JANUARY

1. The New Year begins on a hopeful note as joyous freedom-loving Germans tear down the Berlin Wall.

2. Joyous freedom-loving Germans hastily rebuild the Berlin Wall after discovering that it contains a major sewer line.

4. In Panama, strongman Manuel Noriega is arrested on drug charges after a "sting" operation in which he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine in an apartment with 27,000 undercover U.S. troops.

FEBRUARY

6. Experts announce that cleaning up the savings-and-loan mess will require every man, woman and child in the United States to pay $100,000, plus a 15 percent gratuity.

19. Professional baseball's spring training is cancelled, posing a grave threat to the nation's spit supply.

22. Ronald Reagan, in videotaped testimony for the trial of his former national security adviser, John Poindexter, clears up some lingering questions about the Iran-Contra scandal by revealing that to the best of his recollection, Iran "is a country located near Europe or possibly France."

MARCH

11. True Item: Vice President Dan Quayle, visiting Chile, buys an anatomically correct Indian statuette that, when you pull its head back, becomes very masculine, if you get our drift.

16. Vice President Quayle is reported to be suffering from neck pains. His office denies rumors that Marilyn has been pulling his head back.

22. True quote from George Bush: "I do not like broccoli and I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it and I'm the president of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli."

30. The U.S. Postal Service, which loses $4 million a day, announces that it must raise the price of a first-class stamp to 30 cents so it can pay for all those TV commercials telling you how efficient it is.

31. President Bush compares broccoli to Hitler.

APRIL

1. The U.S. Census Bureau mails out 100 million census forms, 87 million of which are addressed to a single household in Albany, N.Y.

10. Donald Trump, fueling rumors that his financial empire is in trouble, stars in a "No Excuses" jeans commercial.

21. In New York City, junk-bond king Michael Milken pleads guilty to fraud and is ordered to pay a fine of $600 million, which he obtains by selling his watch.

23. The U.S. Census Bureau celebrates Thanksgiving.

MAY

3. The Soviet Politburo, in a major step toward developing a Western-style economy, accepts $135,000 from banker Charles Keating.

9. The "multiple personality" legal defense is ruled to be constitutional by the Supreme Court, in a 137-76 vote.

30. The Bush administration renews China's preferential trade status after the Chinese government, responding to criticism of its human-rights policies, agrees to shoot civilians with a smaller caliber of bullet.

JUNE

3. Experts announce that cleaning up the savings-and-loan mess will require all U.S. citizens to get scorpions tattooed on their butts.

19. True item: The Air Force acknowledges that it paid Pratt & Whitney $999 apiece for special pliers that install clips on airplanes. A Pratt spokesperson says: "They're multipurpose - not only do they put the clips on, but they take them off."

25. A shocked President Bush reveals that he has discovered a large federal budget deficit, and taxes might have to be increased after all. Everyone is just stunned.

27. NASA begins to suspect that there might be a little problem with the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope when it starts transmitting extreme close-up photographs of a sticker that says "REMOVE THIS STICKER BEFORE LAUNCHING TELESCOPE."

JULY

10. Neil Bush indignantly denies allegations that his being George Bush's son had anything to do with the fact that he was named to the board of directors of the Silverado Savings and Loan.

11. The Air Force pays Pratt & Whitney $2,784 apiece for a revolutionary light switch that not only turns the light on, but also turns it off.

22. NASA, hoping to salvage the Hubble Space Telescope project, announces plans to launch Rex, the $1.1 billion Seeing-Eye Satellite.

27. The PGA announces that it will no longer hold golf tournaments at country clubs that own slaves.

30. Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent, exercising his authority to protect the best interests of baseball, has George Steinbrenner fed to weasels.

31. This would have been a good day to sell your stocks.

AUGUST

1. Iraq invades Kuwait, setting off worldwide panic as thousands of oil-company executives pour into Ferrari dealerships.

3. Experts announce that cleaning up the savings-and-loan mess will require every man, woman and child in the United States to donate "at least one kidney."

8. A massive multinational buildup gets under way in the Persian Gulf, with the United States providing troops, ships, planes, weapons and huge quantities of supplies; Western Europe providing potato salad; and Japan chipping in with some real nice sun visors.

SEPTEMBER

7. Neil Bush indignantly denies allegations that his being George Bush's son had anything to do with the fact that he was named admiral of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

14. Concern is once again focused on the quality of American schools when the U.S. Education secretary releases a report that turns out to have been copied verbatim from the Interior secretary's report on offshore drilling.

29. True item: The best-selling nonfiction book in the United States is "Millie's Book," which was "dictated" by the president's dog. The proceeds are to support literacy. Really.

OCTOBER

2. President Bush compares Saddam Hussein to broccoli.

3. After 45 bitter years of separation, East and West Germany unite to form a single nation, chastened by the past, hopeful for the future.

4. Germany invades Poland.

7. Washington rejoices as top federal brains finally produce a federal budget package, although critics question some of the revenue assumptions, such as that government scientists will develop a method for turning ketchup into gold.

20. Mikhail Gorbachev wins the Nobel Prize for Best Bald Male Vocal.

23. McDonald's announces that it will start using biodegradable hamburgers.

30. Neil Bush indignantly denies allegations that his being George Bush's son had anything to do with the fact that he was named king of Spain.

NOVEMBER

6. In midterm elections, the voters, clearly fed up with the incompetence, corruption and rampant hypocrisy of the incumbents, re-elect them.

8. President Bush, reinforcing the American commitment to remain in the Persian Gulf until the job is done, orders an additional 250,000 high-level White House aides to come up with the real reason that we are there.

27. Britain forms an entirely new government in roughly the amount of time it takes the U.S. Congress to declare National Celery Month.

28. The ex-press secretary to Barbara Bush reveals that "Millie's Book" was actually dictated by a ghost dog named Booger.

DECEMBER

1. The U.S. Commerce Department, denying claims by some economists that the nation has entered a recession, quietly sells its furniture.

23. Neil Bush indignantly denies allegations that his being George Bush's son had anything to do with the fact that he is named "Neil Bush."

25. Manuel Noriega wins the Florida lottery.

27. The "Keating Five" rob a liquor store.

31. Experts announce that cleaning up the savings-and-loan mess will require the obliteration of all life on the planet. So there is a silver lining after all. And you have yourself a Happy New Year.