Two large numbers arrived in Times Square yesterday, just an innocent "2" and a benign "0" to judge by some reports. Standing seven feet tall, these decorations for the Big Ball Drop — at time of writing, 19 days, 8 hours, and ~20 minutes away — arrived early. They are, presumably, intended to strike holiday spirit into the hearts of all who behold them; to get the tourist masses all amped for New Year's Eve, and the new year that follows. But what follows, I wonder.
How could that big bright 20 not inject pep directly into a person's step? How could a person feel stormy, faced with this promise of a big party? Did you forget 2020 was a presidential election year, just like 2016? And did you know 2020 will be longer than most years? Because of course it will be.
Still, you do have a choice, optimism reportedly being a skill you can train your brain to perform. Or so life coaches would have us believe. So which will it be: 2020, half full or half empty?
Sure, there's that numbing anxiety bolt that snakes up your sternum every time your shower thoughts stray too far into the future. That private, nightly screening of Groundhog Day II: Election Night 2016, a little treat cooked up just for you. But you could, conceivably, behold these flashy numbers and try to remain cheerful, your face incandescent as if lit by 311-ish LED bulbs, your eyes hopeful and flashing like two XL light fixtures. You could decide to enter 2020 with the unbridled enthusiasm you'd relegated to makers of novelty glasses, who are of course poised to enjoy a boom year. You could — could! — stop screaming into that bag as you crouch under your desk, and go absorb this jaunty celebration of a fresh decade, on view now in Times Square. Maybe it will help?
Go on, make your niece happy for once.