I get the first Writers’ Corner column of the New Year. I feel obligated to write about 2012 and its promise. I feel obligated to write about resolutions. In fact, I resolve to write a column about resolutions. I’m going to try my hardest not blow the first item on this year’s list before people even get back to work from the holiday.
I’m also thinking/rationalizing that this assignment is better suited for my able colleague Betty, one of the other Writers’ Corner scholars. Resolutions seem more in her area of expertise, but I’ll forge on.
My second resolution, after resolving to write about resolutions is to use better words this coming year. I like words and how specific words can influence and strengthen a sentence or message. Years ago I had a university professor who advised me to use the word “obviously” less. He said that my use of that word in conversation–as in “Obviously we should take great care in regulating the use of fracking to mine natural gas”–exposed another flaw in my character. That flaw: always thinking I am right.
If I keep scouring my mind for issues on which I could base resolutions, this could become an awfully long column.
Due to my professor’s suggestion, I resolved to drop the use of “obviously” but needed a word to fill the void. I chose “alas”. I’ve done pretty well over the last forty years since receiving that advice mainly because I became a teacher and I found there was precious little that was obvious to nine-year-old children. But, it was my expanded use of “alas” that has helped me the most. I owe “alas” a great debt of gratitude. It is humbling to start a sentence with “alas” right after offering a gem of wisdom, but it helped curtail my always being right flaw.
My next venture into resolutions was not thought out completely. As both New Year’s resolutions and the Christian custom of giving up a treasure for the season of Lent are impositions, I decided to double dip and get a jump on Lent by resolving on January 1st to give up watermelon until Easter. I lived in a rather intemperate climate and finding a watermelon anywhere anytime before picnic season in June was miniscule. I thought myself to be rather clever. Alas, I was punished for my glib consideration of such weighty matters when a friend sent me a fruit-of-the-month gift for the holidays and, wouldn’t you know it, on or about February first a small but wonderfully ripe watermelon from some exotic, far off, tropical land landed on my doorstep. What to do? What to do? I felt as if I were being tested beyond the limits of my strength. No more slippery resolutions for me!
Here’s another pearl–don’t laugh at people who make resolutions. Don’t forget, they are being deprived of something they formerly did that used to give them a measure of comfort. Doing so often makes them testy. I once got a golf ball shoved into my mouth from a one-time friend who had resolved to quit using curse words on the course. He had hit three brand new balls into the water and didn’t take it as constructive criticism when I suggested that he use an old ball on the next attempt. By lodging the ball in my pie-hole he kept his resolution in fact if not in spirit.
So, this year I resolve to write a column about resolutions (check), continue to ban the word “obviously” from my vocabulary, resolve to be more humble aided by a liberal application of “alas” in my speaking and writing, and I resolve not to make slick resolutions.
Finally, I resolve not to laugh at anyone else’s stab at trying to be a better person by making New Year’s resolutions. So, fill me in, respond to this column. Writing is good for the soul and getting your resolutions out in the open will enhance the probability that you can be successful in seeing them through the year. I promise I won’t even chuckle. I learned the hard way that dental work is expensive.
Happy New Year to all our readers!