Society’s addiction to this iconic tyke in editorial cartoons, greeting cards, and ad campaigns makes me lose more sleep as the ball falls in Times Square.
Most people blithely accept a half-naked, curfew-deprived newborn wandering the countryside without a chaperone, but I see this as another disturbing repercussion of the “Defund Child Protective Services” movement. For the love of the child, it’s a good thing that no one has yet repealed the “dig your own” self-defense laws.
From mid-December to mid-January, Baby New Year images are everywhere; but we still only have an infuriating image of his program. Each fall, as pumpkin lanterns give way to turkeys, people inevitably ask, “Where did the year go?” “
This is an excellent question.
We will hardly see Baby New Years again until the end of December, when it has deteriorated into an old year plagued with osteoporosis. What does he do in other seasons, at other stages of life? Does he use his belt to hide his buttons? Does his noisemaker drown his mother-in-law? Is he using his trusty hourglass to track his Viagra?
There is something frightening about the way the child invariably becomes decrepit in as little as 12 months. I don’t care if he can say “Mom” or “Dada”. My question to him is, “Can you say ‘more research funding for extreme glandular conditions, please’?” “
One is supposed to feel comforted by the annual Old Year ritual of “passing the torch” to Baby New Year, but there is always the risk that Old Year will set your beard on fire! Why can’t he aspire to be the year that world peace was achieved instead of the year that I became ZZ Top?
Time and time again, Old Year lets the naïve and effervescent Baby New Year take the reigns, without any warning of the mix of ‘nothing new under the sun’ of earthquakes, plague, economic hiccups and celebrity scandals that are looming large. will inevitably follow. Sometimes a year old will try to flash a Morse code warning, but cataracts cause communication problems. (“Put the kibosh on term limits? Thank you, sir!”)
I am deeply frustrated by the inconsistency of the mythology. Sometimes a baby’s New Year begins as an infant, sometimes as a toddler. He strangely resembles Cupid, the mascot of Valentine’s Day. The old year is sometimes and sometimes is not confused with the time of the fathers. (Father Time wouldn’t like the headline, thinking, “I’m going to beat the snot from the old year when paternity testing was introduced.”)
As my son Gideon reminded me, the animated holiday special “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year” contains a useful backstory about a particular New Year (“Happy”) and the Archipelago of the last years, where the old years go. retire. But I’m not sure if I accept this cartoon as canonical. It has the distinct aroma of a Chinese disinformation campaign, especially the uncut version with the island of non-existent lab leaks.
On a brighter note, you could make a billion dollars if you could write a book on “What to Expect When You Expect a Baby on the New Year”.
Of course, your fortune could still encounter a curve. (“Alec Baldwin just ‘accidentally’ destroyed the computer servers containing your money! Oh, the cryptocurrency!”)
Danny Tyree is a columnist distributed nationally by Cagle Cartoons. He can be contacted at [email protected]