So, what are you doing New Year's Eve, Mr. Right?
Just Wondering: I'm still putting the final touches on my itinerary, but as of right this very minute, my plans are as follows:
At two in the afternoon on New Year's Eve, I will be placing an undisclosed amount of cash on my front doorstep. The next morning, I will retrieve the cash, if it hasn't been stolen, thereby guaranteeing that my income will exceed my outgo during 2007. I will also be placing cash in the pockets of my children, despite the fact that I don't have any children. This will guarantee prosperity for each family member. Starting at 3 p.m., I will pay off all my bills, which will have the effect of keeping me out of debt for the following year. That should take about an hour. At four, I will take the 'lucky log' I've been saving all fall ' in my case, a Java-Log ' and ceremoniously toss it into the fireplace. That should take approximately one minute. I will then start a fire. That should take approximately one second, which is why I chose the Java-Log.
These are just a few of the old superstitions that I've held on to over the years. And it will all culminate at approximately 4:15, when I will drape a dried-out cow's hide over my youngest son, despite not having any sons, and he will run around the barn three times in a clockwise direction, then take off in any direction he chooses while the rest of us chase him with sticks, literally tanning his hide. This will have the effect of warding off evil spirits and have the added benefit of allowing me to work off steam toward the son I never had. And once Junior's been beaten to a bloody pulp, we will encircle an ox, splash its face with spirits, stick a plum cake on its horns and toast it with a swig of wassail. I can't for the life of me remember what the purpose of this is, but it's great fun, and I hope to squeeze it in between 4:45 and 5:15.
At 5:15, I will retire to my bedchamber, from which I shall emerge at six sharp, dressed on the right side of my body as Father Time and on the left side of my body as a baby in diapers. This is my official New Year's Eve costume, and I will keep it on until such a time as it is ripped from my person, hopefully at the stroke of midnight. Okay, so I'm setting aside two full hours for prancing around my house as the living embodiment of 'Out with the old, in with the new.' Then, at 8 o'clock, I'll first fire my musket into the air, then begin my tour of the local taverns, begging each bartender in turn for a free drink. This is called 'goin' a-wassailing,' and you'll find it's much less expensive than goin' a-drinking. It helps to have the costume on, though.
The rest of the evening you can probably imagine. At 11:45 p.m., if still conscious, I will stagger home, where I will proceed to bang on pots and pans with various kitchen utensils until either 1) the new year arrives or 2) the neighbors call the cops. If it's the cops and they make a grab for me, I will release the secret catch on my costume, which is held together with Velcro. Naked as a jaybird, I will then join the peace officers in a rousing rendition of 'Auld Lang Syne' as we make our way to the police station, where I plan to sleep it off, hopefully in time to participate in the next day's Festival of Circumcision (held every January 1 at various Christian emporiums), wherein I will receive a long-overdue snip-snip. Talk about out with the old!
Anyway, those are my plans. Or maybe I'll stay home and watch TV.
Whether to toast me or roast me, write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR E-MAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.