Another year, another empty promise.
Almost everybody makes New Year's resolutions. Almost everybody breaks them, and jokes about it.
Now, hang on a minute: If they're "resolutions," that means we've "resolved" to do something. "To resolve" is to express determination. If we know we're just going to break them, we aren't very determined, are we?
Maybe that's why I've never made New Year's resolutions. I just can't seem to muster up the determination to follow through. Every year my wife nags me to lose weight (actually, she nags me to help her lose weight, which she apparently can accomplish only if I starve), as if there is something magical to a calendar change that will make it happen.
News flash: It is just as easy (or difficult) to start losing weight on March 1, or June 1, or Sept. 1 - or, for that matter, March 12 or June 9 or Oct. 21 - as it is on Jan. 1. Yet we peg resolutions to that date because it's a new year, giving us a clean slate to draw on.
With that in mind, maybe I oughta try something new in 2007. Just for a change of pace, I'll make some resolutions to start 2007, and in a year's time I'll try to remember to come back with a score to show how well - or how poorly - I did in accomplishing the goals.
So here goes:
• I resolve to play more music. I don't mean on the radio or on CDs, either; I mean on actual musical instruments.
I have dozens of them, and people who come to our house always ask my wife if I play. I'm a little embarrassed that her answer is "He won't let me hear him." So, for 2007, I'm going to spend more time playing so I can actually claim once again that I know how.
• I resolve to be nicer. No, really.
There's a lady in Evans who has called me or e-mailed me a couple of times in the past month or so to say really nasty things to me. She hates my guts because of a single issue about which we emphatically disagree.
I'm still going to make such people angry. But I resolve to try hard not to goad them into it.
• I resolve to pay less attention to noisy people.
The nature of the news business is that we often respond more to squeaking wheels. In fact, my folks know if a customer is demanding something, I believe we ought to accommodate them to make sure that a demanding person is no longer a problem.
But far too often the people making the most noise are negative, even destructive. By failing to take such people's inherent noisiness into account, I was convinced both Regina Buccafusco and the bond referendum would lose. Instead, it turned out the noisy people also were wrong.
• Finally, though it pains me to say so, I resolve to lose weight.
A few years ago, I jumped on one of those fad diets. In just a few months I dropped nearly 30 pounds. Better yet, I kept it off. (Creepy story: A former local political candidate actually offered to buy the clothes that no longer fit me. That's like asking to borrow tools from a Yugo mechanic: the quality stinks, and you know they've been used a lot.)
Alas, though I kept the weight off for about two years, the pounds eventually began sneaking back on, usually hiding just underneath the chocolate in a Snickers bar. (I think it's called "nougat.") Come to think of it, the new year has to be the worst time to start a diet - it's just days after Christmas, when all unsold Christmas candy is on sale for half price. It's torture, I tell you.
Still, it's a resolution, so I'm determined I will weigh less on Jan. 1, 2008 than I did on Jan. 1, 2007.
In the meantime, gimme another Snickers. There's plenty of year left to work it off; I'll start, say, Sept. 14.
May your new year be a happy one.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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