If asked, I'd have to admit to being a bit ambivalent about the world not ending last month. Go out in an unexplained Mayan apocalypse; stick around for the new dawning? Meh.
I didn't suspect the world would end but if you got anywhere near mainstream or social media the first three weeks of December, you'd have had to be of firmer stuff than me to at least not give it a passing thought. But having lived through a number of End of the World prognostications — generally being sold by crackpot Christian evangelists of questionable intelligence — and having awakened in the post-Y2K dawn to find my coffeemaker had successfully brewed the stuff of life, I couldn't bring myself to believe the Mayans would do to us what the Spanish almost did to them, lo those many years ago.
On the other hand, if the world had fizzled like a loosely packed roman candle, I wouldn't have to face the annual, unpleasant task of writing about New Year's resolutions. It is an unwritten, but harshly policed rule, that all columnists have to do at least one column annually about New Year's resolutions. I failed to adhere to it one year and received what could only be read as a very threatening reminder from the International Brotherhood of Palavering Pundits, the IBPP. Since it was an unwritten rule, not to mention because I'd never heard of them, the directorate of the IBPP cut me some slack but suggested I bear in mind the hands-in-the-locker scene from The Hustler and never let it happen again. Noted.
This requirement has, understandably, created the closest thing to writer's block I've ever experienced, being as a general nature irrelevantly wordy. That's because I don't make New Year's resolutions, henceforth called simply resolutions.
I used to make them. Sheepishly, annually, mindlessly, I resolved to do things that ran completely contrary to my nature. Contrition, gluttony, hope for a new beginning and, yes, peer pressure drove me to resolve to be something I wasn't and never would be.
Like so many of the other lemmings, I more than once waddled into my local Y or — ugh — trendy sports boutique in early January to sign up for a new, improved me. As contrite as I am to admit it, I even joined an aerobics class at the height of that miserable, revolting trend.
The only saving grace I could find in the whole wretched experience was planting myself at the back of the three classes I attended, before allowing myself to be waylaid by the siren song of a pimped fern bar I would otherwise have never entered, and ogling the display of misshapen but smoothly latexed backsides of the 98 per cent of the class comprised of contrite, sheepish women. Wearing earplugs to block out as much of the ersatz disco soundtrack as possible didn't hurt either.
I didn't fare much better in my resolve to be kinder to and less judgmental of other people, notably my co-workers. It didn't help at all that I worked at a bank and was both surrounded by and far too frequently overruled by colleagues I considered dumber than sponges. There was a motto in the Credit Refusal department: Nobody moves; nobody gets hurt. The corollary was: No career was ever hurt by saying "No!" Since the answer I generally wanted out of them was "yes," we rarely saw eye-to-eye and my efforts to be kinder and less judgmental of them never outlasted the final crumbs of Christmas shortbread.
I had more success with resolutions involving diet. Not going on a diet, just diet in general. I was able, for example, to swear off chocolate for the month of January several times. Of course, I considered this more of a parlour trick than any real triumph of will or significant change of character. Having frequently known no form of gratification other than delayed, not to mention carrying nearly toxic levels of blood-chocolate into the opening days of the new year, giving up the brown, sweet stuff for a month probably had more to do with self-preservation than self-improvement.
And my efforts to save more money only got me sued by the carrier of my delinquent student loans.
So with no realistic hope of ever making good on any resolution involving the top four categories of most frequently resolved things — diet, exercise, money and being kinder to others — I simply resolved, some decades ago, to stop making resolutions. Ironically, it's the only resolution I've managed to keep. Go figure.
However, according to Section 3, Paragraph a.2 of the IBPP manual, I have to both write about and make (minimum three) New Year's resolutions. This would create a moral dilemma for me except for the fact the manual is mute on exactly for whom I must make resolutions. I therefore interpret its ambiguity in my favour and shall make resolutions for the rest of you to follow. Break them at your own peril... and don't come crying to me when you can't live up to them, you ninnies.
1. I resolve, on your behalf of course, to stop being diet scolded. I'm tired of hearing about your issues — pro or con — with gluten, starches, carbohydrates, glutamates, superfoods, antioxidants, paleo whatever, fibre, refined sugar, saturated fats, unsaturated fats, palm oil, coconut oil, raw food, the five, 10, or 20 foods never to eat unless you want to die a bloated cow. Just shut the f*#k up already. Eat what you want to, let me do the same, and keep your evangelizing where it belongs... wherever that is.
2. I resolve (op.cit.) to spend a bit more money but burn less fuel by buying more stuff locally. Really, do I have to prove to you that it just makes more sense to shop at your neighbour's store than it does to drive down to Squamish or Vancouver to save a few bucks and support the likes of Walmart or Home Depot? If you can find it locally, buy it locally. Nothing pisses me off more than seeing someone I know who owns a local retail outlet buying his/her t-shirts downvalley at Walmart and then moaning about how soft retail is in Whistler. Well, duh.
3. Finally, I resolve — and I think even I can join your commitment on this one — to ski more and do all the other, annoying winter things we do, less. I'm not sure how long this magical spell Whistler is under will last but I know for a fact I'd rather be skiing right now than writing about New Year's resolutions. And if you have half a brain, you should rather be doing the same than reading about them.
See you up there in the New Year.
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