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Tue, Feb. 18

One Man's Rant: I don’t have time for frivolity

The end of 2019 has encouraged me to assess where I am as an American male and where I want to go in 2020. Introspection is supposed to be a good thing. I suppose that’s why New Year’s resolutions are valued by some members of the population. I’m not one of those members.

While some of my homies are making lists of accomplishments they want to realize in the New Year, I’m going to spend my time figuring out how to wring as much merriment as possible out of the next 365 days. Writing columns for this newspaper is always a good way to amuse myself. Even if it’s at the expense of my friends, neighbors and acquaintances. For example, neighbor Luiz will most likely appear in numerous 2020 columns, whether he likes it or not. I recently poked fun at Mayer Croft, Mike Best and Jim Hubble in a December column. That was gleeful even though the three cut off communication with me before Christmas. That’s probably why I have to churn through a new crop of friends and neighbors every year.

On the optimistic side, I could take some adult education classes in 2020. I could read a book that has more than 200 pages. I could even spend more time at the gym to improve my state of fitness. I could arrange to have a pen pal in Tajikistan, once I found out where it is. But on the realistic side, I don’t have time for these frivolities. Extending my childhood with superficially satisfying pursuits seems so much more self-appropriate.

Even though some folk believe in resolutions, some notables don’t. Mark Twain once said, “New Year’s Day – now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week, you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” I think I would have enjoyed a beer and a chat with Mark at the Log Cabin Bar right here in Chino Valley, although I hear he hasn’t been seen in there recently.

Someone who refused to sign his name, wrote, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” He’s right, except that many resolutions don’t last a year. One study reveals that most last only until around Jan. 12. Another concludes that only eight percent of people achieve their new year’s goals. I say, why waste all that paper, ink and mental attention to something that has such a short shelf life?

I used to bother with promising myself I’d improve me in the New Year. By the following January, I’d agree with the anonymous person who whined, “I can’t believe it’s been a year since I didn’t become a better person.”

My wife and I watched the movie Christmas Story again this year. We’ve probably seen this production 20 times. One of Ralphie’s buddies sticks his tongue onto a frozen flagpole with the expected results. I’m not making official resolutions this year, but I do resolve not to lick a frozen flagpole.

All in all, instead of making resolutions for the New Year, I’ll watch as many college bowl football games as I can. And then, of course there are some 65 NFL playoff games remaining that require my attention.

A fellow named Oscar also didn’t put much stock into resolutions. Oscar Wilde Adopted a reasonable assessment of the whole resolution thing, “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” It’s a shame I’ll probably never share a beer with Mark…or Oscar.

To comment on this column, email wilaugust46@gmail.com.

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