Yo Levenson – I've been in “trouble” with my lady for not doing anything “special” on New Year's since, like, the beginning of 2012.  When will it end?  – Rick, Sault Ste Marie

Dear Rick,

When I visualize New Year's Eve, I picture the crystal flutes, the sparkling Veuve, a high-spirited toast (“To life!”) and kissing someone pretty on the lips at midnight. And at that moment the clock strikes, the sorrow of last year is tempered by the possibility of the new, and we surrender ourselves to time, and to love lost and gained, and to the thing waiting for us all at the end that we'll never know...

PSYCHE! Ha-ha, no chance, bro! Shit's traditionally worked out a little different, OK? First of all, anytime I have to hold anything more delicate and refined than a juicebox in front of other people, my anxiety is basically at Terror Alert Orange. What is this thing? How do I grasp it? My eyes are scanning everybody else's hands, I'm going for the stem, then for the other part (what is that called, for Christ's sake), I'm tipping it to my lips all shaky... it's a fucking disaster. I freak out. I never learned how to do stuff. Rick, I just recently taught myself how to hold a fork. (I'm 31). Parties are difficult.

Without speaking in hyperbole, I'd represent my feeling at times like these to be somewhere between “death throes” and “drowning alive.” A drink or two might help, so let's talk about that: I can't drink 'cause I fucked myself up with drugs and subsequently had to cut the whole “partying” thing loose, to keep, like, living and stuff. So I am actually drowning alive in death throes. I am trying to keep breathing without hyperventilating. I am standing very still. I am very quiet. Yes, I am smiling, but please do not look at me. Reality is exciting!

Is this attractive? Do pretty girls wanna kiss me on the lips? Your guess is as good as mine, but a good way to stop having a great time indiscriminately smooching anyone is to stop getting wasted. Nowadays I'm actually thinking about whose mouth I'm clamping down on, and what kind of mouth it is, where it's been and where it hangs out, what it likes to do on the weekends – I'm nervous it has herpes – I'm grossed out by a loose mouth, do you understand? Rick, I'm concerned. I want to kiss a nice mouth attached to a nice person with nice thoughts. Pretty is good. Witty is good. But I need to know more about your mouth.

Point is, I've given up on that whole scene. At 11:58, I start coughing tuberculosis-style into my sleeve. But when the champagne pops and I look at the happy couples spanning another year together, I want to karate chop the Universe. I'm over here in the corner trying to low-key shovel down another sugar cookie, and you've achieved some kind of eternal mutual understanding? Where'd it go wrong for me? Where'd I screw it up? Oh, forget it. Then I begin nodding and laughing but covertly brainstorming an excuse that'll enable me to eat Chinese food alone in my underwear in front of the computer.

All my life, I've never had a girlfriend who'd be happy to eat Chinese food in her underwear on New Year's Eve, and I owe that to the good fortune of never having dated anyone as deranged as I am. When you die, you can't take anything but the memories you made in your head. If your girlfriend wants to make a cool one, maybe you should just roll with it.




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