BY SKEPTIK SINIKIAN
The last gift hadn’t even been opened and there was still plenty of fruitcake left in the Sinikian household on what we like to call "Fake Christmas," when my friend popped the question I had been dreading for 359 days. "So what are we doing for New Year’s?" There was an awkward silence followed by everyone simultaneously giving their party proposal with the hopes that their lame idea wouldn’t be heard over all the commotion of everyone else talking.
I don’t get it. New Years is the biggest let down of the year. And it’s a consistent letdown. Not the hit and miss kind like Keanu Reeves’ acting. I decided to stop celebrating New Year’s five years ago after I dropped $125 at one of the infamous Armenian parties that features a lineup of Who’s Who amongst the Armenian Wedding Singer circuit. It’s awkward enough to try and be suave on New Year’s Eve trying to talk to some attractive Armenian girl who’s there to try their luck at finding a husband. It’s even more awkward when her whole family is there watching you like a hawk. The German Nobel Laureate in literature Thomas Mann said it best: "Time has no divisions to mark its passage; there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins–it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols." I’m not packing any heat nor am I going to be anywhere with bells on. This year–I will spend it indoors with family and be in bed before midnight.
The one upside to New Year’s is that no matter how big of a disappointment the previous year was (didn’t find that special someone–didn’t win the lottery–didn’t lose weight–didn’t get the big promotion–didn’t whatever)–December 31st is an opportunity to start off with a clean slate and reflect back on everything and everyone that had it worse than you in 2004. The whole reflection thing is the only part of New Year’s Eve hoopla that I enjoy. So I’ve decided to start my own "Best & Worst of 2004" list to wrap the year up. Before I do–however–I feel the need to tie up some loose ends before we begin ’05.
Some of you have been wondering what happened to my friend who had been searching for love only to find some really bizarre creep that went psycho on her (How to Lose a Girl in 40 Days While Sleepless in the Valley–December 3–2004). I asked readers to send in their ideas for what thought was this guy’s major malfunction. I got some pretty creative responses including a few that thought the guy was gay and was using the innocent love seeker as a tool in his elaborate game to fool his family into thinking he was straight. Another reader suggested that the creep was a columnist for an Armenian paper–and was undercover doing research on the Armenian dating community (I have to admit that this explanation was my favorite as it hit so close to home–but alas–if I were undercover–I would have picked a place way more exotic than Fresno to claim as my hometown). The one idea I had and that some of our loyal readers suggested actually turned out to be true. It turns out that the guy was married and this whole being single thing was a ruse. Let this be a lesson for anyone planning on finding the ideal mate through the Internet. If you find something that seems too good to be true–then it probably is. That’s that. Let’s move on because the clock’s tickin’ faster than Dick Clark’s pacemaker.
So without further interruptions?let us commence with the fanfare and drumroll?The Skeptik Sinikian Year in Review List ’04 Edition (in no particular order).
Worst Political Statement Award
"The US administration is committing genocide?in Iraq," Mehmet Elkatmis–head of Turkey’s parliament’s human rights commission was quoted in a Turkish newspaper interview. "Never in human history have such genocide and cruelty been witnessed. Such [a] genocide was never seen in the time of the pharaohs nor of Hitler nor of [Benito] Mussolini."
Well–actually Mehmet effendi–there is so much irony in this statement–that even a smart ass like me doesn’t know where to begin. But just a few words of caution before you decide to throw around accusations of genocide. There’s a saying in Tennessee–I’m sure there’s a similar one in Ankara?it goes a little something like this?"THE POT SHOULDN’T CALL THE KETTLE BLACK!"
Runner up: Bush’s April 24–2004 Armenian genocide statement.
Worst Misguided Decision Award
Just last week–the European Union set a date for Turkey to begin accession talks to become a part of the EU. I still get worked up over this news. I take back all the complimen’s I’ve ever paid the European people during the course of my extended stint as a half-ass columnist.
It’s not bad enough that Turkey will enter the EU in less than two decades–but the baguette eating–wine sipping–wooden clog wearing pansies didn’t even make recognition of the Armenian genocide a precondition!
Accession talks are slated to start in October of 2005–so here’s a message to everyone in Europe who reads this column. "Put down the Mad Cow Disease beefsteak sandwich and think about what you’re about to do!"
Runner Ups: Bush’s invasion of Iraq–Kerry’s decision to run for President.
Best Armenian Rumor Award
Mel Gibson’s next movie is going to be about the Armenian genocide. You know how you remember where you were when you heard the OJ verdict or when you heard that Geragos would be defending the King of Pop? I remember sitting in a coffee shop with my friend Emin when he popped what he thought was big news. Luckily for me–I remember reading the online column by a non-Armenian who suggested that Mel Gibson should do a film about the Armenian genocide and had received twenty emails about it in less than 24 hours. This was–of course–coupled with the fact that he mentioned the "massacres" of Armenia’s during an interview with a major TV network but it was in reference to universal suffering and not about an upcoming project.
Since then–I have turned over every stone to find out if Mel Gibson is doing a movie about the Armenian genocide and I can assure you that he is not. He is doing a film about his post apocalyptic character Mad Max wondering around the Australian wasteland in "Mad Max: Fury Road" as well as a film about Boudica–a British warrior peasant who leads a revolt against the Romans in 61 A.D. I didn’t find anything about the Armenia’s.
I have to admit that this year’s rumor wasn’t as good as the "Best Armenian Rumor of 1999"–Armenia finds AIDS cure: Magic Johnson to travel to Yerevan for treatment.
This was soon followed by the rumor that Magic would be the new Armenian Olympic basketball team coach. How pathetic are we?
And as for the source of the Mel Gibson rumor?Emin has–since this column–admitted that his source was his mother’s Saturday afternoon "Soorj" group–a group of women in their 50s who sit around and gossip about everything from Ukranian politics to the quality of basturmah at the local Armenian deli.
Runner Up: George Michael is Armenian AND gay (somehow–this rumor always comes up every year. By the way–he is Greek NOT Armenian and gayer than a hirsute May pole).
Best Armenian Reference in a Movie Award
When my friend told me about the plot of the new Alexander Payne movie "Sideways," I have to admit that I was not ready to run down to the local art house theater to buy a ticket.
"It’s about two middle aged men who are failures in life and take off to spend a week in California’s wine country before one of them gets married," my friend explained.
If it wasn’t for the great reviews that it got from all major movie critics–I still wouldn’t have gone–but I’m glad that my friends dragged me.
The plot revolves around a guy who is about to marry an Armenian girl but decides to have one last hurrah and cheats on her while on a weekend getaway. This movie will do for overprotective Armenian dads who don’t want their daughter to marry a swarthy non-Armenian–what Top Gun did for Navy fighter pilots.
It’s a great character film and is very well acted. The end scene–which is an Armenian wedding–makes the film for Armenian film aficionados like myself. The best part is that the interior of the church is the Diocese church in Hollywood off of Vine and the exterior shots are of the Prelacy church in Montebello. Diocese and Prelacy together at last? You knew it had to be Hollywood fiction and it is!
What’s next? A movie about Armenia’s moving back to their historic homelands? Quick–someone call Mel Gibson’s agent!
Well–that’s all I have for this year. I want to thank everyone who wrote to me (even if I wasn’t able to write back right away) for your support and kind words. I can’t think of a better group of people to write for than the readership of this newspaper. Your commen’s and letters have made me laugh–cry–and occasionally want to bang my head against the wall repeatedly. Yet through it all–you’ve always made me want to keep writing. So I lift this glass of Ararat cognac to you and wish you all a healthy and happy arbitrary New Year!
Skeptik Sinikian is the official Asbarez New Year’s Party "Tamadan." He bids you and your loved ones good bye with this following Irish toast: "In the New Year–may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want." He can be reached at [email protected] or visit his outdated blog at www.sinikian.blogspot.com.