January 1, 2012

Sticking to New Year's resolutions


---- — An unseemly high percentage of Americans will awaken this morning with brain-splitting hangovers.

That traditional and short-lived agony, however, is far from the worst thing that Jan. 1 brings around each and every year. That honor goes to the bane of my personal existence: the New Year's resolution.

It used to be that I would make one grand resolution, which would promptly be broken no later than noon on Jan. 2. I resolve to be kind to every one of Earth's creatures, great and small; I resolve to chew each bite of food 32 times before swallowing.

In recent years, however, I switched approaches. Instead of one resolution, I made many, figuring that at least one of them would hold over the course of 365 days, giving me that long-awaited triumph of willpower.

To date, I have yet to sneak a single resolution through to the next year. The closest I came was in 2006, when I made it to Sept. 17 before going out in public with my pants on backwards.

At this point, I can't just stop. It's a scab that I just can't stop picking at. Here are my resolutions for 2012. I'm absolutely positive I'll keep at least one this time:

▶ I resolve to stop picking at that scab. It's going to get infected otherwise.

▶ I resolve to start smoking, at least two packs a day. I know that it's a terrible and unhealthy habit which will set a horrendous example for my children, subject my family to second-hand smoke and likely set my house on fire when I fall asleep on the couch. Smoking, however, is something I should have no trouble convincing myself to stop, giving me an instant head start on 2013's resolutions.

▶ I resolve not to disparage the music of my children's generation, no matter how terrible it is compared to the genius of Andy Gibb and Bananarama.

▶ I resolve to eat fewer beets. I'm pretty sure there are trace amounts of beets in Cheese Whiz, so if I can just eat less Cheese Whiz ...

▶ I resolve to stop badgering the mayor, the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the zoning board, my state representative, my wife and my cardiac surgeon on a daily basis to find out who is responsible for Five Guys Burgers and Fries pulling out of its plan to put a franchise in Plattsburgh, within walking distance of my home. Mmmmm, greasy, juicy, artery-clogging American goodness.

▶ I resolve to stop complaining about politicians and actually do something about them. I'm announcing my candidacy for the House of Representatives. I'll be running on the Bull Moose Party ticket. Our platform is socialized medicine, free high-speed Internet for everyone, and jail time for anyone who drives with a small dog on his or her lap.

▶ I resolve to vigorously exercise every day, to strengthen my heart and body. I also resolve to refine my definition of "vigorous" so that it no longer includes lumbering to the refrigerator; paging quickly through the TV Guide; opening the door so the dog can go outside.

▶ I resolve to fix that broken thing around the house.

▶ I resolve to not yell at my children. Not even when the !#@%!! leave their shoes in the middle of the stairs, making me trip, fall and nearly break my &!#$! neck. Instead, I will hand out official written reprimands.

▶ I resolve to be more like Justin Bieber.

▶ I resolve to watch more foreign films. Normally, I don't like to read subtitles — if I want to read, I'll grab a fashion magazine or the National Enquirer. Still, I have to acknowledge that the United States and England do not have a monopoly on talented filmmakers. Maybe I can get a theater to have an usher read the subtitles to me.

▶ I resolve to learn a musical instrument. Haven't played one since giving up the trumpet in eighth grade. I'm thinking the cowbells or the lute.

▶ I resolve to refrain from the use of sarcasm, except in life or death situations.

▶ I resolve not to feel threatened as a man when I answer the phone and the person on the other end of the line thinks that I'm the lady of the house.

▶ I resolve to stop sharing my private resolutions with the rest of the world.

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