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My Worst-Ever New Year's Eve

We polled our readers to find out their most horrifying tales.

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A Blackout Ate My Party

It was the last day of the century, and I was looking forward to celebrating this night in a big tent with several bands entertaining the guests. The admission charge was a little on the expensive side, but this was a special day and I didn't mind. I was dressed for the occasion, ready to rock-and-roll, and ready for a trip to the bank to get a couple of hundred bucks. It's nice, when you can get your money 24/7 from an ATM machine, I thought. Happily, I put my card into the machine, selected $200, pushed the button, and within a second everything around me was dark. The ATM machine took my card and didn't return it. We had a blackout. A few seconds later the light came on again and my card was still inside the ATM machine. I was banging and yelling at the machine, but no answer. A minute later a young man, also in need of money, put his card into the ATM machine next to mine, took his money, and left. I was standing there waiting for a miracle to happen. I had to wait until Monday to get my card back. A friend gave me $20, enough to take BART to San Francisco to celebrate in the street, among thousands of people, the switch-over into a new century. The fireworks were a beautiful sight. After all, I still had enough money left to buy myself a couple of drinks and get loud, like the other people around me, when the clock struck twelve. We had entered the 21st century. Wow!

Erich Bickel, Berkeley

Golden Boy Ain't So Golden

There have never been that many "Worst New Year's Eves" in my life because I figured I'd stop celebrating New Year's Eve during my seventeenth year on this Earth. The year I turned seventeen was so traumatic, it cured me for life of participating in any celebrations. Well, maybe I did briefly in my nineteenth year. For exactly 33 minutes. Yes, 33 minutes and no more than that. That is the time it took to jam eleven people into an Austin Mini. It was snowing that night, and people did need a ride home. Canadians are good like that.

For approximately four years in high school, I loved a boy. He was no ordinary boy. He was THE Golden Boy of Cowansville High School. Blonde, French Canadian, and handsome as all getout. When he smiled, you could see the stars glimmer from his teeth, and when he walked down the hall girls melted into puddles. Of course I had no chance ever of snaring this magnificent creature, as I was about 102 pounds overweight. I smiled, I curled my hair, I used deodorant, and he would never, ever look my way. I was so huge, he probably thought I was a school corridor column and not the girl who loved him.

I left school at age sixteen and went to Fashion Design School, and all thoughts of Golden Boy left my head. I worked part-time in a fashion store and also lost about a zillion pounds. I had the wardrobe any Mod in the Sixties would have died for. That was probably one reason I lost so much weight. It was either food or clothes, and the clothes won out hands down.

So New Year's Eve 1968 found me holding an invite to the coolest New Year's Eve party around. It was held in the basement of an old A & P store in Granby, Quebec, and I knew my old school chums would be there. I was so excited to see them and dressed very carefully. Black velvet "Twiggy" minidress with a front zipper and a white collar. Black fishnets and black patent Cuban-heel shoes with big silver buckles on them.

I walked down the stairs and into the makeshift teen club. People's mouths dropped and screamed when they saw me. I carefully took off my long black Dr. Zhivago-style midi coat and slowly walked up to the dance floor in all my glory. I happily danced my feet off to a half dozen Creedance Clearwater songs until I was a sweaty mess. To cool off, I went outside to get air, and of course icicles started forming on my hair in the cold frigid air.

I don't smoke, so I tried to lean against the brick wall seductively while the icicles were quickly multiplying in my hair. Maybe, yes maybe just this once, I could snag a guy to dance with me. I prayed silently, "Just this once God, before I die, let me dance with a real boy."

Through the haze of cigarette-smoke clouds and ice fog came this shadow approaching me. He was tall. He was lean. And boy was he was blonde. Yes, dear readers, it was Golden Boy. Golden Boy in all his glory was approaching me from 30 degrees north at approximately the same time the clock struck twelve.

The icicles in my hair suddenly started to melt. I became tongue-tied as he looked at me and then hugged me. I just couldn't savor this moment I had yearned for as I was too busy worrying if I stunk from perspiration.

He spoke. Yes, he spoke. He spoke in a low sexy voice that made the Earth shatter and the heavens suddenly open and my heart was beating on overdrive.


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