NEW YORK — Billions of eyes across the globe watched in unison as the Waterford Crystal Times Square Ball dropped to mark the beginning of 2018, and for one beautiful moment all of humanity was united in its despairing acceptance of the unceasing and unidirectional progress of time, according to reports.

Over a million people from near and far packed into Times Square this New Year’s Eve to witness the traditional ball drop and ponder each and everyone’s sheeplike march toward their own inevitable demise. Asked why she had brought her family to brave the Arctic temperatures and crushing crowds, Rachel Steinberg of Saratoga Springs, NY replied, “I know it’s a zoo but we’ve always watched together on TV, and just one time I wanted us to come experience this visceral reminder of yet another completed circuit around the sun in a sequence of literally billions of iterations, together as a family.”

Tayshaun Hamilton of Clarksville, TN said he likes to reflect on how not a single person in the teeming sea of humanity can do anything to alter the direction of time’s arrow, and that all are painfully aware of that unavoidable fact once per year. “Look, we all have our differences and it’s easy to be cynical, but it’s inspiring to see all these people in agreement about Eddington’s asymmetry of time,” he said, before adding with a smile, “Maybe I’m being naive.”

Others in the crowd struck a hopeful tone about leaving the past irretrievably behind while being thrust helplessly forward in time and experiencing the present by definition only fleetingly. Louis Biglia of Red Bank, NJ commented, “Only now, covered in confetti, do I realize the past can never be changed. I’ve made so many mistakes… Karen… Oh God…” He trailed off before burying his face in his hands with a sob.

Similar sentiments were expressed the world over as the global community found itself, however briefly, united in a sense of renewal and an inability to perceive the fourth dimension in any tangible way other than age, memory, and regret.