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New England Celebrations

The ice in New England is still slippery, and if you don't chip it off your front steps, somebody who falls and breaks something may very well sue you, just as he might if you lived in Baltimore.

The birds stupid or lazy enough to stick around for winter here are approximately as likely to target your car as they would be if you lived in Anaheim.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not ungrateful. The World Series back in the fall was great fun, and the fact that nobody currently employed by the champion Red Sox was named in the Mitchell Report was a pleasant bonus. We've got no complaints about the Patriots, who've gone undefeated during the regular season and broken several records in so doing. We're appropriately appreciative of the suddenly extraordinary Celtics, who have the best record in the N.B.A.

But New England includes New Hampshire, which means we've been subjected to as much mud-slinging and televised puffery from the presidential candidates as folks in Iowa have, and more of it than citizens fortunate enough to be living in regions free of primaries. The recent successes of the teams we support not withstanding, we're as tired as anybody of election coverage that treats those primaries as if they were athletic events, concentrating on who's ahead rather than what any of the competitors have done or said.

Our basements still flood. Sometimes our cars don't start. Like you, we get calls from the principal when our kids bite their classmates. Living where the Red Sox, the Celtics, and the Patriots play their home games has not made us immune to influenza, back pain, headaches, or the heartbreak of psoriasis.

It's too late to head off all the people who sent me holiday cards contending that life must be great in New England because all the local teams have been doing so well, but the beginning of the year is an appropriate time to suggest an alternative ordering of priorities and blessings. Life is good when you realize your house needs a new roof and address that circumstance before the old one falls in on you, and when you're children are laughing together at something, even if it's you. Life is good when you've got enough to give some to somebody else.

Baseball? Football? Basketball? Hooray for diversions, but may your new year be happy for reasons more enduring and substantial than somebody else's wins and losses.

This program aired on January 3, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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