Face it. At Christmas time, you beat yourself up pretty bad, didn’t you? “I told myself I was going to fix X problem last year and another year has gone by!”
Yes. Yes, it certainly has. They always do. Those years go by quick.
And so, with renewed vim and great vigor, we march gallantly into the New Year.
By Christmas 2015, I vow I will, in no particular order: lose weight, exercise more, take better care of myself, write my novel, become nicer to my fellow man, find my special someone, save more money, tell that jerk that’s been bothering me where to stick his/her insults, run a marathon, dress better, eat better, learn how to speak Italian, donate my time to a soup kitchen, sponsor one of those African kids they keep showing in commercials, take dancing lessons, visit another country, pick up the phone and call X relative, friend, neighbor, long lost podiatrist that I haven’t spoken to in ages and am now just afraid to because it will seem weird since so much time has gone by. I will bake a cake, go ice fishing, kayak down the river rabbits, fight a grizzly bear single handed and skin him alive using nothing but my wits, pelting him into submission with sticks and berries. I will go skydiving. I will go snorkeling. I will go parasailing. I will learn how to play the guitar, piano, ukulele, and the French horn. I will take yoga classes and start saying things like “Namaste.” I will one-up Ebenezer Scrooge and find one starving orphan child per day, and give said child enough money to buy a goose – living or dead, it doesn’t matter what kind of goose the child gets to me, the point is, the child will be able to eat the goose, or keep it as a pet to distract himself from his hunger, whichever he so may choose to do. I will develop mental telepathy and change the channel on my television with just a flick of the wrist, no remote control required. I’ll develop ESP and convince others to watch ESPN.
And while we’re on the subject of television, here are some bad habits I vow to rid my life of once in for all. I will turn my television off and never turn it on again until New Year’s 2016. I will not watch Mad Men, Justified, Walking Dead, Reruns of Breaking Bad, Homeland, Fargo, Game of Thrones, True Detective, nor will I watch the new crap they churn out, get me addicted to, then cancel. I will smash my Xbox with a hammer and vow to not play a video game ever this entire year. My body will be a temple and I will be its master. I will embrace a healthy diet. I will not eat one item of junk food and will never visit a fast food restaurant in the entire year of 2015. I will drink nothing but rarified mineral water from the artesian wells of Iceland, collected and bottled by actual, legitimate Icelanders and not just wannabes who move to Iceland for the swanky nightlife scene and then just try to blend in. I will eat nothing but hummus, lettuce, carrots, and if I’m feeling crazy, I’ll allow a full blown watercress sandwich with extra cress. I will not utter one swear word this entire year. Anyone who offends me will not be offered a return insult but rather, a caring and concerned ear to listen to all their problems, no matter how bullshit they may be.
Why am I doing all of this? Because it is the New Year! I was depressed at my various Christmas social gatherings, lamenting how I vowed to do all of these things by the end of last year, and yet there I was, at Christmas 2014, still watching Mad Men and the Walking Dead, swearing at everyone, playing video games, not walking any marathons whatsoever, a Big Mac in one hand and a bottle of Norwegian Ice Water in the other. I hadn’t bought a single orphan a livestock bird that they could either eat or keep as a pet. I hadn’t touched a single vat of hummus the entire year. Italian people were coming up to me at the Christmas party left and right and I was completely clueless as to what in the hell they were saying. My long lost podiatrist was still left with the feeling that I didn’t give a shit about him. I had yet to learn Mental Telepathy, my guitar, ukulele, and French horn were collecting dust in a corner, and that African kid was still unsponsored, despite all the coffee I drank like a selfish imbecile, any one of those cups of coffees could have been used to purchase vital medicines and care packages for said starving child. And you want to know the real coup de grace? That guy who’s a real jerk that I never told off? He and the grizzly bear were openly mocking me the entire Christmas party.
But there will be no more of that crap this year! For I, the Bookshelf Battler, a book scholar, renowned all over the world and some parts of Mars, depending on their satellite receptions, truly understand the power of a New Year! New Year’s Day is a momentous time, a time when the disappointments of the previous year are still fresh, and yet there is still hope for the new year, the hope that I can look at the calendar, and there will be 365 fresh days that I can start putting to good use, with the hope that by the 2015 Christmas party my colon will be a hummus lined picture of good health, that entire flocks of geese will be donated to orphans, and maybe even to African kids if they’ll accept them and allow me to keep my coffee money, that I will wow everyone at the next Christmas party by playing the ukulele while making all the Christmas ornaments dance with my mental telepathy skills. I will not attend the Christmas party alone, but rather, with the supermodel I will convince to go with me using my newfound powers of ESP. When people at the 2015 Christmas party ask me, “Can you believe what Don Draper did?” I will say, “Hey, no spoilers pal!” If I can’t find the bathroom, I’ll go up to the closest Italian person and ask, “D’ove il bagno?” What? Did I just run, “Where is the bathroom through Google Translate?” No, you dirty son of a…no, wait, hey, come here, what’s the matter? Tell me all your problems. I’m sure they are all legitimate and not made up at all.
Yes, at that Christmas party at the end of this year, I will wow the attendees with pictures of my skydiving, paralleling, snorkeling trip – where I did all three at the same time by jumping out of a plane, falling to just above the Earth, where I then lassoed a boat, allowed it to pull me for a while, then cut anchor, and swam three miles with the fish off the coast of Capastrano.
AND AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, I WILL DO IT ALL IN MY NEW BEAR SKIN COAT.
Yes, I know this will all happen, because 2014 is not only gone, but it was a tremendous disappointment. I will not make the same mistakes. I will not fall back into the same bad habits. This will be the year that I spend each and every day doing the right thing and making the exactly correct decisions because gosh darn it, I now have FINALLY learned the lesson that the next year will be over in the blink of an eye, so I’d best make the most of it, so that I am not depressed at the 2015 Christmas party.
What? It’s Jan. 2 already? Fuck it. Somebody get me a Big Mac. Well played, Bear. Well played.