— Jay Leno
NBC-TV Talk Show Host (b. 1950)
New Year’s resolutions don’t enjoy a great track record of success in my life which is getting noticeably longer by the year.
Maybe I’m just making them too tough.
Tired of aching neck muscles from always looking up, a few years ago I resolved to be 6 feet 5 inches tall by year’s end. Didn’t happen. By Dec. 31, I was still 5-foot-8 and some believe getting shorter. I was even considering auditioning as an extra in Hollywood’s next remake of “The Incredible Shrinking Man.” They better hurry.
Another year I resolved to keep my van cleaner than usual but it hinged on certain conditions. No more rain in summer nor snow in winter. Cleaner roads. Cheaper car washes. And time. Not long into this resolution I came to grips. Weather happens. Dirt follows where asphalt leads. Inflation has taken the jingle out of those former quarter-box bays and replaced them with debit card slots. And “time” is either an expensive herb, a prison sentence or a financing plan — and none is free.
Once I resolved to see more movies. I obviously hadn’t done my homework. Ticket costs were exceeded in the next lobby line — popcorn. The big bags of salty treat served only to set in motion the domino theory. You can’t have popcorn without Diet Coke and that stuff was selling like liquid gold. Try taking your wife with you and that doubles everything ... including fee for Milk Duds. My financial analyst recommended buying shares in Regal Cinema as an offset and my bank suggested bailout options. I chose instead to watch more TV movies and monitor the grocery inserts for generic popcorn BOGOFs.
Not long ago I resolved to smile more. It hurt. It also made people suspicious. A forced smile on the face of one who doesn’t carry it naturally is a smile that cannot be trusted. People assumed I was up to no good. They leered at me suspiciously and avoided my path. I gave in and resumed my frown. It felt good.
Yet another year I elected to demonstrate pronounced affection more frequently for my beloved wife. Each morning before leaving for the office I told her, “I love you, Sweetheart.” With squinted eyes, she responded, “Why didn’t you tell me last night?” And every evening upon returning home I would shower her with praise like, “You look beautiful tonight, my love.” Taken aback and in a troubled tone she would respond, “What have you done?” I chalked it up as part of the natural “lowly male” and “worthless husband” syndromes and abandoned my commitment.
One other January I opted to spend the year following the posted roadside speed limits. My first problem arose upon discovering all the speeds were posted too slow. My next came with the realization that I was always leaving behind schedule for my next appointment. It’s almost impossible to travel five miles in three minutes. Throw in the mix all those red lights, road construction and citywide traffic congestion and you’ve just written a recipe for automatic late. Still, I tried hard ... as I explained to that last law enforcement officer.
I remember the year I was going to read more, especially in January. Wouldn’t you know it? All my favorite TV shows started airing first-run episodes again because the TV-doldrum holidays had ended. Too, those darned NFL playoffs started. And the Super Bowl. And then basketball season got into full swing. And their playoffs. Then spring arrived and good weather. Yard work. Sun bathing. Well, by summer vacation I packed in the plan and wrote it off as a great idea gone bad but not because of me; rather, because of everything and everyone around me. It was their fault. I tried to do good.
And then that year I was determined to cook healthier food at home. I was to learn 75 percent of the food we eat can be cooked with the heart, liver and lungs in mind if you can get past the taste. The other 25 percent are too expensive, smell bad or can’t be fried. Water remained a household staple until somebody mentioned how it is purified. So I went back to bologna and crackers ... with hot sauce on the good days.
New Year’s resolutions take commitment.
But I’m convinced they can be achieved.
You just have to pick the right ones.
And rely on others to do their part.
There’s no “I” in team.
And no “me” in misery.