YARBROUGH COLUMN: Sharing some advice for the new year

Published 10:30 am Thursday, January 5, 2023

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“Who’s there?”

“It’s 2023. May I come in? It’s a bit cold out here. All I’m wearing is a sash and some Huggies!”

“Please do. I’m glad to see you but aren’t you supposed to be getting ready for, well, uh, the new year?”

“That is what I wanted to talk to you about. Before he left, 2022 told me that one of the first things I should do is to talk to you. He said you know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. I could use your advice.”

“My first piece of advice would be to ditch the outfit and wear something more appropriate. It is hard to take a year seriously when it is wearing Huggies and a sash.”

“Thank you. 2022 was correct. You are one sharp dude. As soon as we are finished here, I’ll see if I can find a set of Bermudas. But does it really matter how I dress? 2022 told me the ice is melting at the North Pole so fast, we are all going to fry pretty soon, anyway. Scared me so bad, I almost soiled my Huggies. Hope it doesn’t happen on my watch.”

“I hope so, too. But if I were you, I would stay away from Al Gore. He will scare you so badly about global warming, you might soil your Bermudas.”

“Okay, so noted. But no more talk about a rapid increase in Earth’s surface temperature and its potential impact on my personal hygiene. Let’s get back to the reason for my visit. What can I look forward to during my time here?”

“I hate to tell you this but your predecessors, 2020, 2021 and 2022 did you no favors. We are a deeply divided people in the U.S. We’ve got people who can’t get over an election that has long been over. We’ve also got people who can’t get over a war that’s been over for a century-and-a-half. Sadly, we seem to be at a point where we can’t disagree without being disagreeable.”

“Oh, my! 2022 didn’t tell me this. I do remember the smirk on his face when he handed me the calendar and said, ‘Good luck, kid’ before he shuffled out the door.”

“It gets worse. There were at least 607 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2022, including 300 school shooting incidents, which resulted in 637 deaths and more than 2,500 people injured.”

“That rat 2022 didn’t say one word about that. Not one word!”

I guess he also didn’t tell you that in February of 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. It hasn’t gone well and one of the things you are going to have to watch out for is if Vladimir Putin gets frustrated enough to employ nuclear weapons and start World War III, assuming that little dweeb with the bad haircut in North Korea doesn’t beat him to it.”

“Good grief! I’m wondering if there is any way I could get out of this job. Would you be interested? Personally, I think you would look fetching in a sash and Huggies.”

“Thanks, but no. I have my own problems. I have yet to figure out the difference in ‘who’ and ‘whom.’  I can’t parallel park and I’m always misplacing my cellphone. My life is not as easy as make it look.”

“Well, it looks like I have no choice but to suck it up and hope I last long enough to hand things off to 2024, that poor unsuspecting year.”

“Don’t despair. I predict a lot of good things will also occur while you are here, 2023.”

“I could use some good news. Talk to me.”

“Well, I am convinced there is more good than evil in this world. There are kindnesses happening all around us every day that won’t make the headlines. But they are there, nonetheless. There will be hugs and tears, laughter and love. There will be those to whom we say goodbye while you are here and there will be new life and new hope. None of this will be your responsibility. It will be up to those of us who will occupy this space and your time. Hopefully, 2023, you will be the year that will inspire us to find our better selves.”

“Thank you. I am so glad we had this talk. Now, I am ready to go to work. And just think – no more Huggies or that silly sash! That alone will make me a Happy New Year!”