks to excess.
Alien: I am not sure that is accurate. I saw many human beings vomiting last night. I see many more today on the first day of the New Year; taking pills to make the ill effects of the fermented beverages go away.
Human: It’s what we do, ok?
Alien: And why do mostly the males of your species spend the entire first day of the New Year watching gladiator games?
Human: You mean college football bowl games?
Alien: Yes. And why do they call them “bowl” games? Is it because of all the times humans spend on that first day running from their TV screens to the toilet bowl?
Human: You know… hangovers get better as the day progresses. It’s really only in the mornings that you feel like crap. Besides, the games are played in “bowls,” or “stadiums,” hence, the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl.
Alien: Why is there a Tostitos Bowl? Why is there an Outback Bowl? These are names for products not games.
Human: You know what? You think too much and ask too many questions. This little interview is about over, buddy.
Alien: Very well. I wish that you take advantage of the good things that will happen in the coming year, and that you will survive all the bad things.
Human: How sweet of you.
Alien: Why do you say that? There is no sugar or glucose in my DNA.
Human: I was being sarcastic.
Alien: Perhaps that is one of the things you should resolve to change in the year ahead.