Maggie Van Ostrand
I could have anything in the world, I'd want world peace," rhapsodizes
every Miss America contestant since the first one back when all the
Nielsen viewers lived in caves. Today, we ask for more serious things,
especially at the time of year when New Year's Resolutions are being
We always mean what we write down, even though our resolutions may
become somewhat elastic as the year trudges on. In fact, we probably
all write pretty much the same ones: quit smoking, spend more time
with family, quit drinking, etc. But what about the unusual Resolutions?
Who'd know about them? The New Year Baby, that's who. The very same
gurgling baby who symbolizes the New Year is definitely the one to
I've always wondered about that baby. It's gender is probably male,
considering that outfit. No girl baby would go out wearing just a
diaper and a chest banner with the year on it, especially not in January
when one's nipples react to the cold weather. We tracked the baby
down as it was preparing for the annual trip to Times Square, and
got the following answers.
Q: You're a boy baby, right?
A: See this top hat on my head? Who'd you think I was, Fred
Q: Since you mentioned Fred's name, what's yours? We can't
keep calling you Baby New Year.
A: Kid Time, that's my moniker.
Q: Do you alternate with another baby from one year to the
A: Nope. It's me. It's always been me as far back as when Dick
Clark was young. And that was long before he dropped the ball.
I've been playing this gig since 600 B.C. Back then I was Greek, but
it was the Germans who brought me to America. You think immigration
problems are bad now? Sheesh. You should've been around then. Even
if you could get across the border into the U.S., you could never
get a decent hotel room.
Q: Since I assume you're the one to talk with about New Year's
Resolutions the same as we talk with Santa about Christmas wishes,
what are some unusual ones?
A: Well, there was the one that said, "Take time from schedule
to stop and smell the behinds."
A: Yes, you heard right. I was really shocked until I found
out that the list it appeared on was Lassie's.
Q: Any other odd Resolutions?
A: How about, "Don't put the Twinkies back on the store shelf
after you suck out the filling. Always eat the whole thing."
Q: Who wrote that one?
A: Kirstie Alley.
Q: Tsk tsk tsk, that's quite naughty of you to repeat.
A: I haven't revealed the most unusual of all.
Q: Oh please, do tell. Maybe we can sell the information to
the National Inquirer.
A: Well, okay. I'll tell. It's this one, "Get Shorty."
Q: Who wrote that one, John Travolta?
A: Michael Jackson.
Q: Thank you, Kid Time, for this unique interview. We appreciate
your turning down Oprah's show in favor of us.
A: It's not that I liked you better than Oprah, it's that her
guest list is so long that, by the time she gets me out of the green
room, I'll be a bent over old man with a beard and that stupid scythe.
That's what happens after a year of watching all of you not keeping
Q: What's your personal New Year's Resolution, Kid Time?
A: For the good of mankind, I will do my part to eliminate
greenhouse gasses. Before eating the traditional New Year's Eve black-eyed
peas and cabbage, I will take a Beano.
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
January 1, 2005 column