UNITED STATES—I get steamed when radio DJs start chirping about resolutions, usually a couple days before people put on the funny hats and start getting drunk. “What are your resolutions for the coming new year?” they ask disingenuously. It gets my goat. I hate those glib radioheads who catch me unprepared, and make me feel dumb–which is something I am quite capable of doing by myself.
Now, though, after a few more turns around the sun, I take the DJs chirping as a call to ruminate and, long past January 1, to let the sub-conscience wrestle with and forge meaningful new resolutions. Suddenly, on Super Bowl Sunday all my 2017 resolutions quickly manifest. Not bad. Much faster than previous years. Well, here they are, MY NEW RESOLUTIONS:
#1 – GO TO BARS MORE OFTEN – I’ve had a devil of a time implementing this resolution. Every time I find a nice friendly bar in Hollywood, it seems someone has other designs: like razing the place and making way for a 10 story condominium. This resolution was born from a pang of regret over how New Year’s Eve turned out. I had perfect plan to stay at home and drink, since I was free that night from having to use a car. I was going to hole up and drink a bottle of champagne, the good stuff, Moet & Chandon, and get merry. I walked up Vine St. to Trader Joe’s to get a bottle. They were closed for the holiday.
New Year’s morning I awoke with remorse and realized that it would have been much better to spend New Year’s in a bar with a bunch of annoying strangers.
Resolution #2 – KNOW WHEN IT’S ENOUGH – by this I mean: know when the main task in any endeavor has been exhausted. Know when to say when. Recognize when the peak of returns has been reached and then -stop-before they start to diminish. Switch to something new, instead of pursuing the endless paths of perfection. Avoid thus the next step: which is to be ruled by an urge to tame anxieties. This maddening urge is illustrated by the Canadian-British humorist and economist, Stephen Leacock, in the story of Mr. Fix It, who wants to fix a hose and discovers the faucet has a leak. Then Mr. Fix It gets into the plumbing and ends up reducing the house to rubble, before a developer comes and builds a ten story luxury condo.
Resolution #3 (drumroll please) – Follow the Hanukkah principle. Look for places to apply it in the daily struggle, especially when fear of scarcity strikes. Times when the juice is about the cut off on the cellphone, there isn’t much gas left in the tank, cereal for the kiddies is about to run out. Something inside us cries, “The sky is falling.”
Look, if the sky didn’t fall, we would miss out on seeing the stars. Rabbi Grady here came up with the Hanukkah concept after trying to sell my Christmas book in the largely Latino area of Sun Valley. A lady answered the door and said, “We don’t celebrate Christmas here. We’re Jewish.” It made me think and rethink some stuff. Hanukkah is the festival of lights, and it celebrates where a temple had enough oil to burn for only two hours, according to the experts, and the flame lasted for an amazing eight days. This I see as a reflection of the abundance surrounding us and that we are often blind to.
Often people miss seeing a loaded fruit tree while on their way to the store to buy an orange. In pursuit of this third resolution for 2017, I promise to do a fast inventory of what I’ve already got before setting out for store. You’d be amazed by all the surprises that lurk in fridges, closets and garages.
Sometimes, of course, there occurs theft, death, catastrophe and consumption. Things get taken away in the blink of an eye, despite all the best efforts to rid life of that sting. But without experiencing this sudden loss, we are deprived of cunning and superior new paths that open up when loss comes knocking.
Grady Miller is a humorist. His latest collection, LATER BLOOMER, (available on Amazon) has been hailed as an antidepressant.