Celebrate safely this New Year’s Eve

Jim Lee

Wednesday will be the last day of 2003. It seems like a couple of days ago we were talking about how all the computers would revolt when the year 2000 happened. We passed up that eagerly anticipated crisis without major mishap, so I suppose the start of 2004 won’t cause too many problems.
I don’t foresee any crises caused by the passing of another year. I’m not even getting any older; I’ll change my year of birth when that annual chronological challenge comes around in March.
In addition to trying to predict things, the end of a year often makes a person reflect on the events of the past 12 months. This column got started in 2003, the first one appearing on March 16. This is the 42nd one to be plastered on this page right under Bob Huber’s big grin.
It seems like I just started writing this column. Compared to Bob’s 500-plus columns here, I guess I did just get started.
While I’m on this train of thought, I want to mention how much I admire Huber. Compared to his experience I’m no more than an upstart.
I look forward to reading his column every week. I can’t really claim to know him very well, but I had lunch with him once and have run into him (not literally) in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Those occasions were enough to tell me he is a really nice guy, though.
However, that does not excuse his picture being better than mine on this page. Something needs to be done about that.
Something needs to be done about the holiday this week, too. Of course the biggest challenge of New Year’s eve is responsible drinking.
Friends, we have too many drunk drivers out there. I think we have enough ways to get hurt or worse without adding something unnecessary to the list. If you’ve had too much alcohol to drive safely, crash on your friend’s couch or carpet. A bit of semi-conscious discomfort sure beats the jail or the hospital. Have a designated driver.
If you own a business that sells alcohol, round up a few volunteers as designated drivers. Just think how good you’ll make them feel by maybe saving some lives. Start taking turns with friends and family being the non-drinking reveler. Show up at a bar or alcohol retailer (or provide your phone number) and volunteer as a designated driver —you may even get free non-alcohol drinks in the deal. I don’t know about you, but “free” is one of my favorite words.
If you’re the drinker, stay home, stay overnight, or arrange to have a designated driver. Wouldn’t it be a great pick-up line to say, “Hey, cutie, how about having your own personal designated driver?”
If I weren’t married, it would work for me (for me or on me?).
OK, so much for the soap box for now. Have a good time Wednesday night and remember that getting busted or hurting someone ain’t anybody’s idea of a good time.
So long until next week in 2004.

Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail:
dr_james_lee@hotmail.com