"Make 2008 the year you get more meaningful stuff done every day!"
- SparkPeople web site
Ah, the pointless things we do: clean the house before the party begins, tell a child not to get dirty when he goes out to play, and make New Year's resolutions every Jan. 1.
But myths and habits die hard and, although our new calendars remind us to change the final digit on our checks and letterheads, it's unlikely we'll suddenly change our ways, too - which, ironically, is what New Year's resolutions are all about and, perhaps, why "making" and "breaking" rhyme.
The Internet wasn't much help, either, except to blame the whole idea on the Babylonians who, 4,000 years ago, celebrated the beginning of the year in March to coincide with spring planting. However, since the Babylonians (now Iraqis) believed what people said or did on the first day of the year determined their behavior all year long, their resolution-making was serious business.
It's not quite true that the Internet "resolution" sites were no help. They were a lot of help - to themselves. In the true spirit of capitalism, they offered the defeated, the depressed and well-intentioned resolution-breakers dozens of (profit-bearing) ways to solve the resolution dilemma:
- "Let us create a personalized plan to help you keep your 2008 New Year's Resolutions," offered one. (The first 10 days are free; $7.95 per month after that.)
- "If you've never succeeded in spending more time with your family in the past, then resolve this year to spend more time with your pet. Contact InterPet Explorer for details" (and cost).
- "Resolve to help medical science by participating in a clinical trial; affordable, rewarding to your fellow man" (and to us).
- PCWorld.com has a great offer: "Get in shape, boost your security, fix broken 'windows' and clean the 'digital basement' of your computer!" (If you still need to "resolve" something for yourself, like reducing eye fatigue or curing that painful crick in your neck, you can purchase their LCD flat-panel monitor or other pricey components.)
- One "New-Ager" recommends this generic resolution because you'll never know if it's broken or not: "To honor my authentic self and follow my purposeful life path," while a fellow deep thinker doubts those who keep their resolutions are any happier than those who fail, anyway.
- But, as my final source wrote, "If you must break your resolution, break it with pride! Remember, you'll be continuing a long tradition of broken resolutions dating back to the dawn of recorded history."
My idea hasn't made it to the Internet yet, but I'd much rather make resolutions for other people than for myself.
I've even thought of going into the resolution business, complete with a Web site of my own. I can hear my ear-splitting commercial now:
"Year-end sale on resolutions! Half-price... guilt-free... already broken!"
Just in case my idea catches on, I have the following, unauthorized samples ready to go:
- We, the owners of Macy's, Belk, Best Buy, K-Mart, Dillard's, Goody's, J.C. Penney, ABC Drugs, XYZ Builders Supply, or the 573 fast-food restaurants not already here resolve to not move to Columbia County, at least not squeezed in between Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Home Depot, Target, McDonald's or Lowe's.
- We the candidates for elective office, including non-stop campaigners for president of the United States, will speak no evil against our opponents, make no promise we don't intend to keep, and accept no campaign funds from the children or pets of our constituents, undocumented humans or the deceased.
- We, the proud citizens of Columbia County, will rake our wind-blown leaves, quiet our barking dogs, vote in every election, take down our Christmas decorations before Easter, shop (and pay sales tax) only in local stores, and perpetuate the rumor that this is the best place in all the CSRA to live.
Barbara Seaborn is a local freelance writer. E-mail comments to seabara at aol.com.
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