New & Improved

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By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

It’s that time of year again, making New Year resolutions. I suppose I should be grateful to be around for this annual event. But to tell the truth, something I rarely do, resolutions are my second least favorite thing to do. My first least favorite thing is to hear from my wife about all the resolutions I need to make.  And oh boy, the list gets longer every year.


This year I’m going to plan a counter offensive and stand my ground. I like myself the way I am. Nobody else does, so my counter offensive will have to rely on surprise tactics.  After so many years trying to fulfill my wife’s resolutions for me, I basically know what she has in mind. She wants me to look like George Clooney, have the ‘more the merrier kids’ disposition of Brad Pitt, and generate the money of Mark Zuckerberg minus the hoodie and in its place, an unbreakable power of attorney blanket. She has her best interests at heart.


It comes as no surprise that I let her down by Jan. 2 of every year. I know that she’s given up hope of a better me when she exclaims,  “Oh great, it’s the Chinese year of the slug, again.”  To which I answer, “No, I think last year was the slug. This year is the rat.” “That will do,” she exclaims.  Of course, I feel bad for her and me, but equally depressed for the Chinese people who can’t seem to come up with more inspiring animals, such as the year of the hairy eagle.


Misery loves company. According to Wikipedia, 40 percent of Americans make New Year resolutions and 88 percent break them like me.  So far, only Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Mark Zuckerberg have kept their promises.  Everyone else ends up a slug or a rat, your pick.  Of the 88 percent that don’t keep their resolutions, 100 percent do not donate $3 to Wikipedia and continue to get free information to look smart. See it can always be worse. You could grovel for pay at Wikpedia, or worse yet, be the last trust fund baby of the now penniless Dewey Decimal system fortune, while in either case, resemble Nick Nolte’s mug shot, have the kids’ responsibilities of “Kate Plus 8,” and the despicable reputation of the largest Ponzi scheme hatcher, Bernie Madoff.


Whew, I feel blessed compared with the last paragraph of scoundrels. But I don’t believe it will sway the day for my long-suffering wife. She wants a new improved me and won’t rest until I measure up. What to do? What to do?  I’ve got it. I’ll tell her that I’ve decided to make only one resolution and that is to honor my late Jewish father and my late Methodist mother.  For Jan. 1, I resolve to make my new year resolutions commence on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year that comes early autumn of each year, at which time, I will make another New Year resolution to begin all resolutions on the Christian New Year that begins Jan. 1 of each year.  This continuous parental resolution cycle will be strictly adhered to in honor of my late parents. Henceforth, every year will be known as the Year of the Trickster, a new and improved me that my wife will surely understand and be glad to live with.  See, she liked my parents even more than me.


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago.  He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.”  His recently deceased border collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.


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