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Hearing the New Year In
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On the last evening of 2011 Mary and I didn't bother staying up until midnight. Watching the ball drop in Times Square via webcam on dial-up isn't very exciting, we've learned from past experience.

I've never been one to celebrate the arrival of the new year. Let the new year prove it's welcome before I celebrate. When my brother and I were kids my dad used to stand us in front of a big ruler beside the fireplace for a photograph. Every year we could see how much we'd grown. Back then, at least I was assured of getting taller during the next 365 days.

Now, on New Years Eve I'm not so much looking forward to another year as happy to see the back of the old one. Rather than dropping a ball for 2012 I'd rather drop a Pythonesque fifty-ton weight on 2011.

At the grocery earlier in the day I waited at the checkout behind shoppers buying huge platters of snacks from the deli department and bowls full of shrimp. I bought a tin of Vienna sausages. I suggested to Mary that we wave our sausages at midnight, but we ended up going to bed instead.

While we lay there in the dark, before falling asleep, we heard scattered firecrackers and what might have been distant gun shots. So I guess we saw -- or at least heard -- the new year in after all.

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