Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Year’s way

I’m not lazy. I’m one of those people who save all our energy throughout the year so we can make it through the mad rush at the end of the year. There really isn’t much of a demand for one’s time and social skills on, say, the third day of August (and wisely so. Have you ever tried to get people to move away from the air conditioner in the midst of the dog days?). Therefore, I choose to spend that time on a schedule the direct opposite of bears. I sleep through most of the summer, and come out to eat and greet as soon as the first snow falls.

With this in mind, a few years ago, I made one New Year’s resolution I knew I could keep without making everybody around me suffer for it: I resolved to never more make New Year’s resolutions.

This doesn’t mean I’ve given up trying to change my bad habits. To the contrary, I’m in favor of changing. I aim to become much worse as I grow older, so that I will aggravate everybody. If and when I have something to leave to my heirs, I want them to have to work very hard for their inheritance. Of course, that’s assuming two things -- that I’ll have an inheritance to leave, and that I’ll have heirs. I’m pretty much past the stage where I’ll be reproducing (you can all breathe a collective sigh of relief, now). And, since I spend most of my time writing and playing on the computer, and the rest of it either reading or drawing, I don’t see a vast fortune accumulating, unless I win the lottery (also unlikely, since I seldom buy a ticket and pay my gullibility tax).

But I won’t go out of my way to mend my ways, or to try to better myself. I’m not surrendering my passions. I like a good argument, I like good meals to excess, I like living in my home-built chaos, and I don’t thrill to losing inches from my waist. I don’t feel the need to slow down on my drinking (sort of hard to slow something which budgetary and allergy constraints forced to a standstill). I won’t start dressing better, unless the fashions suddenly come around to a more pragmatic trend, such as bib overalls, flannel shirts, and fuzzy hats with ear flaps. I’m not going to quit smoking -- my kitchen skills will stay the same.

On the other hand, there are a few ways I could improve my life. I would like to spend more time exchanging news and views with old friends, and, perhaps, making new ones. Of course, those who wish to aid me in this hope should know what they are getting themselves into (see the above paragraph). And, along that same vein, I would like to make my garden more cat-accessible than it already is. One can never have too many mouse-chasing, mole-hunting, bird-eating pals to keep the fruits safe for me to harvest. But I won’t resolve to do anything more than I’m already planning to do, there.

Resolutions too often are discarded by Fat Tuesday, and then we have to start all over again with Lent, or just accept the fact that we aren’t all meant to be conscientious. And, of course, some of us aren’t even religious, so Lent doesn’t help. Here we are, continuing in our bad habits, and not worrying except when the ten o’clock news programs tell us we shouldn’t eat this or we should do more of that and less of the other thing. But, after we hear the news, we go to sleep, and when we wake up the feeling of dread is usually gone.

Nevertheless, I would never wish to discourage another from making a resolution, and, if you choose to try it, I’ll do my best not to undermine your efforts. All you have to do is to swear off chocolate, and I’ll help by eating whatever you may have around your house. I’m always happy to help a friend in need.

I’ve heard it said that most people are like wine, and with each passing year they get better. I don’t think I fall into that category. No, I expect that people like me are more like cheese. We grow crustier and stinkier with age, and will always be an acquired taste. No resolutions will change that. And, we’re darned proud of it.

And, as long as I’m issuing warnings about hanging around people who might cause headaches and aggravation, let me mention a greater risk: please, on this Saturday night especially, don’t drive if you’ve been celebrating with drink. We all want to be around, and we want you to be here with us, next year, for more cheer.

So, let us raise our glasses to all kinds of people, all kinds of plans, and all levels of hope. Make this new year a fine one, and, most of all, a safe one.

No comments: