There were two parties I was invited to on New Year's, but I spent it sick in bed, head so jammed that I couldn't even think. I turned off Dick Clark at 11:55 because it seemed too depressing to be ringing in the year with his scary, slurred (stroke-induced?) "Happy New Year!" And yet, he was real. He didn't care what millions of people watching were going to think. His frailty wasn't going to keep him from what he loved. Perhaps that should be this year's theme. 2009, the year that adds up to the magic eleven. Eleven follows me everywhere. According to the Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (my favorite reference book) eleven represents the conflict between good and evil, Heaven and Earth. Eleven is the sign of excess, be it in whatever category you like. Promiscuity, violence, biased judgment. According to the book, the excess "may either mark the beginnings of a renewal or the collapse and breakdown of the number 10 (which symbolizes a complete cycle), a fault in the universe." This seems to be a theme that keeps cropping up in the broken ankles that abound. It seems our excesses of past are about to result in a new cycle. I guess Dick Clark represents this perfectly: He has in one broadcast, ushered out the old slickness, the perfect hair, the perfect voice and shown us his humanity, and bravery in the face of what I can only guess must have been the most difficult of lessons for 'ol Dick: humility. I have to give him credit - he didn't care what people thought, his passion outweighed his fear of failure or ridicule. If we could all be so brave. I wished I had stayed up those extra five minutes to hear him out.