My new year’s resolutions

Allow me today to list by new year’s resolutions for 2010:

Get taller — Many people start off the new year with a full-on attempt to change their dimensions (lose weight, become 2-D, etc.). I’d like to try something a little different. I’m going to get taller. No medieval racks or awkward orthopedic surgery for me, though; I’m going to use those discreet and adjustable Uncle Sam stilts you sometimes see people wearing in Fourth of July parades. You wear them under your (increasingly) long pants, and nobody will notice if you progressively change the lengths slowly enough. I show up for work on Monday maybe an inch or two taller than my current 5-foot-11, then add another inch a few days later and, before you know it, I’m 8-foot-4 and nobody’s the wiser about how I did it.

Maintain and become more comfortable with my species choice — When I was a little boy, I remember considering the options when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I could be a fireman, I’d think, or I could be a cowboy, or I could be a tiger. When my parents and teachers told me that my potential to be whatever I wanted was unlimited, I took them literally. In my naivete, I thought you could choose wild animal as a career option as easily as you could choose anything else. It wasn’t till later I realized that such an occupational choice would offer very poor pay and limited benefits (virtually no dental insurance, for example) as well as negligible opportunities for advancement (promotion to lion). As I grew older, I learned to set my sites on more realistic aspirations, but I’ve always retained that glimmer of hope that I could, if just the right break came along, change species. In the year ahead, I am to reconcile my fate and become more satisfied with my humanity.

No heavyweight crown for me — Along similar lines, I aim this year to accept that I’ll never box my way to the world heavyweight championship. I’ve never been much of a brawler, even back in high school when it was pretty much an extracurricular club. The only encounter I remember was in ninth grade when Ronnie Salerno and I took turns punching each other in the bicep for about 20 minutes. Other than that, I’ve been pretty civilized in resolving my disputes with others. Now, at age 56, I’m much more comfortable calling a lawyer than I am calling on my haymaker in times of conflict. I also look at the modern landscape of what old-time sportswriters call the “sweet science” and am dismayed at the fragmentation among the governing bodies of boxing. Plus, I’m not sure what weight class I’d be in — pudgyweight or huskyweight. This is a dream I need to set aside for good.

Get hit by a car — I’ve complained in this space before about how I yearn to be hospitalized. All my previous visits were out-patient at best. To take a week off from work, lie in bed, be hooked up to various machines providing all kinds of comfort from pain medicine to automatic pee removal sounds like my kind of vacation. And the most dramatic way to end up in this setting would be to get struck by a car. This is an achievable dream that I’m already taking measures to see through to reality. I’m doing less running on the treadmill and more walking through the streets of my neighborhood, and occasionally I’ll even cross the road without looking first. Someday soon, I’ll be sprawled in the gutter of a highway, police and onlookers aghast at my serious but survivable injuries, a screaming ambulance en route, and a guilty, hand-wringing driver ready to hand me huge amounts of insurance cash. Then it’s off to the hospital for all the morphine and jello I can eat. Party!

Arbitrarily alter the numbers in my bloodwork, just for fun — After my annual physical a few years back, I got a call from my doctor’s office saying that I had “elevated levels of Billie Rubin” and needed to come back in for a recheck. I had no idea who Mr. or Ms. Rubin were, but I hightailed it back into the clinic fearing the worst. Turned out that “bilirubin” is an excretion product with no “normal” levels, but that can sometimes be an indicator of hepatitis, cirrhosis or Gilbert’s Syndrome (I’m guessing Gilbert is somehow related to the Rubins). It all turned out to be a false alarm. Still, I was intrigued that a reference rate out of the 0.2-1.9 μmol/L standard range was of interest to my doctor. So, in a bid for more attention and possible bulk rates on my 2010 healthcare costs, I’m aiming to get my numbers up around a hundred.

Scoot Everest — Climbing the tallest mountain in the world has been done to death. Now, to get any press for the event, you have to have a hook — do it without oxygen, be blind, be seven years old, have a hook for a hand, etc. It seems we’re rapidly running out of unique angles to getting a newsworthy climb, but I think I have one: scooting all the way to the top. Scooting, for those of you unfamiliar with this form of locomotion, is moving across a surface in a seated position, propelling your butt along with your arms and legs. Readers with dogs who have anal worms will know what I’m talking about. If I set out in late March for Nepal to get a jump on the climbing season, scoot my way to base camp by April 1, then scurry across the Cwm Icefall by the fifteenth, I’ll be able to summit by the beginning of May. I’ll literally be sitting on top of the world.

Suppress internal monologue — Like everyone, I have this secret voice inside my head that’s constantly commenting on people and events that transpire around me. (Everybody has that, right?) This internal commentator is quite the insensitive jerk. He thinks drivers who dare to make a right turn in front of him are “idiots,” coworkers who show up late for work are “slacker-douchebags,” and waitresses who neglect to bring cutlery in a timely manner are “morons” and/or “really hot.” The sarcastic tone of this secret voice is getting on my nerves, and starting to get in the way of my remaining social relationships. In the new decade, he will be suppressed and he will be defeated. And maybe he should be medicated, too.

Eliminate last vestiges of fun — As I begin life in this, my seventh decade, I think it’s finally time to stamp out the remaining shreds of fun from my life. Fun is for the young and for the young at heart. My priorities need to be responsibility, stewardship, sobriety, caution, and cholesterol, not on how to enjoy myself. I’ve already successfully erased most remnants joy from my daily grind. (You know you’re already close to this goal when a mid-morning chocolate coffee milkshake made with skim milk and nonfat ice cream is the highlight of your day.) In the year and decade ahead, I will aim to weed out these last bits of pleasure with a proper diet, financial prudence, hard work and mature behavior. By this time next year, I hope to report on an existence that has finally captured the essence of drudgery.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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4 Responses to “My new year’s resolutions”

  1. thedailycrazy Says:

    I was watching some Meerkats the other day and I definitely felt a connection. They were sociable, impish, fast and slightly crazy. I’m not sure if they are a promotion or demotion from human, but I would like to try a reincarnation as one. Not a famous one who appears in adverts, wildlife documentaries or zoos. Just a regular one. United against the common hawk/snake enemy.

    A Happy New Year to you too!

  2. tom1950 Says:

    I always wanted to be a Wombat. First off, I had no idea what a Wombat was, but it sounded so cool. When I looked up a picture of one I changed my mind – it was pretty ugly. Then, on a trip to visit my Grandparents on a farm in southern Colorado, I changed my animal to a simple skunk.

    Here was an animal that everyone feared. Just let me edge close to somebody and, immediately, the cry would go forth “Skunk. Skunk! SKUNK!” and the stampede would begin. I couldn’t imagine any fear of a yelled “Wombat!”.

    It was my mom that nipped this dream right at root level however when she found me rolling around on the ground in the chicken pen. Real skunks aren’t supposed to take baths.

    T.O.M.

  3. S Fox Says:

    A career as an animal… Well, I already work with some, but the wild variety might be less savage, an certainly more honest.
    Giving up fun sounds like a good idea: achievable, affordable and probably tax deductable.

  4. fakename2 Says:

    How odd. My resolutions are so very similar. Interesting that the responses so far have focused on the issue of comfort within your species. Because that resonated with me most as well.
    As a child, I wanted to be Cinderella. Then I grew up and realized how shallow and self-absorbed that was. It’s not all about you. It’s about connections. So then I fell in love for the first time, with Mighty Mouse.
    I was very disturbed when my mother told me I could not grow up and marry a mouse. In spite of what she said, I’m still pretty sure that somewhere out there, there is a mouse for me.

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