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Happy 2018

But no time for parties January 1, 2018 at 2:42 a.m.

You are the most pwecious thing ever! Yes you are! Yes you are! So full of promise! And so cute! A-boo-boo-boo! A-boo-boo-boo!

Now sit up straight. Grow up, kid.

You don't have time to shake a rattle and play with your toes, lil' 2018. You have to learn. And fast. You know how newborn fawns in the forests have to learn how to run in the first few hours after birth? You don't have that much time. Let's get going.

Kid, things are tough all over. And will be tougher unless you learn on the fly. Here's a list of some of the years past. Actually, it's a list of all the years past. They're in order. Learn from them. The lessons are innumerable. So you'd better get started.

We don't mean to scare you, but this ain't gonna be easy. Monsters under the bed? Only stories. A blown night-light? Replaceable. Beet juice leaking on your mashed potatoes? Child's play.

Real monsters exist all over the globe. What you are going to see will age you. Let's just hope that your time here goes better than most years.

Now, don't cry. Some years are successful. In ways. Your predecessor, Mr. 2017, did quite a number on the ongoing war. The bad guys are down several thousand. And something called ISIS (see 2014, Lessons), is performing a highly technical military maneuver called a dead run. But the bad guys never completely disappear. They can disappear for whole hours at a time. And then show up to attack us in our sleep. Or during our travel. (See 2001, Lessons.)

Even during so-called sleepy years, bad things happen. For all the modern nostalgia for the Eisenhower or Reagan presidencies, people forget that Korea was still a shooting war until July of 1953, and that the Marine Corps' barracks was blown up in Beirut in October of 1983. And that both were Cold War years, when folks always had The End in mind. It almost got here in 1962.

The years 2001, 1861-1865, 1939-1945 are still in therapy. And there are particularly bad months even in good years. You'll have your share. We'd tell you to bet on it, but you're still a minor. Although you grow older, and wiser, with every second.

Hey, kid, dry it up. Look at it this way: A lot of good will happen during your tenure, too. Just try to avoid being a 1861 or one of his awful step-brothers.

Now then, let's get you properly equipped.

Here are some boots. You're going to need them. You will be a mid-term election year, but an election year just the same. With this president, and this Congress, and this media environment--in which real news is labeled fake or fake news labeled real depending on point of view--you'll need deep boots. And access to a good water hose. Maybe hip waders would be more appropriate.

Also, there's no telling what the papers will dig up on national, state and local governments. We're sure our news-hounds and professional snoops--er, that is, investigative journalists--will find plenty to outrage. Yet again. That's something every year can count on.

Here's a few bucks to get you by. We advise you to invest it. The market is on the upswing. Here's hoping it keeps swinging up for your entire stay. Our 401(k)s could use another boost.

You'll need a handkerchief. All years do. It'd be nice if your legacy would be one of peace coming at last. Sort of like 1918--the end of 1918. Lest we forget, until the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, that was an especially bloody year, too.

You'll also need some tarps, and coats, and diapers, and food, and clean water, and blankets, and emergency aid. More than one hurricane hit the U.S. in 2017. And there were assorted earthquakes and tornadoes and floods and blizzards around the globe. You'll need the help of those who help best. That is, first responders and those with other callings, like clergy and doctors.

Speaking of first responders, clergy and doctors, lil' 2018, there will be a lot of good that will happen on your watch. There always is. Every year sees miracles. Like the miracle of birth. And healing. And love and faith and charity.

Think about how many times in the next 12 months that grandparents will welcome the kids home. Think about the presents at birthdays and Christmas and anniversaries. And all the recitals and marriage proposals and those times when a daughter calls her mother and gives the latest doctor's report: "It's a boy!"

You might need a handkerchief for those moments, too.

Here's a parka, kid. It's cold outside today. Also, here are a pair of swimming trunks for the summer. This is Arkansas, so we've also stashed some fishing poles along the route for May, and some fireworks for July. If we could ask a favor, let's make sure that any tornadoes that hit Arkansas this year only knock down a few trees. And those trees only fall on unoccupied, well-insured barns. And an early harvest of red tomatoes would be nice. And a mild summer. And no rain on Saturdays.

Oh, you can do it. Give it your best shot.

Hey, don't look so down. We didn't mean to scare you earlier. You could really be a great year, as long as you're vigilant, and learn quickly.

Here's hoping that you're the best year ever. And who's to say, on this first day, that you can't be?

Tell you what, we won't send you out there alone, kid.

We'll go with you.

Editorial on 01/01/2018

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