Friday, January 18, 2008

“Resolutions, Revisited”



c. 2008 Rod Ice
All rights reserved
(1-08)




Making resolutions for the New Year is a familiar habit. Around the globe, these goals are set with great regularity. Yet most of us fall short in terms of execution. Human nature makes it easier to promise than deliver, even to ourselves.

For this writer, such thoughts were persistent while celebrating the arrival of January 1st. I balked while thinking about oaths for self-betterment. New pledges were impossible before addressing those from the bygone year.

But… how had I done in personal terms? The answer was elusive. I needed a scorecard for real comprehension. To chart my own progress, I decided to review the list from last year. It provided an interesting look at household ideas versus actual results:

“ONE: I resolve to help clean up my environment. Thrift stores and yard sales around Geauga are always cluttered with collectable books, kitchen appliances, vinyl records, furniture, car parts, paintings, old radios, 8-track tapes, magazines, and beer cans. In the New Year I will do my best to purchase more of these items to help beautify the greater community.”

This wasn’t a difficult plan to follow. I ‘cleaned up’ several old radios, a case of dusty beer bottles, two vintage telephones, another typewriter, and lots of collectable stuff. While this activity did little to help our living space, it offered aid to communities around the county. I felt gratified as a result. Score: ten points.

“TWO: I resolve to begin recycling. Household conservation will begin with a tire-garden row around the house. Then, foil pans can replace our expensive cookware. Old sheets may reappear as ‘retro’ clothing. Discarded phone books might make excellent facial tissue! Even old tablecloths can be sewed together for use as curtains. Our careful innovations will do much to stretch household finances.”

The tire garden failed to meet wife approval. My alternative household goods were also rejected, despite abundant potential savings. Additional pleas on behalf of traditional rural culture fell on deaf ears. This resolution simply didn’t make the final cut. Score: zero.


“THREE: I resolve to be more health conscious. Typically, medical professionals focus on issues of diet and fitness when considering their patients. Too often overlooked is the need for emotional wellness. In the approaching calendar year, I promise to help address this need.”

Emotional wellness was no problem. I kept grinning with every plate of Buffalo wings. Any more happiness would have caused our favorite pizza & chicken restaurant to need more employees! Ditto for smokies, White Castle Hamburgers, and ribs. Happy, happy, happy! Score: ten points.

“FOUR: I resolve to drink more water. My doctor insists that it is the nectar of life. Therefore, I promise to chug more water, along with hops, barley, yeast, and malt.”

Bottoms up! I made sure to source my hydration from a variety of places, like Milwaukee, St. Louis, Golden, and various Canadian sites. Another resolution kept. Score: ten points.

“FIVE: I resolve to lose weight. I promise to eliminate meal portions in the interest of self-betterment. I will give up fruits completely. Ditto for vegetables. (Except celery stalks with blue cheese dressing, as a side dish for hot wings.) If this sacrifice leaves me hungry, I will simply drink more water. (See resolution number four.)”

Okay, the strategy didn’t work. But bratwurst still tastes better on the grill than tofu. I had a net loss of two pounds for the year – a solid effort, worth building on for the future. Just not enough for my wife or our doctor. Score: zero.

“SIX: I resolve to clean out my closet. I promise to donate unused clothing items to locations of The Discovery Shop. The result will be extra space, and thrifty garments for those in need!”

I actually did this, without any help from my wife. Hoo-boy! Of course, it was easy because only garments purchased in the last six months actually fit. Score: ten points.

“SEVEN: I resolve to think globally, and act locally. For the New Year, I promise to act as a goodwill ambassador for America. I will find a ‘pen pal’ in France, and send them copies of our newspaper.”

I came close to observing this resolution… several Maple Leaf issues went to friends in California and New York during the year. While the gifts did not authentically enhance our international awareness, it kept the post office busy! Score: five points.

“EIGHT: I resolve to commit more random acts of kindness. I promise to clip coupons from the ‘Country Savings Magazine’ and give them to people I don’t know.”

My acts were so random that I can’t remember them now – except for giving away copies of Davie Allan’s ‘Fuzz for the Holidays 2’ CD. And, our new ‘Thoughts At Large’ book. But the yield of goodwill was impressive. Score: five points.

“NINE: I resolve to become more politically active. Each year, Election Day typically produces a sense of frustration for our voters. We grumble with dissatisfaction, but accept the status quo without any attempt to create a climate of change. With that in mind, I hereby declare my candidacy for Governor.”

Again, Liz said no. She would not agree to making public appearances, moving to Columbus, or dressing like Hillary Clinton in the 1980’s. My dream of winning an election was stalled for yet another year. Score: zero.

“TEN: I resolve to learn a foreign language. America’s version of the English tongue has been so influenced by urban culture and technology that it often sounds like gibberish. Sports metaphors add to the confusion. High-speed linguistic abbreviations rattle anyone over thirty. In the New Year, I pledge to get a handle on this timely reinvention of how we speak to each other.”

While building a website for this column, I began to learn the strangest new language of all - HTML. (Don’t ask what it stands for.) After pondering the ‘information superhighway’ I proved that even someone raised on air-cooled Volkswagens and 8-track tapes could succeed in cyberspace. Still, ‘knowing the code’ was elusive. So I tried to guess on my own. Did it mean ‘HOPE THEY MADE LOTS’ because a mistake could blow up your personal computer? Or was it based on a programmer’s cheer of ‘HERE’S TO MILLER LITE!’ at the end of a long workday? Maybe the anguished cry of ‘HEY, THAT’S MY LEXUS!’ over a runaway vehicle? Finally, an expert advised that it was a riddle best left unsolved. I reckoned it must be like they say about hot dogs or Spam - ‘If you saw what went into them you’d never eat one again.’ I decided to be content with my ignorance. Score: ten points.

After crunching the numbers, my total was sixty points out of a possible one hundred. For a sports franchise, that would have been better than average. I reckoned it was an achievement worth celebrating… for at least twelve months to come!

Website: www.thoughtsatlarge.com

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