Sunday, 31 December 2017

“Thank you! Thank you very much!” the man says as he clasps his fingers around the trophy with the numbers “2-0-1-7”. “I would like to thank my parents, my wife, my two sisters and their spouses, our two cats, the people at the vegetarian buffet, the people who pay me to help them speak English, the Taiwanese government that still allows me to live on their island, our friendly neighbours, and lastly, everyone on the internet who wrote such good articles this year that made me much smarter, and that enabled me to bore to tears even more people on social functions. I could not have done it without you all. Thank you again!”

The man seems to want to let go of the microphone to return to his seat. But then he adjusts his grip and continues.

“I can certainly say I have had a good year – as surely many of us can say.” He narrows his eyes to see if anyone is nodding their heads. “It is, however, a fact that I usually decide every year I’ve had a good year, regardless of how many times I fell flat on my face.” The usual tense chuckle follows. “Well, this year was no exception. It has been very educational. Two things stand out. No matter how long one tries to make a success of something, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Maybe it’s because you’re stupid, or maybe because it’s something you subconsciously think is a waste of time. Whatever the reason, for a long time I thought if I stuck to something for long enough, I will be successful in a specific endeavour. Lesson one of this year is that this is not necessarily true. Lesson two has to do with value. Just because you’re convinced something has value … or maybe you’ve developed a formula that at first glance seems very complex that convinces you something is valuable is not to say you have to put your money where your formula is. Were you to do that, you may fall on your face quite comprehensively.

“There were of course many other things I learned, and not all these things required me to plant my mug in the mud!” Another chuckle. Then the man hears a few sighs, and he’s sure he’s observing a sudden increase in fumbling with electronic devices.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen – and all the genders in between, you’re all excited to celebrate the new year. I am too! All that remains is for me to wish you all a prosperous 2018. Look after yourselves, look after your loved ones – including your pets and your children, eat healthy food, exercise regularly, don’t waste your money but occasionally spend some money on something nice, and take responsibility for your own upcoming success. May the next year be one of your best years ever!”