Q&A: Baby New Year
● By J. Chambless
As much a part of New Year's Eve as noisemakers and party hats, Baby New Year is set to take his place as the symbol of a year just getting started.
Not many people know much about Baby New Year, even though he's a staple of editorial cartoons and magazine covers. In this Q&A, the world's most famous top-hatted toddler talks about what he does as the calendar turns over another year.
First of all, thanks for meeting with us. Talk about your job duties as you pick up 2015 and run with it.
Oh, it's a big job, all right. You know what they say about presidents -- that they come into office looking so much younger than when they leave office? It's just like that for all of the New Year Babies. We start out with just a diaper and a sash, all full of bright-eyed optimism, but by the end of the year, we're that old guy carrying a clock around that you see in the drawings. He hands off to us every New Year's Eve, and I gotta tell you, it's kind of scary. Makes you wonder what's in store for us. Sheesh.
I imagine. So you age that much during a year?
Oh yeah. Sometimes we age a whole lot in the first couple of months. There have been good years and tough years, of course, but we're always on the job.
So it's your job to document the whole year, all around the world?
Sounds like a big job, doesn't it? Well, it is. Yes, we keep a record book of all the biggest things that happen -- not everything, mind you. These days, the book is just the highlights, though. We're pretty much using spreadsheets, and storing the data on servers.
Really? You use computer storage?
Sure. Ever try to write with the quill pen you see in some of the old pictures of me and the old guy? Sheesh. Tough, tough, tough. So much easier now to send everything to the cloud.
What kind of a year do you think 2015 will be?
Hey, if I knew that, I'd go play the stock market. Not that they'd let a mostly naked baby into the stock market. I'd have to go online to do some trading. But to answer your question, New Year's Babies don't know what's going to happen. We just roll with it and write it all down. Don't blame us for all the bad stuff!
What happens to all the old year folks when they hand the job over to you?
So you know what an average retirement home looks like, right? Well, picture one with a resident for every year over the past couple centuries. That's what it's like.
What do they do there all year?
Trivia contests, mostly. You figure they are all aces at the history questions in "Trivial Pursuit." And they have the books to fall back on in case anybody disputes anything. Hey, those guys have total recall. Don't get some of them started talking about the old days, though. They can talk your ear off.
What do you think of all the wild parties that people have on New Year's Eve to celebrate your arrival?
Oh, some of them do get a little out of control from what I've seen. If I drank like some of those folks, I'd age a decade by the time Jan. 1 rolls around. Can't have that. Gotta keep in shape if I'm gonna make it to the end of the year and retire.
Will you be moving to the retirement home, then?
Oh, yeah. Next Dec. 31, just ask me anything about 2015 and I'll be able to tell ya. Right now, I got no clue, frankly. But I can't wait to get started!
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.