Recently I watched the classic, When Harry Met Sally. At the end when Harry, played by Billy Crystal, runs to see Meg Ryan’s Sally at midnight on New Year’s Eve, naturally the background music is “Auld Lang Syne,” and just as naturally Harry launches into humorous speculation about the meaning of the lyrics.
“For the sake of old times” is basically the translation of the words “For Auld Lang Syne” that appear in Robert Burns‘s poem written in 1788 and set to music (although earlier versions of the ballad exist). The concept of the song is: two friends have shared many times together, been separated by life’s circumstances, meet again, and “for the sake of old times” are going to have a drink together. (By the way, today Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day is “Compotation: the act of drinking or tippling together,” if you’d like to throw that one out there later.)
Here’s wishing you a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, whether you indulge in non-alcoholic or adult beverages, whether you spend it with friends new or old, or family, or home alone (not a bad thing, by the way). Preferably you’ll luck out with a generous friend: the last verse of the song says “you’ll pay for your ale and I’ll pay for mine.”
I can’t help wondering what Billy Crystal would have done with that line…
Happy New Year and cheers!