Monday, December 26, 2011
Why I don’t buy year-end issues anymore
Year-end magazines – they bloom like poinsettias at this time of year. From Time to People, editors feel a need to eulogize the ebbing year – even though the year doesn’t actually end until 11:59:59 p.m. on December 31st (so there’s still time for major news to pop up – it’s like writing a book about a television series before the last episode airs).
These issues used to mean much more to me. When I was 14, I was really excited about the end-of-year issues. I remember buying this issue of the newly revived Life magazine in December 1979 – which was not just the end of a year, but the end of a decade.*
When I was 14, I was just becoming aware of the parade of progress – and it was exciting, like riding a sailboat and feeling the splash of the ocean. I felt that I was a part of history, even if my participation only consisted of buying year-and-decade-end issues.
Thirty-odd years later, however, the parade of progress has lost some luster. It’s not that I don’t care about news anymore. It’s just that I am seeing a truth that doesn’t come to light until you’ve ridden the merry-go-round a certain number of times: the more things change, the more they remain the same.
What is going to happen in 2012?
• Crimes will happen that will shock and disgust us.
• Stories of personal triumph will bring tears to our eyes.
• Famous people will die.
• People not previously famous will become so.
• Celebrity couples will get together, marry, have babies, and break up – and some of those breakups will shock us.
• Politicians will unleash their inner fools (especially in this election year!).
• New words will enter the lexicon (and be so totally out by next year).
• A public figure will say something outrageous and then quickly give a P.R. apology.
• Disasters, natural and man-made, will bring upheaval to thousands of lives.
• A few sports fans will have good reason to cheer – but most will not.
Check back here on December 31, 2012 (at 11:59:59 pm!), and tell me that not all of these have happened.
My days of collecting year-end issues are long over (which is a blessing, because the amount of paper already in the Hakim household has passed the “sufficient” category). Now it’s time to keep an eye on my personal parade of progress – to make some history of my own!
* Yes, I know that 1980 was the technical end of the decade – but come on, nobody thinks of it that way. Not even mathematicians.