I was just finishing up my New Year's resolutions for 2012, and my thought was to keep them to myself this time, so as to avoid the usual hoorawing from y'all, starting in early February, for my inconstancy of purpose.
Once I had them printed up and posted, though — thumbtacked to my forehead like Luther's theses — the resolutions assumed a life of their own and it became a matter like abortion to consider untimely ripping them off and throwing them in the fire and then taking the Fifth if anybody were to bring the subject up.
Which I still might do if the fifth we're talking here is Crown Royal.
I know this: They're harder to keep than make. And one of the harder ones to keep is to make up a frank, sincere batch of them in the first place. You're always tempted to monkey around with them, to play the fool.
But earnestness is the key to making the exercise worthwhile. Be dour. Dig deep.
But enough dithering. Here are the 2012 rez:
I'm not going to invite people to my soirees who ordinarily won't give me the time of day.
I'm making it a point to not learn any more than I already know, which is next to nothing, about this Kardashian bunch.
I'll try to remember often, and with ingratitude, that I got where I am today by standing on the shoulders of dwarves.
I'll not talk on the phone to androids.
I'll not tweet.
If these zombies become legion and manage to kick down my door, I'll try reasoning with them, then appeasing them with treats like on Halloween, and if that doesn't work I'll sic them on my neighbors, who, being more corpulent, should be more succulent — or so I will argue.
I'm not sending another penny to that guy in Nigeria, no matter how dire his straits.
It's hard, even bitter, for me to accept that others can do certain things better than I can. But I'm herewith resolving to accept it. Admission No. 1: I'll never paint fruit as good as Cezanne.
I'll not dispose of all my goods and property in anticipation of another Rapture date. Not again.
If I cross paths with one of the Koch brothers, I'm going to ask him the question posed first in Matthew 16:26 and then again in Mark 8:36. The one about gaining the world and losing your soul in the process. I imagine the response will be to signal one of their goons to administer a quietus.
I'll not stencil Bible verses into my eyeblack.
Even with my longstanding commitment to ethnic diversity, I won't welcome any of these crazy hairy ants into my neighborhood. Unless I need a mess of them to keep my aardvark fed.
I'll not poke at a pit bull through a wire fence with a sharp stick.
I'll not expect deference from cats.
I'll not wear jeans with one of the knees torn out if I go on Judge Judy.
I'll try my best to not let my disappointment show when People magazine chooses its annual Sexiest Man Alive.
I'm planning a summer telethon to raise money to help in the fight to eliminate the dog-peter gnat.
I'll not gesticulate when it's uncalled for.
I'll do Branson — if someone hogties me, throws me in the trunk of a car, and dumps me there.
Using the same rationale as Edmund Wilson's "The Man Who Shot Snapping Turtles," I'll use my garden this year to grow a nice crop of weeds.
Unless I just have to, when I go somewhere, I'm not taking the phone.
I'll not vacation in Rumania. Or Pakistan. Or Cabot.
I'll not be joining Rep. Ross as a front-line defender in the War on Christmas.
If I come across any forgotten bags of unsown wild oats, I might feed them to the birds but I won't be sowing any of the bastards myself.
I've stood in enough lines. I won't be going gentle to take my place at the end of another one.
If I can think of a good reason not to, I won't.
Maybe I'll try one more time, but I just can't read Melville.
I'll hear you out on "enhanced interrogation techniques" after you've read "Waiting for the Barbarians" by J. M. Coetzee.
I'm not going to play games with these weasels and dumbasses and blowhards. I might be able to conversate with some of them if they were ever right about anything, but they're not. They wallow in wrongness like my old ducoc Van Dalsem used to do in his mudhole.
If she's still alive, I'm going to look up my Seventh Grade civics teacher and tell her at least one of her students got far enough along to learn that the river Thames has a different pronunciation from the one she tried to pin on it: it doesn't rhyme with the sixth word in the preceding paragraph. Not even close.