Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Go-to-Gay: Back to the beginning

We welcome Go-to-Gay Keith Stewart back to CLC today to help us kick off 2019. He has some insight into resolutions and some fun cultural facts to share with everyone. Happy reading!


I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s festivities. I am a sucker for the chance to reflect and renew, to start over, to become a better person. But then, I am also pragmatic. I know how hard it is a person in his forties to change anything about himself, no matter what the reason. What usually happens—it happened again this year—is that on December 30th and 31st, I sit around and contemplate the year that just passed, and then decide on some goals to shoot for in the next three hundred sixty-five days.

Inevitably, I always choose the same thorns that poke me every day of every year. I want to get in shape. I want to make all my writing deadlines. I want to send birthday cards to my friends and family. I want to lose weight.

I don’t have to tell you what happens by the second week of January, do I? I didn’t think so. In case you aren’t sure, I just ate a piece of fried chicken while finishing this post that was due to the editor last week. Sigh. Good intentions, bad follow-through. This year, I decided to look around the globe to see if I could find some other tradition for starting a new year that I could sign up for and keep my promise for longer than ten days. Let’s go!

There is a small town in Peru that hosts the Takanakuy Festival for the new year. During this festival, villagers who have grudges against each other face off in the boxing ring for an actual fist fight which is overseen by local policemen. After the fight is finished, the participants forgive and forget past grievances and start fresh for the year.

While this has its advantages—there is no long-term commitment, you are in and out in one round—it also has many disadvantages, especially for me. I am not really a fighter. Just between us, I am delicate. One good punch on the arm and I would be down for at least a day. Also, I would never forgive the person. I would carry a bigger a grudge than I had going into the rumble. So, I am moving on from Peru.

In Denmark, people save up old, unused plates and crockery throughout the year. Then on New Year’s Eve, they run amok and hurl them at the front doors of people they love. Apparently, waking up to a front porch full of broken glass on the first day of January is a sure sign that you are well-received in Copenhagen.

While that sounds fairly tempting, I don’t ever recall having spare dishes throughout the year to use for this project. Also, the sound of glass shattering is one of my least favorite noises in the world, and I think that hearing dishware chucked against your front door all night would make you think you were living in a real-life “Purge” moment. Sorry, Denmark, I can’t play.

There is a Spanish tradition of stuffing twelve grapes into your mouth as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. If you can fit all twelve in there by the time the countdown is done, you will have success and good fortune throughout the coming year.

OK. Now we are getting somewhere. This is a challenge that has my name written all over it. I have been told my many people I have a big mouth. I think sticking twelve juicy grapes in it would be a breeze. The payoff is good fortune for a year? I’m in!

But wait, we have one more stop on our search.

What’s that, France? You have an easier and more delicious way to ensure good health, wealth, and luck? Eating PANCAKES?!

Leave it to the French to know just how to do it just right. These people know how to live! That settles it. If y’all need me, I’ll be sitting here in a café, with a giant stack of luck-producing goodness and enjoying my 2019!

Bonne année mes amis!

Keith Stewart is the author of Bernadette Peters Hates Me – True Tales of a Delusional Man. A native of Appalachia, he splits his time between his hometown of Hyden and nearby Lexington, Kentucky. His blog is You can find him on Twitter at @Shiglyogly and Facebook at @AMSCOT (A Strong Man’s Cup of Tea). He is a regular contributor to and the He lives with his husband, Andy, and their two dogs, Duke and Dudley.


Janine said...

I'm with you and the French tradition. I love pancakes. I haven't made resolutions in years. I really don't even celebrate the new year. I guess I have just reached that age where it's just another day to me. I don't even stay up late New Year's Eve.

dstoutholcomb said...

pancakes...yum! happy new year!


Keith S. said...

I love the thoughts of a new year!

Keith S. said...

No better way to start a year! Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

Maybe you could start a new tradition, that chicken leg looks like a good start !

Keith S. said...

That is a fantastic idea!