Tracy K. Lorenz ...


New Year’s Eve

About a decade ago, I wrote a column stating that I had never been to a good New Year’s Eve party and I wrote that if anyone was having a “good” New Year’s Eve party they could invite me to it and I would write about it. I got four invitations and all four were, to put it mildly, lame.

In each case I showed up and there were five or six people sitting in chairs staring at each other, in each case there was way more food and alcohol than was necessary to take care of the mopes sitting in said chairs.  The host would always say, “Just wait, there’s a bunch more people coming over...” so I’d hang around a bit waiting for the people who probably showed up two minutes after I left.  I’d go to the next house and it was wash, rinse, repeat. Lots of potential, little reward.

I’m not blaming the hosts, I’m sure they had great parties in the past, and maybe they told people I was coming which kept the crowds away.  I appreciated their efforts and the invites but in the end my “I’ve never been to a good New Year’s Eve party” streak remained intact.

I can only remember two New Year’s Eves of note  One was in 1999 when the world was going to end at midnight when all of the world’s computers would shut down because they weren’t set up to handle a year that started with a “2.” It was the “climate change” of its time. It was a balmy night so I walked down to the beach to watch all the city lights go off in unison, which they never did, so I walked home.

But probably my most memorable NYE was back when I was in college.

It was during Christmas break so there were very few students there, mostly out-of-staters and foreigners. I stuck around because I had to work or something and I was joined by my friends Paul “Scrap” Carlsen and Dan “The Rocket” LePard. Scrap was tall, skinny, and looked like a Beach Boy, Dan was six foot tall and weighed about 350 pounds. That has nothing to do with the story, I’m just trying to set the scene.

My apartment was on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing and sort of backed up to a bunch of bars. It was a blizzard out but the bars were close and we didn’t want to haul around our snorkel parkas so we just made a run for it in our regular bar clothes.

The first bar we made it to was “Dooley’s” and it was a hot spot except for that night. Not only was the place empty save for a few foreign guys with perfectly parted hair, there was a $20 cover charge which was more than the three of us had, combined.

So we bailed on Dooley’s and sprinted over to the incredibly misnamed “Players Club”. Same deal, cover charge, dudes.

We continued going east, hitting every bar in order and never making it past the bouncer collecting the cover charge that we didn’t have. When it finally dawned on us that “bars” weren’t in the mix, we realized that we were now a mile from home, in a blizzard, jacket-less, and heading home into the wind.

We ducked into Campus Corners and bought a twelve pack of Falstaff to bring back to the apartment because if you’re freezing to death it’s best to be carrying something that doesn’t allow you to put your hands in your pockets.

About halfway home, and three quarters of the way to hypothermia, we spotted a school bus in a church parking lot.  We pushed on the door and it opened and we went in to get out of the wind.  Once inside and out of the wind it wasn’t that cold so we just sat in there and polished off the 12 pack, three losers, four beers each.

Oddly enough, THAT was probably the best New Year’s Eve I ever had. Sitting in a bus in a blizzard drinking cheap beer with my friends, which, I gotta say, was a ... first.

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