Issue #101 – “Year in Review” – December 18th, 2006

-The year 2006 was one of firsts for me.  I touched my first pair of fake breasts.  I used a semicolon correctly for the first time.  I discovered my first gray hair (OK, my second).  During a stand-up show in Orange County, I drank too much beforehand and, for the first time in my career, had to leave the stage mid-set to break the seal.  I guess, as they say, there’s a first for everything.  But perhaps, in a larger sense, these incidents demonstrate that a year in the life of a twentysomething is not marked solely by forward progress.  Every step in the right direction is followed closely by one in the wrong direction.  For every fake breast I touched, a gray hour sprouted.  I figured out how to use semicolons, but I lost bladder control.  Yes, 2006 was a year of give and take, of good and bad, but I hope I came out ahead, if just barely.  This is my Year in Review.

-This year, I really noticed how my generation is, well, growing up.  A while back, two fans met for the first time at an event I hosted and later got married.  This year, they had their first kid (which, inexplicably, they chose not to name Karo).  Also this year, a longtime fan wrote me to say that she’d recently taken to reading my column while breastfeeding.  The fact that I’m even tangentially involved in the upbringing of these two children is an absolutely terrifying thought.  But the fact that at least one chick somewhere out there is reading this with her breasts exposed more than makes up for it.

-Some of my fondest memories of 2006 come from the road.  I’ll never forget headlining the House of Blues in Chicago – the largest, drunkest, and rowdiest crowd I’ve ever performed for.  One chick got so fucked up she vomited in the middle of the show, causing everyone around her to throw up as well, and the bar to temporarily cut off liquor sales.  I love to send my fans home laughing, but I’m happy with simply incapacitated.

-The older I get, the more I realize that New Year’s Eve fucking sucks – but only because people treat it like an extra-special night, which it really isn’t.  On average, it’s easier for me to hook up with a chick in the middle of a bar at midnight on a normal night than it is on New Year’s, when there’s more pressure.  Nonetheless, planning for New Year’s Eve, which I’ll be spending in Los Angeles for the first time, has begun in earnest.  It’s basically game theory: wait as long as possible to decide on a venue until figuring out where the most girls are going, then pack the place so tight that the open bar is rendered inaccessible, making you wish you went somewhere else instead.  In the past few years, I’ve spent New Year’s in Manhattan, Vegas, Sydney, and even once in the hospital with appendicitis.  Honestly, I’d say it’s a four-way tie for which one was best.

-In the end, 2006 was undoubtedly tumultuous.  A fight broke out in the audience at my show in Philadelphia, and my friend got beat up by a bouncer at my after-party in Miami.  The crowds in New York booed me every time I mentioned moving to LA, but I know they did it out of love.  When my dad came to my final show of the year, and saw my name in lights in Times Square and a line around the block, he cried.  It was a magical ending to a year that began in January with me breaking the seal mid-show in Orange County.  And after I returned from the bathroom and finished my set that night, came yet another first – my first request to sign breasts.  To my surprise, the girl was six months pregnant.  With plenty of room to work with, I wrote “Thanks for bringing a future Karo fan; hope he enjoyed!” with an arrow to her belly.  I signed my name, stepped back, saw what I had done, and was overwhelmed with pride.  I had just used my first semicolon.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-This is the first year I’ve lived entirely in Los Angeles.  And while I’ve found that most stereotypes about the city aren’t true, you would not believe the shit that comes out of some people’s mouths.  From a chick in my apartment building who I overheard telling her friend about a new, all-liquid diet:  “Yeah, it’s pretty good, but you kind of miss the chewing.”  From a girl I hooked up with, when I asked her if she liked LA:  “Well, sometimes I just want to go away for a year to someplace warm.”  (It was 81 degrees in November at the time).  And, possibly my all-time favorite, from a chick I was walking with in the Hollywood Hills, through a beautiful but really heavily-wooded area: “Oh my God!  This totally reminds me of Rainforest Cafe!”

-I hate checking into a hotel room and finding that the toilet paper roll is already halfway done.  I hate that clicking anywhere on MySpace only results in the proper page loading error-free about 20% of the time.  I hate when a TV news anchor thanks someone he just interviewed and the interviewee doesn’t say “you’re welcome” or anything but just sort of sits there, so there’s two seconds of awkward silence for no reason.  And, I absolutely hate when people don’t get back to me when they say they will, or don’t return my calls, and when I finally get in touch with them after a week and ask what the fuck is going on, they say something like, “Oh I just wanted to make sure I had all the information before I called you back.”  No!  That’s fucking ridiculous!  Just call me back anyway to let me know that you’re still working on it!  What am I, fucking psychic?

-In the spirit of the holidays, here’s a very rare list of things I love (for a change).  I love people who will park anywhere as long as they put the blinkers on.  I love people who show up to costume parties dressed completely normal.  I love meeting two cute girls at a bar who are friends and happen to have the same name, so I only have to remember one of them.  I love when radio contest winners are less than enthusiastic about the prize they’ve won.  I love porn titles that at first glance seem clever but then later you realize they make no sense at all (for example, “The Little Whore That Could”).  I love that telling someone they’re “not drunk enough” is completely reasonable.  And I love when girls make a cute little pose just before someone takes a picture, but then the camera doesn’t work and they’re kind of stuck faking like that pose is normal, until their fucking idiot friend with the same name figures out how to work the flash.

-And, finally, my buddies from home and I have an informal tradition where every December we determine which one of us had the best year.  For instance, the year that my old roommate Brian got engaged and was accepted to business school, we declared it the “Year of the Brian.”  When Claudio got a new job, new apartment, and a new girlfriend, we declared that the “Year of the Claudio.”  Sadly, there’s never been a “Year of the Karo,” and I doubt I’ll win it this year, either.  That’s not to say I’ve never had a great year, it’s just that my accomplishments always seem to be too spread out; plus “new job” and “new girlfriend” aren’t exactly categories I typically compete in.  Whether or not I take home the prize at the end of 2006, I know that next year will be very special to me.  And that is because I will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of Ruminations.  Believe it or not, I’ve been sending these emails regularly since September 1997, so next fall marks one decade of ruminating.  It is a milestone that I am perhaps more proud of than anything else in my life.  And when I reach it, I will have all of you to thank.  You will have made it possible.  So to all of you out there, reading this at work or in your dorm, at home or on your BlackBerry, I hope your 2006 has treated you well.  And in 2007, may you look upon each toilet paper roll you see not as half-empty, but instead, as half-full.  Fuck me.