Not too long ago, before I got a life, I was a wreck – especially around the holidays.

I buried my father on one Christmas Eve, and in my northern hometown I spent one frigid New Year’s Eve parked on a quiet, dark residential street outside a low-life after-hours club, contemplating not whether to buy drugs but how much to buy, listening to the local classic jazz station broadcast a happy-sounding party from some Left Coast town, where midnight corresponded with three in the morning for me. How friggin pathetic. But here I am – in the immortal words of ’80s synth-pop giants Simple Minds, “alive and kicking” – and in addition to my family members and old friends, I need to thank the nice people I’ve met through my job over the past three and a half years. When in doubt, friends, remember the immortal words of ’80s synth-pop giant Howard Johnson: Things can only get better. Merry Christmas, y’all.

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