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You Can Run But You Can’t Hide… It’s New Year’s Resolution Time

Doesn’t it seem like it was just yesterday that we made last year’s ridiculously optimistic New Year’s resolutions? You know, the ones where we were going to get back down to our high school weight and run a marathon each week so we could wear those five-size-smaller clothes in the back of our closets.

So what are we going to do this year, not make resolutions because we’re frustrated or feel defeated? Or make more unrealistic resolutions that we’ll fail to keep once again? We could… or we could try something different.

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Originally posted on December 27, 2013

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“What?” you ask. Well, first we must understand that the problem is not that we don’t want to better ourselves. Rather, it’s that we have to come to grips with the reality that we’re basically lazy couch potatoes. So to help you better cope with that reality, here are six suggestions for this year. The main theme, as you will see, is taking small steps. The eating an elephant one bite at a time approach.

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Vow to lose 16 ounces. I know it’s only a pound, but it sounds much better expressed this way. Plus, you might actually be able to reach this goal, whereas 16 pounds is fanciful.

“Bertha, looks like you’ve lost weight!”

You smile, look embarrassed, and reply, “Yes, 16.” You don’t have to specify the unit of weight, nor that you’re wearing the Ronco Fat-O-Matic, which is basically an enormous rubber band that forces fat from your stomach and abdomen down into your toes – which is why you’re wearing Shaq-sized 15 shoes.

And once you’ve achieved your goal, you can celebrate by eating a few fried seafood platters and a German chocolate cake or two. THEN you can lose the same 16 ounces again. Who says that you can’t take credit for losing the same 16 ounces, the Fat Police?

Commit to doing a marathon this year. I know that 26 miles sounds like a lot, but you don’t actually have to run it; you can walk it. And who says you have to be in some big rush to do it all in one day? If you walk a mere 376 feet a day, slightly farther than the length of a football field, in a year you will have done your marathon.

Still too much? Start slower. Run 1 foot the first day, double that the second day, and so forth. By the end of the week you’ll be up to 64 feet! While you might be tempted to level off there, you’ll never finish this year’s marathon that way.

Vow to go to church this year. First of all, your friends will be impressed that you’re turning over a new leaf. And that at least implies that you’re going to get off drugs and stop committing adultery, even if that’s not in the cards. If you go only once, then technically you’ve satisfied your goal.

Of course, when you find yourself at St. Peter’s gate at a later date, he might not be quite as impressed with your cunning resolution. I’m pretty sure St. Peter doesn’t play semantics. So you might not want to fool around with this one; being a part of a church family is actually a great plan.

I know some of you think that giving up your Sunday is quite a sacrifice, especially during football season. But compared to being hung on a cross, it’s not quite so bad. Plus, I’m guessing after a few hundred years in the hereafter, the score of your favorite football team competing for a spot in the playoffs will not seem so important.

Vow to cut back on your drinking. Okay, here’s a tough one. You’ve convinced yourself that having a couple of bottles of wine or a few six-packs of beer every night after work is no big deal. But if that’s the case, you may experience a little difficulty in cutting back. So once again, go small. If you cut back just 1 milliliter a day on your wine consumption, you’ll have eliminated an entire bottle in just two years! OR you can go large.

Did you know that you can buy wine in 18 liter bottles? That’s equivalent to 24 regular bottles of wine. You may also not know that different bottle sizes are named, many after biblical kings or historical figures. For instance, the 18 liter size is named after Melchior, who you will, no doubt, immediately recall was one of the three wise men to present a gift to Jesus after his birth. (I’m guessing ol’ Melchior hadn’t drunk a bottle in his namesake size just prior to making his journey…but I digress).

So simply switch to Melchior-sized wine bottles. Then you can say, “Honey, I’ve cut back. I only averaged one bottle of wine per week this month,” omitting, of course, that they were Melchior-sized. The same goes for beer. You can drink one 22 ounce bottle of 8% craft beer and get the same buzz as three regular beers.

“Offisssser, I’m not druuuuunk. I only had (burp) threeeeee beers.” It’s best not to mention that they were 22 ounces. But if you have to give the size, here’s an example where you’ll want to use the opposite approach to setting weight goals, and give the size in fractions of a gallon.

Learn a foreign language. Technically, if you learn one word a week, you’re making progress and in only 450 years or so, you can master any new language. I suggest that you start with the curse words in order to achieve an immediate benefit. Swearing in another language allows you sound somewhat sophisticated as you vent, and to avoid being chastised by your grandmother (or your wife). French is a good choice, because it allows you to also sound snotty and condescending as you curse.

How many times have you been at a cocktail party and overheard this exchange?

“So Bob, what you been up to?”

“Glad you asked, Winston. I’m studying French.”

“Wow, Bob. I thought you were just a stupid redneck.”

See, Bob didn’t specify how long he had been studying French. Nor did he say how much he had actually learned, but he impressed Winston just the same.

“But what if Winston was more than just some pompous jerkwad and actually knew French?” you ask.

Well, then you’re screwed. There’s always a chance that the person you’re speaking with will actually know the language and start spouting off questions in it. In this case, you will look like a cretin. BUT you can still cuss at him in the same foreign language. OR you can pretend to know some weird dialect of that language and throw THEM off guard.

Of course, the other approach is to pick some arcane language. This not only reduces the odds of encountering someone that actually knows the language, but it also makes you appear more avant-garde.

“So Bob, what you been up to?”

“Glad you asked, Winston. I’m studying Ainu.”

“What in the—”

“Jehanum is what you were about to say? That’s Swahili for the h-e-double hockey sticks bad word.” (This is an example of the use of foreign curse words.) “Anyhow, I’ve always been fascinated by the aboriginal language mainly spoken in northern Japan. I thought you might be more familiar with Ainu.”

In this example, Bob has chosen to study Ainu, which is not only obscure but nearly extinct. So it provides the opportunity to look urbane while making Winston look like an uneducated dolt at the same time. A double win.

Be more tolerant of stupid people. I know this  is another tough one, especially during the holiday shopping season, when all of the really stupid people seem to come to life like movie zombies, lurching into WalMart, intent on taking up two parking spaces, blocking the entire aisle with their buggies, and cutting in line.

I recently encountered a woman there who had her hair dyed a strange maroonish shade of bright pink, wore a pair of tiny 1970’s-style gym shorts, was barefoot, and was wearing a skin toned stretch top, straining to contain the 87 pounds of excess fat threatening to ooze out. Up until that point, I thought those emails showing weird folks at WalMart were Photoshopped.

It helps to keep in mind that many of these people probably lack mirrors in their homes. Or maybe they have no idea how disgusting they look because they need glasses, but can’t afford them because they spent the money on crack cocaine, buckets of chicken, or super-sized burgers. So we all need to be tolerant.

Just because some folks are going to WalMart doesn’t mean they necessarily have time to take the curlers out of their hair, wash their clothes, or use deodorant. Nor does it mean that they have the time to wait in the regular line. So when they cut in front of you in the express lane – you know, the 10 items or less line – with their overflowing buggy of groceries, forcing you to wait behind them to buy your bundle of celery, be a little patient… okay? And maybe they’re not actually handicapped, but their next-door neighbor’s sister’s great aunt once removed, who died the year before last, was wheelchair bound, so cut them some slack over that special parking place, please.

I hope these suggestions help you with your own New Year’s Resolutions. As for me, see you around when I’m not in church, studying Ainu, or running a marathon to lose over 16 ounces, mostly by cutting back on my drinking.

Disclaimer: Frank Wilem is an author, speaker, and all around funny and entertaining guy. On this blog, his stories are based on his real life experiences, often with a satirical twist.

Invite Frank to speak to your next conference, corporate retreat or club meeting. Ask about having his speaker's fee waived when you purchase his latest novel for each of your attendees!

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