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Year of the Peter: My Chinese New Year's Resolution
Peter Tatara - February 18, 2007

Today, February 18th, is the start of the Year of the Pig. It's Chinese New Year, you see, and while we Westerners signal each year's start and end based on the movement of the Earth and the Sun, traditional Chinese calendars are based on the relationship between the Earth and the Moon. And, today's the day when the Earth and Moon have perfectly aligned to usher in a new year, the Year of the -- as I've already said -- Pig.

The Chinese calendar, as my Chinese girlfriend's explained to me, cycles through a series of twelve animals, each one receiving its own year, before progressing to the next, and Chinese horoscopes group people -- rather than by month -- according to the animal mascot of their birth year. I, born in 1983, was born in the Year of the Pig.

What does this mean? Well, frankly, whenever anyone tells me I was born in the Year of the Pig, I curl up and spend the remainder of the day weeping. You must understand, I was spectacularly obese as a child and, to this day, any even tangential mention of what I can construe as a jab at my weight will more than likely cause me to skip dinner and glower disapprovingly at myself in a mirror.

There's more to this story, though, than just self-pity. Earlier this week, after my girlfriend made some (she says) innocent comment about my birth year, and after I locked myself in the bathroom with a full box of tissues, she talked me out by letting me know all the great things about this being the Year of the Pig, and I will now relay them to you.

Because it is the Year of the Pig and I am a Pig, I can do no wrong. For the next 365 days, what I say goes. I make the rules. I don't gotta do the dishes or my laundry. More, if I'm thirsty, I can walk into my corner bodega and walk out with a drink without paying. Even better, I can torch the neighborhood Italian place that always gives me attitude when I ask for a third basket of complimentary bread. Wrinkled jeans, thievery, and arson are only the start, though. As I've said, I can do no wrong.

If I play the lottery, I win every time. What's 2+2? I can say 5. The very laws of time and space are at my beckon. I can hop on a subway (for free, of course) and get off in the 18th Century. Threaten me and I'll summon a phalanx of demon swine to rip you and your children limb from limb. My hair will always be perfect. The lighting will always be right. And there'll always be a specific, localized gust of wind to make my cape billow. Oh, I should have mentioned this sooner, but I've decided I'm going to take to wearing a cape.

I will also, of course, have complete mastery of all woman, able to make any my bride, and capable of bringing all to ultimate physical ecstasy with but a momentary meeting of our eyes. But worry not, girlfriend, as though I'll possess this divine skill, I'll save my glances only for you.

The Pig's full and proper name in the Chinese zodiac is the "Chivalrous Boar," any I will embody this name to the fullest. It is my Chinese New Year's Resolution to dawn a mask with my -- already mentioned -- cape and fight crime. I haven't yet chosen my costume's colors or if I should wear buccaneer boots or spiked greaves, and I've also yet to select a sidekick; however, I'm hoping my girlfriend accepts the position, but once all this minutia is sorted out, the Chivalrous Boar and his spitfire sidekick Miss Piggy will rid the world of civic maleficence, embezzlement, and nepotism. And if we have time for it, the elimination of trans fats from prepackaged foods.

Wait, hold on. My girlfriend's just told me by her revised calculations I was actually born in the Year of the Dog. Well, there goes all that. I thought this was my year, but it turns out I was wrong, which isn't actually the way I was planning to kick of 365 days of infallibility. Oh well, I'm glad I didn't try to catch any bullets today. Taking this new information into account, I guess I'll be leaving the crime fighting and/or larceny to someone else. My girlfriend's also just informed me that last year was the Year of the Dog. Great! I've now got to wait more than a decade for my year to come again. I guess, though, it means I'll have plenty of time to get my costume right, and come 2018, I'll emerge from my apartment not as Peter -- but as Kamen Rider Vilk! (Kamen Riders are spandex-clad super heroes second only to Power Rangers in Japanese pop culture, and "vilk" means wolf in Latvian, Lithuanian, Sudovian, Ukrainian, and Polish.) But, frankly, I'm not going to start on my jumpsuit tonight. I'm too depressed.

I'm going to go do my taxes then pass out during Iron Chef.

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