Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I Resolve To Come Up With Some Easier-To-Keep Resolutions

Every year, I vow never to make another New Year’s resolution, mainly because I haven’t made one yet that I’ve actually been able to keep.

Yet every time January 1st rolls around, I find myself with pen and paper in hand, composing still another list that ends up being used as a placemat (so that all of the greasy junk food I’m pigging out on while watching TV and ignoring my 45th annual “lose weight” resolution, won’t leave stains on my coffee table).

I think the problem with my previous resolutions was that I set my sights too high and made them too difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. So this year when I wrote my annual list, I was determined to make my resolutions 100-precent achievable.

Every year since 1972, I have resolved to write a novel. And every year, I have written exactly one paragraph…except for 1999, when I outdid myself and actually wrote three. So the way I figure it, my novel will be finished when I am 102 years old.

This year, however, for the first time, writing a novel is not on my list of resolutions. Instead, I’ve changed it to something more realistic, like writing a story for a major magazine. Or even more realistic, getting published in a daily newspaper (even if I have to buy a classified ad).

And I’m not even going to bother with a “try not to be late” resolution in 2004 because I know it’s absolutely impossible for me to achieve, no matter how hard I try. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have some genetic defect that prevents me from arriving on time for anything.

It’s no fun being late all the time. When I go to a wedding, for example, I’m always stuck sitting in the very last pew in the church, so I can’t see or hear much of anything. One time, I sat through a First Communion service without even knowing the difference…although I did think the bride looked a bit young.

Also because of my chronic lateness, I always get the dried-up crumbs or cold, soggy remnants at buffets and potluck suppers. By the time I show up, the food’s grown such a crop of bacteria, the dishes practically can walk out to the sink and jump in by themselves.

And on more than one occasion, I have arrived so late for a movie, I’ve had to feel my way through the dark theater, only to accidentally plunk down on someone’s lap. And believe me, that fake butter they squirt all over popcorn can leave some pretty nasty stains on the seat of your pants.

Every year, I also vow to be a better housekeeper. The list usually includes everything from cleaning out closets to painting the bathroom ceiling. Well, my closets are still so stuffed with junk, I have to wear a helmet and practice the old “duck and cover!” drill whenever I open the doors, or risk being knocked unconscious from the fallout. And I did buy the paint for the bathroom ceiling…and have kept it sitting around for so long, it looks like a white rubber ball in the bottom of the can.

So this year, my housekeeping resolution is to run the feather duster over one piece of furniture per day. It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll give it my best shot.

I’ve also made a resolution to learn a new word every week. This week, the word is “vomit-tocious,” as in, “The rutabaga and cow-tongue stew was utterly vomit-tocious.”

Finally, there is my annual dieting resolution. If I actually lost every pound I’ve vowed to lose in my resolutions, I would be about 4,800 pounds lighter.

I recently read that if you cut out only 100 calories per day, you will lose 10 pounds by the end of the year. That still sounds a little too difficult for me, so I am going to try it on a more achievable level and eat 10 fewer calories per day and lose one pound by the end of the year. I figure that the food that’s stuck in my teeth after a meal equals about 10 calories, so the resolution shouldn’t be too hard to keep.

And at that rate, I will reach my ideal weight when I am 102…about the same time I finish my novel.