With yet another Christmas now behind us (wait, wasn’t it just Labor Day a couple of weeks ago?), it’s time for that dreaded, though much-anticipated end-of-the-year tradition of making resolutions. Buckle up. Here we go:
I resolve to not throw my plate of holiday leftovers through the flat screen TV when I see the 673rd commercial in one day for the clinically-proven, revolutionary, breakthrough Jenny Nutri Tummy Master Weight Loss System to “lose those unwanted holiday pounds the easy way and get the body you’ve always wanted.” The annual onslaught of diet marketing is rivaled only by the annual first-of-the-year deluge of get-out-of-debt pitches to supposedly eliminate the results of the previous months-long assault of buy this, buy now, free shipping, dramatic savings, get her/him/them what they’ve always wanted come-ons that got us all in ridiculous sinkhole of debt to begin with! Will the vicious circle be unbroken? I doubt it.
I resolve to never again – for as long as I continue to write this column, at least – use the reality of my kids being away at college, or of my so-called “empty nest” status as subject matter. A few weeks ago, while perusing and archiving my weekly columns going all the way back to March of this year, I was surprised at how often I mentioned the fact that our third and fourth kid was moving away, had just moved away, is now living away from home, blah-dee-blah-dee-blah, blah, blah. As my oldest brother (who follows this column online from his Northern California digs) told me after reading my column last month about how much we missed having one of our sons home for the Thanksgiving holiday: “You need to get a hobby, Jim!” Guilty as charged. Life moves on. So will I.
I resolve to not get emotionally involved in any more “reality” TV shows. I’ve surreptitiously lived more than my share of the lives of King crab fisherman in the Bering Sea, loggers in the rain-soaked forests of the Pacific Northwest, crack addicts in America’s suburbs, modern-day cowboys in Montana, annoyingly whiney and narcissistic single mothers of eight kids, police women in Dallas, parking-meter cops in Philadelphia, and … well, enough already. Then again, there is that one new show I’ve heard about featuring poker playing a cappella singers in a competition to survive on an island with only their iPhones and Ugg boots. That could be riveting.
I resolve to not get my boxers in a bunch when the inevitable news reports appear warning us that – in spite of the record breaking rains of December, largest ever snowpack in the Sierras, and one of the earliest, wettest rainy seasons on record well under way – Southern California is still under drought conditions and we all have to be ready for more severe water rationing and higher-than-ever rates. Whatever. I’ve lived through enough dire drought warnings to know that, rain or shine, we’re gonna get hosed.
I resolve to – finally, at long last, and I’m absolutely serious this time – write that book I’ve started and stopped and put away so many times already. Will it be my first novel (the first draft of which has been sitting untouched on a flash drive for well over a year) or one of several non-fiction books I’ve outlined and that are rattling around in my head? Maybe one of each? I cling to the hope that, only a few years ago, writing a regular column was something I had promised myself I’d take a shot at doing … sometime … one of these days. And now, three years, two newspapers and 150-plus columns later, here we are. In other words, stay tuned.
[Legal disclaimer: Much like promises made by politicians in an election year, all of the above is subject to change at the management’s discretion.]
For now, I’ll wish you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. And unless they tag me as the over-the-hill-grandparent contestant on some around-the-world race/reality TV show in 2011, I’ll see you ‘round town.