22 Comments

  1. I think the idea that everything will be better next year simply because it will be a new year is bizarre.

  2. Well, half of a terrifying year is better than a whole terrifying year. The first half can’t get any worse (than it actually was, even if we might discover it was worse than we thought).

  3. I’m reminded of the story of the politician who was granted any wish by a genie, but warned that his opponent would get twice as much of whatever he wished for. “Well,” he said, “it’s been a long day and a long long campaign and I’m about half dead, so let’s just keep it that way.”

  4. But Olivier,
    If someone had told you last year, that THIS year would be horrible just because it’s a new year, would you have thought that it was a bizarre idea?

  5. You can only go halfway into the woods, because if you keep going after that you are going out of the woods.

    So we don’t have much farther to go into this year, before we start coming out of it.

  6. I’ve long had some difficulty with the expression “It’s all downhill after that.”
    One, the underlying image is cycling, and after the crest it will be much easier going. Maybe even some coasting!
    Other hand, we’re looking at a graph charting something like success or value (against time); so once we pass the crest, things get less and less good.

  7. Except in the expression “Then things went downhill from there”, which suggests events have taken a turn for the worse.

  8. Thanks for the suggestion, Grawlix, of the way that is phrased for the negative view. Though I didn’t come up with that phrasing, my intention was indeed in line with yours, to say downhill could indicate bad as easily as good.

  9. And maybe if he wises up, Arlo won’t say anything more about Janis’s age for the rest of 2020.

  10. @Nebulousrikulau: yes, and for the same reason. Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean anything will necessarily change, for the worse or the better. And things can change without waiting for a new year. In the next six months, we could be all dead or reach the stars.

  11. @MiB: there’s a theory like that, by some historian. Any period in history can be divided in two: up/in and down/out. So, any year can be considered the acme of something. So, 2020 is the acme of… whatever: mankind, space exploration, or Miley Cyrus’s career.

  12. It’s not actually half over until midnight on 1st July. (Normally it’s noon on 1st July, but this is a leap year.)

  13. It’s also fairly common I think for people to wish for the new year to be better than the passing one on New Year’s Eve. It’s not very logical if you think about it, but it’s optimistic.

  14. Here’s something I want to hear a preacher say at a wedding:

    “Many married couples tell me that their wedding day was the happiest day of their life.

    It was all downhill after that.”

  15. I always wonder when I hear someone say “and last but not least” if s/he should not, to be fair, then go on to indicate just who/what on the implied list IS the “least.”

  16. I saw a interviewed woman introducing her half-dozen kids, and as it happens taking them in order from oldest down. She did say “And last but not least ..” and then hesitated a moment but did not add anything to modify that before going on to introduce the baby.

  17. I suppose during the era predating the phrase people tended to list things greatest-to-least?

  18. Starting with with us thinking that Robert was having a heart attack the first week in October 2018 (luckily he was not – he had a muscle knot in the back of his shoulder and we found out that he has arthritis in about same the spot which caused the rated 10 on the pain scale, pains to run down his left arm) we have gone through a very wacky period in which non-major things go wrong – constantly, and things have to be done over and over to finally get them done – constantly. At midnight this past New Year’s Eve we decided (hoped) that it was all behind us and things would go better. Little did we know what the future held for everyone for this year.

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