Setting a personal record for my New Year’s Resolution

OK, I’ve made my New Year’s resolution.

Oh, I know, New Year’s resolutions are supposed to start in the early hours of January when the year is still new. I can hear you smirking at me for taking this long to get around to it.

Yeah…well…maybe you should resolve to be less judgmental, OK? Making resolutions I can keep is hard for me. I’m doing the best I can.

For example, a few years ago I resolved to work the word “alas” into my everyday conversation. After all, it’s a perfectly good word, and everybody knows what you mean when you say it—you’re expressing mild regret over how things have worked out. And who can say they’ve gotten through a single day of their lives without at least one mild regret over how something worked out?

As in: “I was looking forward to that English muffin, but — alas — it’s a bit burned.”

“So I was going to toss it into the trash can but — alas — the trash is full.”

“I was going to empty the trash and replace the plastic bag in the can but — alas — I’m all out of bags.”

You get the drill.

So a couple years ago I resolved to bring “alas” back, at least in my own everyday vocabulary. That resolution lasted for a few days before, alas, I let it go. I haven’t used the word again until just a few words ago.

With that failure in mind, this time as New Year’s Eve approached I said to myself: “I should be a bit more circumspect about making impulsive resolutions I can’t accomplish.”

But wait…“Circumspect? Impulsive? Resolutions? Accomplish?” What’s with all the big words? Who was I trying to impress?

That’s it, I thought! My New Year’s resolution!

So on New Year’s Eve, I pulled out a note card I would tape to my desk where I could see it every day, and I wrote: “I resolve never to use a word longer than two syllab…”

Dammit.

OK, so that wouldn’t work. I tore up the card.

On New Year’s Day, still un-resolved and drowning my sorrows in snickerdoodles (a kind of multisyllabic cookie), it hit me: I had been packing on the pounds with all those holiday treats, so maybe I would get one of those watches that makes you walk 10,000 steps every day. I don’t know how it does it — electric shock, scolding, a hologram of you from behind when you bend over to tie your shoes, whatever — but it seemed like a good idea. My buddy Mike has one, and whenever we go golfing he always checks his numbers at the end of nine holes and tells me how easy it is to pile up 10,000 steps in a day. (Of course, if you’ve ever seen Mike chase his ball from one side of the fairway to the other and then back again, you’d see why his golf score needs a comma in there somewhere.)

Anyway, I thought I’d give it a try. Walking 10,000 steps a day seemed like the perfect resolution!

I asked the checkout lady at Walmart where I could get one of those watches, and she said, “Try the electronics department.”

But Walmart keeps their electronics way, way, way at the back of the store, which seemed like an awfully long way to go just to pick one up. And then all the way back to the checkout line to buy it. And none of those steps would even count toward my daily total until I paid for the watch and put it on.

Fortunately, the candy bars were just a few convenient steps away, right there at the checkout line. I grabbed a Snickers and a Mounds bar, trying to figure out how to convince my wife that upping my chocolate, peanut and coconut intake somehow fit into a New Year’s “balanced diet” resolution.

The nice checkout lady respectfully thanked me for my purchase, and I thought, “Hey, that’s it!” I made my New Year’s resolution on the spot: To be more respectful.

I started it on the drive home, showing absolute and total respect to traffic laws by sticking to the speed limit. But the guy behind me — no doubt honoring his resolution to stop showing up late — honked his horn and zoomed around me, showing me one of his fingers. So I floored it and raced after him to show him a finger of my own, treating him to some monosyllabic vocabulary that, alas, left the inside of my windshield flecked with bits of nutritious chocolate, peanut and coconut.

It was a new personal record for ditching my resolution just minutes after resolving it. I was back at square one.

But the calendar had other squares it wanted to visit, so New Year’s Day passed into New Year’s Week, and then into New Year’s Month, with still no resolution from me. I considered making a resolution to stop making resolutions, but the irony made me dizzy. Or maybe it was a snickerdoodle headrush. Hard to tell.

And then finally, this morning, it hit me:

It was too late, of course, to make a New Year’s resolution for 2018, because 2018 wasn’t…well…new anymore. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t make my New Year’s resolution for 2019! After all, why wait?

And with “Why wait?” as my mantra, I did it — a personal record for making my earliest New Year’s resolution. I wrote on my little note card: “I resolve in 2019 to stop procrastinating!”

And to start off that New Year right, I resolved to rush out and get a plastic bag for that trashcan as soon as I wake up on January 1, 2019.

Or by the end of that week, at the latest.

Author, musician and storyteller TR Kerth is a retired teacher who has lived in Sun City Huntley since 2003. Contact him at trkerth@yahoo.com. Can’t wait for your next visit to Planet Kerth? Then get TR’s book, “Revenge of the Sardines,” available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online book distributors.

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