2011: A Course for Beginners

Hello, and welcome to Lesson One of “2011: A Course For Beginners.”  Please open your text books to the first chapter entitled “New Years Resolutions.”  Now, anyone who has ever taken this course before already knows that the new year does not even officially begin until your New Year’s Resolution has been publicly decreed and seared into your forehead with a cattle branding iron.

Okay, maybe not LITERALLY, but as you will discover, a seemingly simple resolution can often prove to be quite crippling once you’re in the thick of it.

Okay, pop quiz.  What do the following three things have in common?

1.  Get a tan

2.  Find a husband

3.  Lose 10 pounds

The answer is – they are all things that will most likely never occur to me in my lifetime, so why on earth would I choose any of them as a New Year’s Resolution?  That would be stupid.  If I wanted to set myself up for failure, I would move to Los Angeles and try to make it as a screenwriter.  Nobody is that dumb.

Who invented the whole concept of New Year’s Resolutions anyway?  Why will no one take credit for it?  Bombs go off every other day and there’s always some group standing on the sidelines going, “Yeah, we did that.  That was us.”  But I challenge anyone to give me the name of the group that invented the New Year’s Resolution.  They’ll never cop to it, because it’s THAT heinous.

You know what Webster’s definition of resolution is?

Resolution: The act or process of resolving: as

A:  blah, blah, blah

B:  blah, blah, blah

C:  the act of determining

That’s the number one definition.  But you know what the number two definition is?

2. the subsistence of a pathological state (as inflammation)

Don’t you think the second definition is more fitting?  Isn’t a resolution really more like a nasty, persistent inflammation on your character?  Because you’re not gonna follow through on it.  Okay, you might try it for a day, but then you’ll start thinking, in hindsight, maybe you should have just kept your big fat mouth shut, because now everyone is watching, expecting you to achieve that lofty goal that just isn’t ever gonna happen.  And you’re left having to walk around for the rest of the year with that failure burning inside you, hence the persistent inflammation.

Look, it’s a known fact that every January gym memberships balloon by 75%.  By February those same gyms are right back down to their original core members who are only there because they HAVE to be thin to make a living, like actors and super models and burglars who gain access through doggie doors.

So, don’t be stupid.  Aim low.  Try something simple like, “I resolve to breathe and maybe take my kids to a movie … maybe.”  No burning pressure there.  That’s what “maybe” was invented for.

Of course, this approach won’t work for everyone.  Some folks just can’t let go of the grand delusion and subsequent self-loathing that comes with failed resolutions.  You fall into the group I like to call “people like me.”  People like me tend to go for the lose/win resolution.  You know, the every dark cloud has a silver lining resolution.  Here’s an example.

“My New Year’s Resolution is to be eaten by a Great White Shark.”

Dark Cloud (lose): You didn’t get eaten by a Great White Shark, because there aren’t any in Flathead Lake.

Silver Lining (win): You didn’t get eaten by a Great White Shark, because there aren’t any in Flathead Lake.

See?  Piece of cake.  So, now that I’ve given you the tools to work with, get out there and try them out.  And may all your New Year’s Resolutions come true … or not.  Class dismissed.

Missing Missoula

CC The Trained Monkey

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BIO:  Carol Chrest is a bitter old spinster living in Los Angeles. When she’s not working ridiculous hours at her cruddy day job, she writes screenplays.  She drinks.  Back to CC’s Blog homepage.