By Gina Cherelus
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City residents and visitors gathered at a paper shredder in Times Square on Friday to symbolically purge themselves of unpleasant memories of 2018 in the 12th annual Good Riddance Day.
The event drew a few dozen participants eager to wipe out documents for everything from high mortgage payments to electricity bills, as well as written statements representing sexual assault and "meanness."
Other messages said goodbye to dandruff, negative thinking, gun violence, racism, homophobia, electronic cigarettes, messy roommates, "nights when the baby wakes up four times" and the traffic-prone Holland Tunnel that connects New Jersey to New York City.
Randy Killian, 49, visiting from Phoenix, was prepared to shred a sign with the words "childhood abuse" and "cancer" written across it. Another participant, Gwen Argo, said she wanted to get rid of "bad auras."
"Well, there's been enough bad aura in my life so I want to just shred it all out and hopefully that 2019 bring better luck for me and good fortune," Argo said.
Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, which helped organise the event, said feeding items into the shredding truck was a New York version of catharsis.
"We're shredding things and pulverizing these things that we want to let go, either for ourselves personally or for the world, before we have the reboot and reset of a new year," Tompkins said.
(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bill Trott)