I have a huge–HUGE–pathological aversion to words like “resolution” and “resolve.” This may not seem like a big deal to many, but I’m an attorney, so it somewhat limits my field of practice. I have other shortcomings, too, but they are far too plentiful to list here. Suffice it to say that I defer from resolving to do anything specific in any given, coming year.
Now, if I put away my laptop and left things here, this would be a very short story, indeed, but that seemingly simple and non-malicious act would have far-reaching ramifications. If law school taught me anything, it’s that one must consider every single last consequence an action could possibly produce. (Well, that’s what I got out of it, and my GPA reflects this.)
For example, my boss would not be happy with a mere paragraph of an article. I would get fired, and I wouldn’t have any income so I wouldn’t be able to afford rent and to feed my cats. Months later (because let’s face it, I’m a hermit), a neighbor–or maybe not a neighbor because who knows to where I may have wandered off–would discover my tattered, lifeless body (face down), shredded to bits by those two back-stabbing felines, because we ran out of food and the ingrates were too lazy to go out and catch their own. The fate of my boys would likely remain a mystery, but my guess is that they would be initiated into a feral cat colony where they would live out their nine lives in the company of similarly ungrateful felines.
In the interest of conserving space, I have skipped a few steps in this scenario. When you think about it, we are all but a step away from a horrific disaster, but that has nothing to do with the subject of this story.
The evolution of resolutions
I now divert your attention to the tale of Sam, Christy and Nigel, each of whom New Year’s Resolutions have affected in a very big way. There is at least one lesson to be learned here. As an incentive, I leave it to you to figure that out.
Every year, Sam gains at least 20 pounds porking out at Thanksgiving and Christmas parties because he lacks self control and simply enjoys eating. (Shhh. If you listen really, really hard, you can almost hear him smacking his gelatinous lips. Wait! Is that a grunt I hear?) Sam has many, many friends, thus many, many visits, which results in eating many, many meals. But Sam has absolutely no personality, so I am baffled as to how he manages to get invited to so many places year after year.
Then, there’s Christy. Each year on January 1, this spry gal pours the pennies out of her 10-gallon penny jar, drives to her favorite tattoo parlor, and gets a fabulous new tat. She’s only 30, but Christy loves BIG tattoos, so she’s running low on real estate. Plus, her mom is really mad at her and has threatened to evict her from the basement for months now.
Nigel? Well, Nigel just can’t stop chirping.
One of these individuals feels guilty, but not for any obvious reason. One is pretty darn pleased with herself. And one is a cricket and should have nothing to do with this story, but he is here to prove a point.
Of the three, Sam is the most likely to make some sort of resolution. In his defense (or by way of explanation–take your pick) he no longer fits into his designer suits, which he bought before the Great Recession, and he can’t afford to buy a whole new wardrobe. He’s stuck, so to speak.
Christy will save up more pennies and after saving and contemplating and designing another tattoo, she will blissfully go out and get inked again.
Nigel will get eaten by a wolf spider.
The resolutions: January 1
Sam vows to eat less. He’s a Type A personality, so he doesn’t stop there. He makes another resolution: He vows to lose weight. As with food, he just can’t control himself because–poof!–now there’s a third resolution: He vows to lose 20 pounds. Wait. He isn’t Type A at all. The truth is that he feels obliged to make three resolutions because that’s the tradition in his family and Sam is a follower. He can’t bring himself to break tradition, and he is too oblivious to realize that he could resolve to break tradition and thus change the course of his life’s trajectory in a very big way. Alas.
Christy doesn’t think she needs to make any resolution at all. She’s pretty happy with how things stand: Free place to stay, cool ink. But everybody else is making resolutions, and so she succumbs to peer pressure. She resolves to save money to get another tat. Perfectly legitimate. But Christy is currently unemployed. So, she has to make another resolution: Get a job. Now, a third resolution is needed: She resolves to be nicer to her mom so that Christy doesn’t get evicted until at least after winter’s end. You see how these things can snowball out of control very quickly.
Nigel is but a dried-out husk, so he is incapable of making decisions, including resolutions. In legal terms, Nigel is incompetent. Nigel is also a decedent. Well, he’s not a person, so “decedent” isn’t entirely accurate, but you get the drift.
The wolf spider who has drained the life–and juices–out of that gallant little cricket realizes that something must be done, so he makes a resolution: To find another cricket. As with the above individuals, the wolf spider doesn’t stop there and finds it necessary to add a second Resolution: To drain the life and juices out of that cricket. Because, let’s face it, what’s the use of finding a cricket if you don’t drain the life and juices out of it?
What’s the point of making a resolution if it doesn’t have a consequence?