It’s that time of year again, or should I say that time of new year, a time when we get all warm and fuzzy towards family members we could hardly remember still exist and casual acquaintances from whom we borrowed packing tape in February.
And this is before the first drink.
Then after that first glass of wine, when we turn on CNN to watch the last two of its 17 hours of continuous Oprah-show like countdown to the dropping of the crystal ball, the euphoria kicks into high gear as we send Gettysburg Address-sized heartfelt wishes to our gardener, home insurance representative, AC repairmen and most vile Trump supporting acquaintances.
Yes, this is New Years, a time when we used to spend the last 10 second countdown with complete strangers wearing white hats and blowing into kazoos in some downtown hotel ballroom, where two glasses of $26 champagne erased the remorse from just having spent $175 on a pear salad, rabbit carpaccio and a bowl of lobster bisque.
But if now you are either normal or a renewal believing, neurotic, pseudo-mature soul like myself, you spend the waning hours of the year closely surrounded by loved ones, and pile of long-neglected clothes you are now folding to take to Goodwill.
You are also starting to conceptualize your new year’s resolutions, a few of which you have absolutely no intention of keeping such as running a half-marathon, checking your phone apps less and cutting down on your intake of caffeinated beverages.
The plan also includes a handful you must keep in order to stave off immediate and perhaps permanent peril. These include but are not limited to: not buying any more houses, finding a full-time job, removing the four year old Pangea-sized mold stains from the kitchen ceiling and not engaging in red-light political discussions with pick-up truck drivers who don “Don’t Tailgate or I’ll fully exercise my second amendment rights” bumper stickers.
One of the beauties of the new year is that for at least the first 16 hours, including the ten you spend sleeping, you genuinely feel transformed, so chock full of resolve that you read Psalm 31 twice, put your MasterCard on autopay, and pick up your dog’s poop from the neighbors rock garden.
Speaking of which, I’m still getting used to the whole dog poop scooping and dispensing habit. It feels phony. As if I really feel bad that a biodegradable fertilizing Twix bar-sized turd has been donated to a small parcel of turf my neighbors never step foot on.
Nonetheless, along with Layla’s poop, here’s what I hope gets left behind in the sound, fury and absolute cosmic surreality of 2016 and what we can hopefully bring more into the limelight in 2017.
(10) Out – Tipping. Enough is enough. I now devote a good chunk of my daily thought process and my innately strong math skills to deciding when and how much to tip. Everyone’s wants and thinks he/she deserves a tip nowadays including the volunteer Santa Claus and grocery store clerks for simply doing what we are paying for in the first place. Just the other day, my dentist added a 15% service charge and my pool cleaner refused to add chlorine tablets until I filled his tip jar. I mean I am a chronic over-tipper, one who in the aggregate has tipped enough to pay for half of Somalia’s graduating high school class to attend FSU, but even my ridiculous conscience can’t take it any more.
In – A one-time tip fee added to my real estate taxes. Say $1200. And distribute it as the powers-that-be see fit.
(9) Out – Selfies. I get it. Really I do. Taking pictures is fun and sharing them about lets say, falling into a garbage strewn canal is even more fun, but not enough to justify all the commotion your need to take a selfie. Just look in the mirror and share the juicy details about your life in some other mode. Besides, I want to enjoy my leisurely walk without having to stop for you to finish your selfie. Chances are you want a passerby to take the picture anyway so the narcissism really does intrude on others.
In – Polaroids. It’s time to bring them back. The minute of anticipation is quite the hoot and the instant gratification factor is higher too.
(8) Out – The cost of a scoop of ice cream. I have been in denial about this for decades. Paying $5 for a scoop of ice cream is akin to paying $350 an hour for legal services. (Joke alert). But really I should be able to get at least 150 scoops of ice cream for the cost of that”highly” efficient lawyer. The cost of ice cream, Lincoln Road rent costs notwithstanding are unacceptable and given all of the major initiatives Obama passed in 2016 (another joke alert), the least he could do is pressure these sacred ice cream shops to exercise some price ceilings. I am going to boycott ice creams shops for at least three days to galvanize the cost cutting movement.
In – Waiting to get home to eat ice cream.
(7) Out – National Anthem protests. With apologies to Colin Kapernick who has become pseudo-enlightened, life here in the good ole US of A is pretty good; in fact someone who shall not be named at this time, plans to make it “great”. So if you really have a legitimate reason to feel disenfranchised, go ahead and take a kneel. If not, you are diverting too much attention to yourself. However…….
In – redoing the lyrics to the national anthem. Maybe I am running dry on poetic sensibility, but some of the lyrics as such are way too arcane for the 21st century. I think we can do better than “O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming”. Frankly this probably means absolutely nothing to a good chunk of the American population.
(Graphic courtesy of Donald J. Trump, former celebrity)
(6) Out – Texting. How blasphemous for me to say considering I expend a good chunk of the expertise which came with getting a masters degree in English on how to phrase and punctuate my texts. But all this texting, aside from its likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis, is such a bizarre way to communicate. Instead we should revert to..
In – Communicating as the phone was intended. By actually making phone calls. We speak on the phone so rarely that it’s actually becoming awkward even for the most savvy of communicators to “talk” on the phone.
(5) Out – New England Patriots. I know they will likely win the Super Bowl and I spent most of my childhood in New England, but enough is enough. The Pats are the NFL’s version of auto-renew. Enough winning, enough Brady, enough winning with just the practice squad, enough is enough.
In – And no I did not just return from a “ski” trip to Colorado, but yes, the Miami Dolphins. They apparently drank Trump’s new Kool-Aid the last few months.
(4) Out – Vladimir Putin. Listen one Napoleon was enough. As was one Cold War. We get it. You like power and miss the USSR. But isn’t winning your own election enough of a power play. If we really wanted a Russian to infiltrate our corridors of power, we would make Anna Kournikova the Interior Minister, or Head of Something powerful.
In – TBD. But definitely not the Filipino President nor anyone Putin has a bromance with.
(3) Out – Fox and CNN. You made oodles of profit off the election. But you both wield too much power and not enough objectivity. Trump would still be the host of Celebrity Apprentice if it wasn’t for you.
In – Books and Newspapers, except for ones that do continual election polling.
(2) Disclaimer – I am no Scrooge but I can play one in my blog.
Out – Christmas Jingles, especially in Miami.
If I die of premature brain cancer, it’s not going to be because of all that Mountain Dew I downed in my twenties. It’s because of two songs which I will only allude to; one is that Mariah Carey “All I want for Christmas” nonsense and the other is “Last Christmas I gave you my heart”. Maybe I will believe in Trump’s promise to make America great again as long as he permanently banishes both of those jingles, along with a few others from the airwaves.
I mean for God’s sakes, the average temperature in Miami this month has been 82 degrees. Christmas is inherently a beautiful holiday but here it’s merely an excuse to play naked mini golf or go jet skiing all day.
Give the Christmas jingles here four days of retail and radio time. Maximum. I am not trying to Scrooge this but I simply can’t connect with slight bells a sleighing when I am applying SPF 70 to most of my body.
In – Playing the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet during the holidays. Or music from The Nutcracker
(1) Out – worrying. Really. Even though pretty much everything that happened in 2016 was cause for worry, and I inherited a bit of the worrier gene, I say lets apply some reverse psychology and a little Bob Marley to all the chaos and just take it all in stride.
In: Becoming more yogi, or Yoda, or Yogi Berra or even Yogi Bear-like.
So there you have it. My collective resolutions which will naturally be more of a case of do as I say rather than do. But given the last resolution, I’m going to stay optimistic. I am going to click “no tip” at the bagel shop, not text anyone including the AC repairman for at least two hours today and maybe even start reading a new book.
Besides you know what they say about resolutions. Actually I don’t know what they say so I am going to make up my own quote:
“They are fun to make and even more fun to break.”