Be it Resolved…

…that other people’s New Year plans for my self-actualization are far better than my own. So here’s to being all you can be—for the sake of everyone else.

Illustration by Mark BrewerI’ve decided to forego making my own New Year’s resolutions. I’m tired of all this self-improvement getting me nowhere. Like the time I decided to lose weight. All I heard was, “Is that slender self of yours going to get off the couch any more frequently now?”

Getting off the couch wasn’t the point. The reason I wanted to lose weight was—well, actually, it is more comfortable on the couch without all those extra pounds.

Regardless, I’m going to try something different this year. I’m taking on all those resolutions everyone else would want me to adopt. That way I’ll accomplish what I set out to, then get full credit for it.

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Believe me, there’s no shortage of suggestions. They all start more or less the same way, with someone sighing in exasperation, then saying, “I wish you would just once…”

I’ll begin with what, based on sheer repetition, represents low-hanging fruit.

During commercials of “Everybody Loves Raymond” reruns, I will not power-flip to “M*A*S*H,” “The Simpsons,” “The Daily Show” and “Seinfeld.”

Building on the above, I will have at least one conversation per day that does not contain a “Seinfeld” reference.

When I’m around friends and significant others of my adult children, I will not resort to speaking in the baby talk of my children’s childhood.

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I will make sure the toilet seat is in the down position more frequently than “once in a blue moon.”

I will check at least two or three times that my robe is fully cinched throughout Christmas morning.

I’ll muffle my sneezes instead of letting loose a “bloodcurdling scream” as if I were being attacked by a wild animal.

I will no longer fall into an argument out loud with myself in front of the children, neighbors or guests.

I will stop using butter as if it were a vitamin.

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I’ll remember to blink occasionally during conversation.

I’ll wash the car more often than once per presidential administration.

Building on that, I’ll fill up the tank before the little orange gas pump light on the dash comes on.

Building on that, I will ask for directions. (Building on that, I will also occasionally blink during the providing of those directions.)

I’ll wash my jogging clothes more frequently than I change the batteries in the smoke detectors.

I will change the batteries in the smoke detector more frequently than I (used to) wash the car.

Circling back to the bathroom for a moment, I will put a new roll of paper on the roller instead of leaving it on the floor.

I will develop a more refined understanding of what “casual dress” means before going to restaurants. (See cinched bathrobe, above.)

I will utter the phrase, “I love you” on days other than February 14.

I will accept that blue and black don’t match. (See casual dress, above.)

I’ll load the dishwasher—then remember to turn it on. I’ll also remember to add dishwashing detergent.

When helping with household chores, I’ll incorporate vacuuming the steps into the concept of “vacuuming the rugs.”

Building on that, no one will any longer have to “verify” that I’ve actually dusted the furniture.

I promise not to refer to the Fox Soccer Channel as a “cultural” or “educational” station.

Reid Champagne hopes 2009 passes quickly.


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