“Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” – Oscar Wilde
If you are driving along a wilderness highway and approach a bridge with a sign that says, “80% of the cars trying to cross this bridge will fall off,” would you drive across the bridge?
Most people will probably say “no.” Ironically, nearly all of those people who say “no” make New Year’s resolutions even though (according to this study) 80% of these resolutions will fail.
Experts (whoever the hell they are) say that we make resolutions because we feel guilty for being naughty during the holidays when we ate too much, drank too much, slept around too much, and stole too many of our kids’ presents out from under the tree.
Mama’s view of resolutions was this: “If you’re so all-fired gung-ho about reforming, you would have done it already.” Since Mama didn’t care much about what the neighbors thought, she didn’t care much about the peer pressure that induces people to announce on January 1 that they’re turning over a new leaf.
She tended to think resolutions were an all talk, no action way of life. While it’s easy in the middle of a hangover from hell to blurt out, “With God as my witness, I’me never going to drink again,” it’s sheer vanity to stand up in front of a bunch of your best friends and say, “In 2018, I will be kind to my fine feathered friends because they might be somebody’s mother.” Everybody applauds, and thinks, “wow, what a saint.”
If you’re lucky, none of those people will be around when you take your 12-gauge shotgun out to the duck blind and shoot a lot of Mallards out of the sky for dinner.
Like Mama, I think resolutions are just showing off. Many are probably made because people are staring at you expecting you to reform or because you’re drunk and don’t know any better or because Mr. Jones caught you sleeping with Mrs. Jones whereupon you thought it best to say, “Oops, wrong bedroom, but rest assured I’ll never do this again.”
Some resolutions may have a dash of merit, as in Jame’s Agate’s “New Year’s Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.” I like Marlene Dietrich’s “I resolve always to be myself, and not to let them influence me!”
Basically, most of us are who we are and, in spite of a few complaints, we’re comfortable with that. No wonder we fail on January 1st when we tell a bunch of drunks at a party, “I’m going to stop being who I am.”
I grew up thinking that most of what I did wasn’t any of Mama’s business. If I made a New Year’s resolution, I didn’t tell anybody about it, least of all her. If it failed, well, no problem, it only had a 20% chance of succeeding anyway. If it succeeded, people thought I was simply walking the straight and narrow more often than before.
It wouldn’t be a vanity thing, you understand.
Otherwise, I tend to be fairly comfortable with my faults as well as my strengths. Being superstitious, I worry that if I got rid of a fault, I’d crash and burn somehow because it was sustaining me more than I knew.
So, I have no resolutions for 2018 because I don’t want to get rid of anything that seems wrong but that’s actually working. Maybe some of the so-called positive things about me are ruining my life. Needless to say, it’s best not to tamper with the way things are.
If pressured by drunks at a party, I always have a few resolutions handy. I resolve to stop running with scissors. I resolve to wear clean underwear when I leave the house. I’m going to stop brushing my teeth with Sani-Flush. I resolve not to sleep with Mrs. Jones if Mr. Jones is in town.
That’s throw away stuff, but it’s handy at New Year’s Eve parties.