End of New Year's Resolutions
by Mad Dog
I don't see why I should wake up on January 1st with any further
resolve than to brush my teeth, eat a decent breakfast, and call my mother to make her
proud by telling her that I brushed my teeth and ate a decent breakfast.
year about this time at least a dozen people feel the urge to ask me if
I've made any New Year's resolutions. And every year I feel compelled to
tell them that although Albert Einstein calculated the density of the
Milky Way in 1931 he never fully understood the Snickers bar. Heck, it's
easier than telling them the truth: that I've never made a New Year's
resolution in my life.
Call me un-American (there, aren't you glad you got that out of your
system?), but I don't see why I should wake up on January 1st with any
further resolve than to brush my teeth, eat a decent breakfast, and call
my mother to make her proud by telling her that I brushed my teeth and ate
a decent breakfast, two things she spent the best seventeen years of her
life trying to get me to do. Oh yeah, and to wish her a Happy New Year.
While it's true people may be asking about New Year's resolutions
innocently enough, I suspect they really do it so they can go home, write
it in their diary, and confront me the next year by saying, "Ah ha!
That's what you said last year, yet you're still collecting dryer lint in
the hopes of making the Guinness Book of World Records by sculpting
it into a tabletop replica of the Corn Palace." So? What's wrong with
having long-term goals in life?
the last two weeks I've seen annual reviews of 2002’s music, TV, art,
movies, top news stories, books, celebrity tattoos, and dryer lint
sculptures. I've scanned Top Ten lists of the highest paid actors,
funniest TV commercials, most lurid court cases, and the best Top Ten
Actually, making resolutions may be the least offensive of the New Year's
traditions, a loosely related group of annual rituals which includes
having Ed McMahon and Dick Clark send me seventeen letters offering the
chance to win $10 million, none of which manages to spell my last name
right; having the IRS locate my new address even though my best friends
didn't know where to send my Christmas cards; and having to read an
interminable array of Year in Review, In and Out, and Top Ten articles
which appear in every publication released between mid-December and the
end of January, apparently by government mandate.
so fascinating about rehashing the year we've just escaped is a mystery to
me, much like why every female in California above the age of fourteen has
had a nose job yet the Sphinx—one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient
World—still looks like an inbred Pekinese after a car wreck. In the last
two weeks I've seen annual reviews of 2002’s music, TV, art, movies, top
news stories, books, celebrity tattoos, and dryer lint sculptures. I've
scanned Top Ten lists of the highest paid actors, funniest TV commercials,
most lurid court cases, and the best Top Ten lists.
Since most of us lived through the previous year and hardly need, or want,
to be reminded of it, who are these year end wrap-ups aimed at? The
primary targets are those under the age of one who didn't have a chance to
experience it first hand, those living in abandoned fallout shelters in
our national forests, and anyone who doesn't own a radio, television, or
subscribe to any of the newspapers and magazines that are regurgitating
their own contents at the end of the year. It’s like writing a cookbook
the much needed boost we'd see in the economy when these people read the newspaper and
realize that the washing machines, cars, and Ronco Deluxe Microwave Fondue
that were on their last leg would have to make it through another full
If they really wanted to print something that would be of use they would
forget the past and instead publish their predictions for the coming year.
While this has traditionally been the domain of the tabloids ("Top
Psychics Predict: We will make up a story about a famous person, put it on
front page, and be sued but not care because we'll have already sold
millions of copies!") there's no reason every newspaper and magazine
can't get in on the fun. After all, in the old days they would have had to
have known a psychic. Or at least looked in the Yellow Pages between
"Psychiatrists" and "Psychologists." But now, thanks
to cable television in general and Prevue Guide in particular, any editor
can pick up the phone and get the lowdown directly from Miss Cleo’s
the results would be a great public service. After all, a survey for U.S.
News and World Report revealed that nearly six in ten Americans
believe the world will come to an end or be destroyed within a few years.
And they were the optimists. Imagine the much needed boost we'd see in the
economy when those people read the newspaper and realize that the washing
machines, cars, and Ronco Microwave Fondue Pots that were on their last
leg will have to make it through another full year. Why the stores would
But there would be an even bigger bonus to getting these predictions,
because as long as the editors had the psychics on the line they could
find out the answers to some of the 21st century's most baffling
mysteries. Like why Miss Cleo’s oracles don't call you by name when they
answer the phone, how come they can't tell Ed McMahon and Dick Clark the
correct spelling of your last name, and why people who make New Year's
resolutions they know they'll never keep think they're better off than
those of us who don't even bother.
Oh well, maybe next year.
©1995, 2002 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
The Top 10 Newspapers of the Year as a matter of fact.