It’s January of a New Year, and you need to make resolutions, have a toast, and sing “Auld Lang Syne.” If you didn’t get around to those things this past New Year’s Eve because you were busy frightening the neighborhood cats and dogs by popping firecrackers at midnight, it’s not too late, particularly to sing the song. Like “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen as well as many later Dylan songs, nobody knows much of the lyrics anyway. So go ahead and give it at least a hum.
We can thank #1 Scotsman and poet Robert Burns for putting “Auld Lang Syne” down on paper in 1788. It was an old song he heard sung by an old man, and he added some lines to make it fit the melody of an old folk song. So, all around it’s pretty old. And it’s sung on New Year’s and graduations and farewell addresses to make us think of old times. In fact, “auld lang syne” is kinda Scottish slang for “old long since.” And when people sing the line of the chorus, “For the sake of auld lang syne,” they’re meaning “For the sake of old times.”
But when we reminisce on New Year’s Eve and wax melancholic with old friends about the old times, we often get so distracted by the fireworks and champagne and rich food and what’s happening in Times Square and of course, our smart phones, that we all too often forsake true conversation about the old times. So, here are some champagne-proof reminiscence-starters about the old times to share with your family and friends during the New Year. For the sake of old times, do you remember when…
• There was more fresh air outside a potato chip bag than inside?
• You dropped a phone onto a floor, it was the floor that broke?
• Our legs were skinnier than our jeans?
• Backyards were full of dragonflies, which also meant that they were full of mosquitoes?
• Armour Star actually had to compete with Libby’s for the title of “America’s Favorite”?
• Dylan would sing in English and not Sanskrit?
• “CBD” stood for Central Business District?
• There was only one flavor of Cheerios, Crown Royal, Vienna Sausages, Bush’s Beans, and Listerine?
• The year 2001 came around and there was no space odyssey?
• There was only one Manning quarterback?
• There were fewer Rocky movies than moons orbiting Mars?
• Your pedias were encyclos and not wikis?
• It was the thought that counted not where you could spend the gift card balance?
• There were four channels on TV rather than four TVs in the house?
• Clouds held rain and not data?
• Church candles were lit by wick fire and not the click and spark of a charcoal lighter?
• There were more clam and oyster shells along highways than along the coast?
• There were more lovebugs on roads than motorcyclists?
• The Saints hired an Apollo astronaut as an executive?
• The Jedi returned, the Ewoks threw a dance party, and that was the end of the story?
• Green marshland grew all the way to lines of oak trees at the coast with no briny water and no well heads in sight?
I hope these prompts help you get New Year’s reminiscing started. Be aware that “Auld Lang Syne” is typically sung by groups of people hugging and kissing in diverse chemical states of toasting each other. So, though you may have heard the lines “Old Bland Hinds,” “Goat Gland Rind,” “Toad Canned Slime,” “Bold Hand Signs,” or, at halftime of an LSU bowl game, “Gold Band Line,” you’ve simply heard your chemically toasted friends and family trying to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” And that’s a fitting tradition, as Robert Burns was known in his day
to be toasted every now and then. Dylan may have written a song about him.