Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hapless new year

Monday was the old year, and Tuesday was the New Year - that's pretty obvious. But when does the new year become the old year? Are there transitional stages during which the new year gradually turns into the old year, or does the new year suddenly become the old year, perhaps with a loud bang or puff of smoke? Is there a day on which we can see 'Happy not-quite New Year' or 'Happy Three-Days Older than a New Year'?

Come to think of it, at what point can we say that the well-wishing of a 'Happy New Year' is no longer true or viable? If your hand dropped off in the middle of New Year's Day, it would be a little annoying, true, but not really significant of any ongoing trends. But if, on the day after, when both their hand had dropped off and a steam train had collided with their house, then that would be a real bummer; and wishing them a 'Happy New Year' would seem to be a singularly inappropriate and insensitive gesture on your part.

It's a real head-scratcher, it is.


Shelley said...

Eh, I was thinking something slightly similar recently (on the bus, I think, excellent thinking places busses). Some years are long like the 19th century. Then I thought, most unfortunately, that my last two years had kinda merged into one and that was very depressing. I was also thinking how stupid our calendar is and, well, a whole lot of other boring stuff that I will not, now, post about.

Maria said...


1. When you've said all your Happy New Years.

2. When you actually start dating things and don't accidentally put last year's date on things by accident. You've got used to it. It's an old year.

3. When the post-Christmas sales are over.

4. When TV scheduling returns to normal.

5. It's like a person, the New Year becomes old when it's starting to look rather grey-ish. So it's all got to do with the weather.

Caz said...

No longer "true or viable" ...

I thought you meant something simple (given your preamble), like a date past which it was no longer appropriate to be wishing people a "Happy New Year", just as, once December 25 has come and gone, the whole "Merry Xmas" things is "so yesterday".

So, tell me: do you often meet people whose hands have newly fallen off, or whose hands in the midst of dropping off? Do you find that you meet such people more frequently just into the New Year?

TimT said...

Sometimes, but it can only happen to them twice. In this respect, losing a hand is somewhat worse than death, since that can only happen once.

Maria said...

There are Happy Belated Birthday Cards; has anyone found any Happy Belated Christmas Cards, or Happy Belated New Year Cards?

Happy Belated Valentine' Day and Happy Belated Sympathy Cards would go down a treat, wouldn't they?

Caz said...

I'm not sure about the belated sympathy idea. Sending a sympathy card in relation to your "dear, treasured friend", five years after they've departed this mortal coil might have a slightly false ring to it.

On the other hand, belated Xmas and New Year cards, for sending out, oooh, in around August (oh, I guess that would be, umm, a premature Xmas / New Year greeting, wouldn't it?), would make a great deal of sense, given how busy people are at the actual occasions of Xmas and New Year, and given how quickly the first half of the year disappears (we're all familiar with the refrain: oooh, aaah, is it February already, where did January go? oooh, aaah, is it March already, where did ... see, half a year "vanishes", and this happens ever single year).

All in all, the belated / premature concept has merit Maria. Tim could write the touching words, and provide jocular illustrations, you can do the business development and marketing, and I'll take a percentage off the gross.

Maria said...

TimT, losing a hand has the advantage of not having to have a manicure on that hand ever again. Speaking to a friend today who had had her nails done (both feet and hands) and had a shoddy job done, she was recommended another manicurist. "They'll probably cost an arm and a leg though," she moaned. "But that's fewer nails to worry about," I pointed out, so she brightened up!

Maria said...

caz, interesting thought. "Dear, friend, Seven years down the track and how time flies after your dear mother departed and four years afetr your father departed ... my thoughts are with you at the hour of your grief ..." Doesn't sound overly sympathetic. Neither does, "Dear friend, Three years hence after your broken leg, I just wanted to say you had my full support."

I did hear of some belated birthday card that went along the lines of "Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so the fact that you received this card late means that I love you even more than if you had received it on the correct day ... happy birthday!"

Caz said...

Thanks Maria, I have saved this for future reference:

"Dear friend, Three years hence after your [insert illness / injury of choice] I just wanted to say you had my full support."

It hits all the right notes, carries appropriate gravitas, and shows the depth of my "support" in their hour of (past) distress.

TimT said...

So sorry to hear of your unrecent loss. Just writing to let you know I would have cared. Yours, as ever, sincerely, me.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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