IF THERE'S any holiday that reeks of desperation, it's New Year's Eve.
Barely have we digested our Hanukkah latkes and Christmas hams than we're expected to do something - something big! - when all our bodies want to do is hunker down.
Granted, ringing out the old is a tradition dating back some 4000 years, when Dick Clark did his first countdown from Babylonia. (Poor Dick Clark: He died in 2012, but try telling that to Ryan Seacrest.)
When you think about it, New Year's Eve is a big, boozy wake - one in which you're surrounded by strangers, many likely to throw up on your shoes. Here are a few more reasons why December 31 may be the least wonderful night of the year.
Second only perhaps to "When are you getting married?" is the dreaded "What are you doing for New Year's Eve?" There's the sense, somehow, that everyone has an invitation to a party from which you've been excluded. People have been known to marry in haste, just to make sure they have a date for New Year's Eve.
Champagne, never cheap, reaches dizzying heights in time for that obligatory midnight toast. Your babysitter (if you can find one) demands double the usual, Uber rates go into overdrive and a four-course, mediocre meal commands Momofuku Ko prices. The indigestion, alas, is free.
For many, the combination of open bar and a party-till-you-drop attitude is lethal. Never mind the health consequences: At the very least, it can lead to confessions left unspoken, like your BFF drunkenly telling you, feet away from your respective spouses, that she wants to take your relationship in a whole new direction. Starting now.
Even on the quietest days, the "crossroads of the world" is an obstacle course, teeming with tourists and Tickle Me Elmos. But the week leading up to New Year's Eve turns New York's Times Square into a special kind of hell zone. And that's before the people wearing adult diapers gather to watch the ball drop.
THE TERRIBLE TV
Lip-synching gone awry, desperately frozen hosts, screaming bystanders and Kathy Griffin (oh, wait - not this year). You have a remote, yes? And maybe even a Netflix account? Use them.
Oh, the irony: After resolving to be a fitter, finer you, you can barely make it out of bed. Exercise? Maybe next year - when you've spent New Year's Eve in the best possible place: with the people and pets you love.