Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.
Don’t you hate this time of year? December 31 rolls around and you get all excited to have a fun, sober New Year’s Eve – free of alcohol or drugs – and then you find a little slip of paper with last year’s resolutions written on it. And you read it. And you decide that maybe a little alcohol and drugs wouldn’t be a bad way to forget all the things you didn’t accomplish.
Then you wake up the next morning, check the “Missed connections” ads on Craigslist, and find one about you titled, “New Year’s Eve, streaker in the grocery store (m4m – N 12th Ave.)” Those two little capsules of Advil never really cover everything the next morning, do they?
I just found my resolutions from last year. Apparently, I pledged to write a book, get a real job with health benefits, and save a newborn child from a burning car. If I accomplished any of those things, it was only in the period when I blacked out during last year’s New Year’s party. With the way my head was hurting, it was more likely that someone saved me from the backseat of a burning car.
I’m not making any resolutions for 2008. To hell with tradition. Resolutions only serve to make people depressed at the beginning of the following year. That’s a terrible way to start a year. “My only goal was to visit the dentist for a cleaning, and I couldn’t even do that? Somebody get me a drinking glass full of Absolut with no ice!”
I’m breaking the cycle of depression this year. Instead of listing things I should do, I’m compiling a list of horrible things I won’t do, and next year I’ll go over the list again and feel good about myself. Did I lose my arms in a combine on a farm? Nope. Did I punch anyone at church who is important enough to wear a robe? Nope. Did I get AIDS, or make fun of anyone who has AIDS? Nope. Did I respond to those creepy classified love ads in the back of this newspaper? Nope. Did I eat an E.Coli pizza? No, I’ve moved up to Jack’s brand pizzas. Awesome, let’s start the new year!
My list this year also includes not getting drafted into the War in Iraq, not moving into an RV near the airport, and not punching my friend who got both an Xbox 360 and a flatscreen TV for Christmas.
You see, it’s much easier to not do things than to do them. Doing things involves figuring out how to do them, getting up the effort to do them, and using talent to actually complete them. Not doing things can be accomplished by sitting in my boxers and playing video games.
Start your own list, reader. Don’t even look at your resolutions from last year. Throw them away and make some anti-resolutions. Do you hate books? You should make a resolution not to read any. Then you can feel awesome next year when you’ve accomplished that goal. Do you hate old people? Make an anti-resolution not to help them. Then you can feel satisfied when your mom has to lug in the groceries all by herself. Do you hate children? Make an anti-resolution to not have any. That abortion will have you feeling warm and fuzzy when you revisit your list next year.
We all deserve a break, don’t we reader? So don’t let the do-gooders and Jesus force you to better yourself. Stay the same and pretend it’s an accomplishment. As a wise man once said, it takes more guts to be satisfied with your flaws than to change them.