Being honest with 2018 resolutions
I suppose it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions, so here’s mine:
I will keep the resolution I made about 50 years ago to never make a New Year’s resolution. I have been quite successful at keeping this resolution, I am proud to say. Oh, I could have, over the years, resolved to be a nicer person, a better person, a kinder person, but I would have known going in that I was going to break it because I would have known going in that I was LYING.
I suppose some of you who will make resolutions are not lying. You mean it. You want to be good. You want to do whatever it is you’ve resolved to do but you’re not going to. And you know it.
Here, from statisticbrain.com, are the most common resolutions:
• Stay fit and healthy 37 percent.
• Lose weight 32 percent.
• Enjoy life to the fullest 28 percent.
• Spend less, save more 25 percent.
You knew the top two would be the top two and I’m only surprised that they didn’t score higher. We all pledge to stay fit and healthy, even the people who refuse to pledge to lose weight. And we all pledge to lose weight, even the folks who don’t pledge to stay fit and healthy. And what do they mean “stay” fit and healthy? What about GETTING fit and healthy. Or do we only have to STAY as fit and healthy as we already are, which could be a really bad thing.
The only really esoteric pledge is number three. Define enjoy life to the fullest? Can you do that and still lose weight? Can you do that and “spend less, save more”? Not me, Jack. You? Come on, be honest.
Maybe you can stay fit and healthy and enjoy life to the fullest unless you like beer. There’s a great scene in the movie “Prefontaine” of the runner Steve Prefontaine, in his freshman year of college, preparing for his morning training run by, the night before, drinking a lotta lotta beer and then, about a tenth of a mile into his run, throwing up and then continuing his run, so maybe you can stay fit and healthy and drink a lotta lotta beer, or maybe only if you’re 19 or maybe only if you’re 19 and Steve Prefontaine.
Notice, though, that in those top four resolutions, not one of them mentions being nicer or kinder or even attempting to be wiser. Now THAT’S all far too much work and certainly wouldn’t allow us to enjoy life to the fullest. Part of that is NOT being nicer or kinder and how can you enjoy life if you’re trying to be wiser which entails at least reading a book and a newspaper now and then? Forget it.
Kinder and nicer would preclude us indulging in scheidenfreude, the only really cool German word (no, bratwurst doesn’t count) and it means “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.”
Lenny Bruce explained it the best, I think. Lenny said that when he was in school, getting a 90 on a test was great but it was only REALLY, REALLY great – or greater – if he got a 90 and you got a 20.
Of course, you have to be careful. If you get a 90 and your sort-of friend got a 20, you have to pretend to commiserate with him/her.
“Gee, Jim/Mary, I think the teacher has it in for you. You’re too smart to get a 20. Especially when I GOT A 90!”
Jim/Mary will NEVER see through that.
“Gosh, Mike/Millie must really feel bad for me.”
Right. The only time to feel bad is if Jim/Mary got a 90 and YOU only got an 88. That’s when you plot to bring down Jim/Mary, maybe by telling your teacher that Jim/Mary has been saying mean things behind his/her back. Well, that was then. Now, you’d tweet it, you birdie, you.
Anyway, yeah, I’m resolved to continue to keep my resolution not to make resolutions that I know I’m going to break anyway even though I know it would be good to resolve not to engage in scheidenfreude but I am absolutely going to break that because there is nothing in this world better than knowing:
I GOT A 90 AND YOU GOT A 20.
Vice versa? I’ll just lie.