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Three New Year’s Eve parties under one roof

I can tell we’re coming up on the caboose of the holiday train by the big empty spaces appearing on the cookie platter and the big cabooses circling that same platter.

Tonight, some of us will put those canape toothpicks to good use when we prop open drooping eyelids to see the new year turn over on schedule. I will be among them, but not as part of a reveling crowd of merrymakers drinking flaming egg nog and blowing into the wrong end of a party horn. No, I will attend three different parties full of my favorite characters. They prepare for the evening’s festivities as I type.

Larry is applying a frizz tamer with a currying comb, Curly is getting his "nyuk" timing down, and Moe is mastering eye pokes, head slams, and saying the word "ignoramus" with pie in his face. They stand hip-deep in flat irons, seltzer bottles and ball-peen hammers, awaiting their cue to enliven New Year’s Eve for thousands of non-partygoers by knocking each other around. If the lineup is the same as previous years, these chowderheads should arrive early on IFC, channel 139 on Spectrum cable in the Medford area.

On the other side of the reality stage, somber in coat and tie, stands Rod Serling, ready to usher us into the Twilight Zone for hours on end via Syfy, channel 70.

The third gathering contains the misadventures of an urbane 1930s couple who are the effervescence of the many parties they host and the brains behind every murder they solve. Arriving promptly at 5 p.m., with help from their wire fox terrier, Asta, they are Nick and Nora Charles in time for cocktails and a special “Thin Man” movie marathon on TCM, channel 19 (or 862 on HD). Be prepared to at least watch lots of alcohol consumption between lines, as Nick, especially, exhibits little restraint in this area.

Am I advocating a night at home in front of the screen eating the cookie platter and popcorn rather than putting oneself in harm’s way on the road or inside a bar with mean drunks? Well, maybe. It’s a lot safer to view the humiliation of others drinking to excess, getting poked in the eyeballs or, as with my last example, getting bumped off in lieu of participating in same.

There’s no need to get dressed up or drive anywhere to get from one place to another. We channel surf starting with a good creep-out by Mr. Serling’s TZ alternate universe, but just for an episode or two until we need a dose of the bumbling knuckleheads for comic relief. Then we shake confetti from our hair and share a toast to 2018 with the Charles’.

There will be noise at the birthing hour, at least in my neighborhood, so why try to beat the clock? You’re bound to lose sleep with a new baby in the house.

We stand (or lounge) at the brink of a new beginning from which to launch changes or ply the same ruts. We’ve graduated from the lessons of 2017, though a few may drag along clinging to our pant leg. Now we have the chance to put to use what we’ve learned. Do I want, like the Stooge brothers, to repeat the same dumb mistakes over again only to receive the predictable blows? Or will I make a plan of action that helps me navigate into new territory? Will I shove the cookie tray far back into the darkest recesses of my cabinet? You bet. Will I buy a terrier named Asta? Oliver says no way. And I say, many blessings on your New Year.

— Peggy Dover is a freelance writer living in Eagle Point. Email her at pcdover@hotmail.com.