Columnists

Having a ball in 2022

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, I find myself thinking once again of Disney’s Cinderella. I know what you are thinking. No, I’m not the party dude who ends up under the grand piano, drinking champagne from a lady’s glass slipper. Shock! That’s really not me.

Ryan Seacrest doesn’t have to emcee the event to connect Cinderella’s night out with a New Year’s Eve bash.

For one thing, Cindy and I are alike. We can never seem to make it all the way to midnight. I don’t know what it is, but once that final countdown begins . . . ten, nine, eight . . . I fall asleep long before zero. Same applies to rocket launches.

The whole countdown thing reminds me of my last colonoscopy, when the anesthesiologist asked me to count backward from 100. I conked out at ninety-seven. Colonoscopies aren’t parties, by any means, but come to think of it, my body feels the same the morning after.

They say you should never go to a party hungry, and I understand. You risk succumbing to the temptations of the snack food table, and blow your diet on all that fatty food. The problem is that none of the snacks add up to a full meal. Parties make me hungry. I’ve discovered that sitting down with the entire tray of finger sandwiches in my lap calls a lot of attention to one’s self.

Just once, I’d like to bring a foot-long baguette to a party, and make myself a real supper. C’mon, Prince. Cindy just put in a full day’s work mending and cleaning. Somebody slip her a ham sandwich or a boar’s head, for goodness sake!

Okay, I’ve never had bluebirds sew up my party attire, and I’ve never owned a pumpkin carriage. But I did own a 1977 yellow-orange Chevy Vega hatchback, once, which I think counts. It had a 140 cubic inch, 2.3 liter aluminum block engine, which meant it got tremendous gas mileage. Not that I ever noticed, mind you, because it used motor oil at a rate three times faster.

One year, I attended a New Year’s Eve party on the east side. I used only 2.5 gallons of gasoline to make the 206 mile round trip. I used the same amount of motor oil just to get there. I remember that I was so embarrassed, because I had to hit the host up for two quarts of 30-weight from his garage to get back home. What really made me feel uncomfortable was that guy hadn’t invited me.

In refreshing my memory of Disney’s Cinderella on a Wikipedia page, I was shocked to learn that thousands of variations of the “Lost Slipper” fable exist. Seems like we humans like a good rags-to-riches story.

The ancient Greek story of Rhodopis appears to be the oldest adaptation known. However, my favorite story comes from Germans Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Gotta love those Brothers Grimm!

In their version, called Aschenputtel or “Ashfool,” the oldest mean stepsister, desperate to win Prince Charming and his kingly fortune for herself, decides to cut off her toes in order to make certain that when the Prince calls, her foot will easily fit the slipper. My understanding is that she used to be named Margaret, but now just goes by Ilene.

Although Halloween is fast encroaching on New Year’s Eve as America’s favorite party date, I believe New Year’s Eve has one advantage over all holidays. On January 1, even if it’s only symbolic, we turn the page and begin anew. Fairy godmother or not, we can change our lives if we make the effort.

If Cindy were here, now, I’ll bet she’d tell us: “Keep putting in the hard work, and you might find happiness afoot. I’m having a ball!”

I wish the same for all of you. Happy New Year!

John O. Marlowe is an award-winning columnist for Sagamore News Media.