Whether we're cursing a hangover or mocking party-addled friends, most of us resolved a few days ago to do better this year. Sadly, few of us do better -- and neither do the pols and celebs that fill news pages. Here are a few local stories CL would like to see in 2006, but we're not holding space for them:
1. County commissioner Bill James wakes up as one of the people he's spent his political career criticizing. After a few days living in the "urban sewer," he realizes the error of his ways, decides to give all his money to the poor and becomes an aid worker in Darfur.
2. Mayor Pat McCrory comes out as the environmentalist he's sometimes accused of being. He resigns from office to become manager for Peter, Paul and Mary, starts calling everyone "Hey, maaannn," and reappears in politics only to tout legalization of pot.
3. South Charlotte neighborhoods vote to become the largest gated community in North Carolina. With a gate starting in Myers Park and ending south of Ballantyne, the community retains disgraced Davidson County sheriff Gerald Hege to preside over the kingdom, keeping out anyone who wears white after Labor Day, drives a car that's more than five years old, or has skin "darker than snow" (the classification Hege once told his deputies to use when deciding who to pull over).
4. Uptown nightclubs drop their yuppie pretenses. Club owners agree to be more welcoming of all people and promise to ban the words "upscale" and "professional" from all marketing. People nevertheless continue to drink, bars stay open and the world keeps on turning.
5. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system hires a bodyguard for each school board member at taxpayer expense, leaving the duly elected guardians of our children's futures to point fingers and name-call at meetings without fear of physical assault. Exasperated bodyguards decide at board meetings to finish agenda items themselves, and a relieved public is so pleased with the security staff's decisions they overlook the move's obvious illegality. The bodyguards are elected to the board in the next election, and, as punishment, school board members are ordered to attend agonizingly inadequate CMS sex education classes.
6. The Charlotte City Council tells Bob Johnson he's going to have to direct his own post-Bobcats-game traffic. The one million dollars previously allocated for Johnson instead is used to process rape kits, hire police officers, shelter domestic violence victims and construct affordable housing -- you know, stuff that helps people. A month after Johnson gets the news, he's spotted on Trade Street wearing an orange vest.
7. Bank of America and Wachovia agree to vacate Uptown so all four wards can be turned into athletic complexes. First Ward becomes football fields, Second Ward is devoted to basketball, Third Ward houses everything from tee ball to major league baseball, and Fourth Ward is devoted to ping pong, which city officials say will make Charlotte "world-class." The banks relocate to Ballantyne -- solving many of Charlotte's traffic problems since 80 percent of their employees now have two-minute commutes.
8. A Carolina Panthers player continues to draw pay after emerging as a prime suspect in the murder of his girlfriend. Team officials say he's innocent until proven guilty. Two TopCats, however, are summarily fired after alleged lesbian behavior is made public. Wait... all this has already happened.
9. The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro shuts its doors after indie-rock bands realize they may actually turn a profit playing a town that's rumored to be the biggest between DC and Atlanta. U2 concerts no longer receive the coverage befitting the Second Coming of Christ.
10. In a visit to Charlotte, President Bush announces he's pulling troops out of Iraq. Press Secretary Scott McClellan denies that the move is tied to Jenna Bush enlisting in the Army after a night of boozing in Georgetown. (The First Daughter reportedly thought she was signing up for a free-tequila pub crawl, not a tour in the Middle East.) The announcement draws raves from McCrory, who tells reporters he hopes the GOP now will focus on what's really important: free bud for all.