The Mirror

The New Year’s Eve Q: Your Wildest Time Ever

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Q: Please share a few details from your wildest, or most memorable, New Year’s Eve.

Sirius XM’s Julie Mason: “It wasn’t particularly ‘wild,’ but my best DC New Year’s was seeing Parliament Funkadelic at DAR Hall, where I danced badly and got pleasantly buzzed on some sticky-sweet punch, then walked home. Has anyone ever had a ‘wild’ New Year’s?? Outside of Elizabeth Taylor in Gstad?? Most people I know force themselves to do something eventful then wish they’d just stayed home. I mean, Uber surge pricing and whatnot — HBO is replaying The Wire!”

A.J. Delgado, regular contributor, National Review: “The funny part is, I’ve never had a wild New Year’s Eve. So I’d be hard-pressed to describe my ‘wildest’ New Year’s. I usually stay home and do the whole ’12 grapes and a sip of apple cider (the poor man’s champagne) at midnight’ thing, then pass out. Sometimes, I’ll do the Cuban superstitious ritual of walking once around the block at midnight, with a suitcase (it’s supposed to bring much travel/adventures the following year). I actually did travel a ton the year after I did that, so hey, try it out. Your neighbors might think you need to be committed, but travel is worth it, IMO.”

Alex Bolton, The Hill: “New Year’s Eve in Moscow, Dec. 31, 2005. I was visiting my then girlfriend’s family living in a giant housing complex on the outskirts of the city. We had a big spread laid out including Selyodka, poached salmon, ogurchiki, blini and of course plenty of samogon. Shortly before midnight we watched Vladimir Putin address the nation from Red Square. We stood up to toast the president and the new year just as the clock struck midnight.”

Tina Dupuy, left-wing syndicated columnist: “Well I’ve never, not once, drank alcohol on NYE. So I actually remember all of them. 2000 was fun. I was in the Virgin Island and there was a monsoon downpour at midnight and everyone was convinced it was Armageddon for the next 10 seconds. Then the rain stopped. The music began. And we’re all still here.”

Patrick Howley, Women’s Studies expert, The Daily Caller: “My wildest New Year’s Eve is yet to come. Will it occur this week? Possibly. Will it be like David Bowie meets the Russian Roulette scene in ‘Deer Hunter’? Certainly. Will Rahn is already quaking with fear. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Peter Ogburn, executive producer to radio host Bill Press: “When I was a younger man in SC, some friends and I threw a big bonfire party. It was on a farm, so we had a ton of room. The bit plan was for me to jump a dirtbike over the bonfire at midnight. (I didn’t know how to drive a motorcycle.) Long story short, I missed the makeshift ramp and I drove straight into a raging bonfire. I jumped off and got burns on my legs. The dirtbike didn’t make it out alive. Then we shot fireworks until we all passed out. The end.”

Derek Hunter, radio host, contributor, The Daily Caller: “When I was 17 I went with my friend Bill to his brother’s house. It was me, Bill, his brother and his brother’s wife. I knew his brother the way you know any friend’s older brother. Around 11:30, for reasons I’ll never understand, the brother decided it would be a good time to confess to his younger brother that he’d just gotten out of recovery for crack use. Seems he’d spent a lot of time in vacant building throughout Detroit smoking crack and other things he didn’t get into and was not getting his life back in order. He was crying, the wife was crying, Bill was in shock, and I kept wondering why he decided now, New Year’s Eve and in front of a relative stranger, was the time to unburden himself of this secret. I just kept staring at Dick Clark, waiting for that ball to drop, so I could get out of that awkward situation. It was weird enough to make you want to smoke crack.”

Evan Gahr, Washington, D.C. Gadfly, freelancer, phone enthusiast: “1996 when I was working for Eric. At a party I played two women, who I had previously flirted with at other events, off against each other. Set it up so they could fight over who got to go home with me. While I was talking to one I would ostentatiously ignore the other. Then the ignored woman would start trying to talk to me even more, prompting the one I was currently focused on to get even more interested in me and resentful of the other. The losing contestant was an MSNBC producer.”

Washington Free Beacon‘s The Truth Monkey: “All I’m gonna say is NEVER let a Kennedy or Chris Dodd serve you a mixed drink 20 mins before the ball drops or really ever ftm.”

Ian Schwartz, RealClearPolitics: “Actually I hope it’s this year — I’ll be in Vegas.”

Larry O’Connor, WMAL morning drive host: “I can only say that I started drinking in LA around 5PM and I woke up New Years day in Vegas. No idea how i got there. But it was 1995. I blame Bill Clinton.”

Anonymous Journo: “I was a teenager and after the ball dropped we got extraordinarily high near my high school then somehow also managed to invent the greatest board game that’s ever been. It involved salsa, chips, unnecessary violence, and Stratego pieces stacked high on top one another. I wish I could remember how to play it.”

Sophia Nelson, author, The Woman Code: “In college, 19, went with my then boyfriend to Mexico, Tijuana, danced on the rooftop of a club called Del Sol (I think). Then we jumped in a mosh pit. As we dined on lobster tails and a bucket of Corona (all for under $20)! Yes, conservative, Girl Scout me once was young and had a wild streak. (laughs). Oh, to be young again. . .”

Lisa De Pasquale, author, Finding Mr. Righteous: “I think 2013 was my wildest New Year’s Eve.  I spent it shopping at a Target in Tulsa and drinking a disgusting combination of available liquids like OJ and Creme de Cacao (see last chapter of my book for dirt on the guy who made the drinks). I haven’t been drunk since then.  So, I guess that’s pretty wild for me.” 

Peter Savodnik, founder and CEO of Stateless Media: “On New Year’s Eve 2008, I was living in an apartment on the Garden Ring in Moscow, and I had a small party — mostly Russian journalists, American journalists, a few Brits, a few randoms. At five to twelve, as is the custom, the president gave his address, and we turned on the television in the kitchen and everyone watched. The air was different in Russia then: Oil was near its peak, and they hadn’t invaded Georgia yet, to say nothing of the Crimea, and the Kremlin seemed, as it does every few decades, very smart and much more powerful than it really was. In the middle of Putin’s speech, someone popped open a bottle of champagne, and the Russians, almost uniformly, yelled, ‘Quiet! Our Leader is on.’ That made the Americans smirk, and for the rest of the night, until the sun came up, they kept saying, ‘Our Leader is on. Our Leader is on.'”

Roger Stone, author and GOP strategist: “One New Year’s Eve in the 80’s I attended Roy Cohn’s New Year’s Eve Party. A Black-tie Affair at Cohn’s opulent Brownstone on the upper East side, my table included Rupert Murdoch, Andy Warhol, Ed Meese, Ethel Merman, Rick de Kwiatkowski and Bianca Jagger. Andy took a Polaroid of my dachshund.”

Jim Antle, The Daily Caller: “I once ordered my Chinese food extra spicy. Also started drinking before Dick Clark began the countdown.”

While there are some pretty powerful contenders above, perhaps it is the best, most wild story that must be saved for last.

It comes from Cloture Club contributor John Powers. Some of you may know him as @ReportingfromNY. And while this may seem unnecessarily long, I assure you that you won’t feel the length. Also: It involves him waking up naked on a fur coat with lipstick smears and scratches on his face. And no wallet.

Serving in the U.S. Army during the late 80s, I ended up stationed on an Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas. A Sergeant who roomed two doors down from me in the barracks had just rotated stateside from Seoul and managed to smuggle back with him several bottles of a highly potent South Korean alcoholic beverage called, “Soju.”

Me, the Sarge, and two other guys from Jersey all packed into Sarge’s Chevette and planned to ring in the new year sipping Soju before parading along San Antonio’s famous bar festooned river walk. Prior to this, Sarge cautioned me not to imbibe too much too quickly; he hinted that Soju was rumored to contain a tang of formaldehyde.

Undeterred, I swilled more than my share and immediately fell victim to its toxic effects. The rest is a blur of headlights, sweat, intermittent brawls with strangers and songs by INXS; then blackness.

The following afternoon I sprang from sleep in a panic and found myself in unfamiliar surroundings. I was sprawled out in the center of someone’s apartment in the living room, on a fur coat, in the buff. The rumors were true; I was embalmed! Donning the mangy fur, I slumped around in search of other life forms. None responded to my calls of distress.

Glimpsing myself in a mirror, my face was lipstick smeared and peppered with minor scrapes. “Hello?” I bellowed again as I traipsed from room to room, “Is someone here? Can you tell me where I am?” A muffled woman’s voice answered from behind a locked door, “Can you please leave?” she said. I rapped gently on the door and with as much kindness as I could muster, asked if my clothes were in the room. “Out back,” she said and again pleaded for me to leave.

Passing through a sliding glass door, “out back” consisted of a small brick patio fenced in by some ratty bushes. There was a hot tub. Bobbing along its slick surface, beer cans. Beyond that, a fire pit. In its cold dead ashes, my clothes; not all of them mind you, the knockoff Cavariccis I’d proudly been sporting we’re merely terribly singed. The Miami Vice blazer and silk t-shirt however, crumbled to the touch. No sign of my wallet 

Entering the apartment, I again inquired to my my barricaded host if she had seen my wallet. Her response was adamant, “No, now please leave.” I skulked off to the laundry room and found some bits of clothing to wear. Gulping water from the sink in the kitchen, I hurriedly gave myself a rinse and headed out to greet the new year in a pair of charred pants, flip-flops, a pinkish tank-top, no identification, no money, and no earthly idea where the hell I was.

Turns out I was in Austin, some 80 miles from where I needed to be. To my knowledge, that still stands as the longest “walk of shame” on record.

Ambling my way down to some Texas desert highway, I thumbed a ride from a Mexican dude in a freshly dented compact. He didn’t speak English, the windshield was cracked and crumbs of glass rattled and rumbled on the dash to the beat of Whitesnake for a good 20 or 30 miles. After that, a patriotic redneck trucker hauling beer took me the whole way, depositing me at the “Stop-n-Go” directly across the street from the base. Not surprisingly, the MPs (or SPs-Security Police as they are called in the Air Force) were very reluctant to admit me onto base. 

As a favor to an enlisted guy, the call was put into my unit’s First Sergeant instead of my C.O. To show his appreciation for dragging him away from his family to come save my ass, I spent the first two weeks of 1989 confined to quarters, digging holes and filling them back up again, “Cool Hand Luke” style. I hummed, “The Devil Inside” song by, INXS while doing it.