# # Song of the Week: Auld Lang Syne

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Song of the Week: Auld Lang Syne

Most of the year I think of myself as an optimist but, as the new year approaches, its awful, preceding holiday extends a pair of ragged talons, hungry to rend the fabric of my cheery façade: New Year’s Eve.

I find it odd that I don’t remember any New Year’s Eve celebrations from my youth – and no, not because I was wasted. I’m talking about when I was but a kid: between the ages of birth to 17 or so.

I don’t recall being part of any countdown, seeing anyone lock lips as the noisemakers and “Auld Lang Syne” took their respective cues from the arbitrary movement of a second hand, or even any parties. The only markers my memory has of these events are from television, movies, and comic books. Did my family even celebrate the holiday and, if so, how and when? Where the hell was I? Abed? Given the conservative nature of my upbringing, I expect this latter to be true.

My curiosity about this stems from the reasoning that, if there was ever a time I might have enjoyed New Year’s Eve, it would have been at this earlier age when I was oblivious to what the passing of the year can signify to those of us who ever sit in judgment of ourselves.

One of my biggest problems with New Year’s is the extreme anticlimactic nature of the celebration. You spend all day (some, nearly a week) getting ready for … the passing of a second. Then what?

After that second, if you’re me, an immense sense of emptiness descends upon you and you’re left standing there feeling like you just paid $800 dollars for what turned out, after all the hype, to be a handful of Styrofoam packing peanuts; you can’t even eat them.

But that’s not all, you also get this lovely sense of a year having passed and now it is time to weigh your accomplishments. I’ve often managed to avoid the line at the last second of the year and begin my self-loathing earlier in the evening. By the time the ball drops, my stomach is already there, ready to greet it.

When I was a younger man and could really pound down the sauce, I somehow never managed to get wasted enough on this holiday to avoid such thoughts, though, at any other party, any other time of the year, I would have had no problem doing so. An odd fact, that. Also, rather than being surrounded by a raucous gaggle of friends and loved ones, I was always either stuck at a very dull party or, worse, with a single, male friend, both of us desperate to find any party – even a dull one.

Come the countdown, if at a party, I would sequester myself so that I could begin my new year’s irritated muttering about my lack of accomplishments without ruining other’s rather inscrutable joy at the passing of the moment.

If not at a party, I was more likely to realize that, thanks to the inaccuracy of my dashboard chronometer, I’d missed the defining moment, along with a turn that was supposed to take I and my hapless companion to a “real rager” some minutes and miles back.

After marriage, the holiday became a little more bearable – there was still that crushing sense of failure, that build-up towards nothing – but at least I was surrounded by a group of people I had chosen to have in my life and could enjoy the moment with them or distract myself from the moment through them.

Finally, last year was the first New Year’s Eve I can recall that was not blighted by overly negative reflection and was, instead, imbued with a sense of true and happy, personal accomplishment.

Certainly it was celebrated with a family that was in the process of crumbling into oblivion, and I knew it, but for the first time in my adult life, I could hear the countdown and think: “By Jove, I think you’ve got it.” The demons of New Year’s Eve were not in residence and I left untasted the poisonous fruits of nit-picking narcissism.

At the time I couldn’t imagine, barring some unforeseen fall from grace, ever dreading New Year’s Eve again …

This year I’m going to bed early.

Auld Lang Syne
Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
And surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot,
Sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
And gie’s a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

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One Response to “Song of the Week: Auld Lang Syne”

  1. KJT says:

    Amen brother – New Year’s Eve is the most over-rated, shite holiday around…

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