'Party of Lame' differs from past New Year's Eves

Wednesday, January 2, 2002

I spent New Year's Eve 2001 at home playing board games and watching Dick Clark with The Other Half and five friends. I mentally named the event "Party of Lame."

During our annual reflection on New Year's Eves past, Mr. Half and I had no recollection of last year's observance, which is a bad thing no matter how you look at it: Either we had alcohol-induced blackouts or it wasn't even worth committing to memory.

I'm quite sure it was the latter, which would mean two consecutive New Year's Eves spent in front of the tube.

Washed up at 32. Lord, help me.

Oh, there have been big parties. We were at a nightclub in St. Louis for New Year's 1995. I wore a loosely knit sweater over a very supportive white undergarment and danced the night away. The club was done in blacklights. According to my friends' accounts, I appeared to be dancing around in grandmother-type, glowing bra.

We stayed in Cape Girardeau the following year and played matchmaker with a couple of my friends. The four of us went to a nightclub. That business closed years ago, my friends' relationship ended weeks after the outing, but I still have the dress I wore that night, three sizes too small. No girdle in the universe will get me into it, but that dress isn't going anywhere. It's my Everest.

We were in Pensacola in 1997 at a party where Silly String ended up in the ceiling fan, someone let loose with a fire extinguisher and more than one person opted to use the yard instead of the bathroom.

The list goes on, but you get my drift.

An article on Sunday's front page said some people are staying home because of the events of Sept. 11, and maybe that's a little true for me. I'm not afraid to go out, but somehow it seems better to be with friends and loved ones and focusing on the good things in my life.

Or maybe I am just lame.

Either way, it's time to focus on resolutions for 2002, but even that annual tradition has been scaled back in my house.

Every year, I have the same two resolutions: lose weight and totally stop cursing. (I want to curse even less than what is now permitted on network television.)

But I'm shooting for something achievable this year:

I want to finish the vast majority of my meals without wearing a portion of them.

It is getting ridiculous. Some bit of ketchup, mayonnaise or salad dressing inevitably ends up on my clothing during every meal consumed outside my home, and those are the meals where you'd most prefer not to get food on yourself.

The worst was in The Pasta House Co. this year, when I launched almost an entire serving of chicken marsala onto my pale blue shirt and skirt. That meant I had to exit the restaurant and the Westfield Shoppingtown coated in tomato sauce. The outfit had to be thrown in the garbage. Even my dry cleaner, who now is on a first-name basis with me, couldn't do anything.

It's always the same. I run into the dry cleaner's receiving area holding some recently soiled garment as though it is a dying comrade.

"Can you save it?" I wail, gently placing the garment on the counter.

The dry cleaner shakes her head like an experienced emergency room physician. "I don't know," she says. "But we're going to give it everything we've got."

Maybe not messing up my clothes and losing weight can be one resolution.

After all, if I'm eating less, it's less likely I'll be wearing my food.

Have a terrific 2002!

Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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