As a person driven to heights of ecstasy (or at least competence) throughout his life by numbers and data, I’d seem to be ideal candidate for forming absolute, concrete New Year’s resolutions — e.g., “I’m giving up fried borscht entirely”; “I’m going to climb every mountain over 5,000′ east of the Mississippi.”
On the other hand, it makes little sense for me to make hard, fast resolutions at all. I’m too capricious and impulsive to stick to anything out of the ordinary I might lazily conceive (i.e., if I were really going to watch one porn flick a week, I would have started before now), but not blase enough about this tendency to avoid getting annoyed when its implications are realized. That is, if I say I’m going to knock over one headstone in the local boneyard every damned Saturday night while knowing full well this is difficult in the winter months, and subsequentlly fail thanks to the vagaries of frozen soil and access problems, I’ll still brood over it. Once a goal is out there, no matter how improbable or ill-advised, it’s there.
Yet moderating myself by saying I’m going to “do more” of something or “cut back” on a particular behavior — while far more realistic — gives me way too much latitude. I need to have something to hang my hat on besides trite metaphors.
The bottom line is that 2006 can’t leave my rear-view mirror fast enough. I don’t care that I’m getting old and nasty-looking, I’m free of at least one bane by virtue of the calendar. Though characterizing any consecutive 365-day period as generally positive or negative is, for me, as instructive as answering the question of whether I like clothes or food, my year was shaped roughly like a letter U with a bunch of jagged spikes of various sizes pointing in several directions and conforming to the general scheme of the little boy’s hair in Calvin and Hobbes. The last such genuinely assed-up year for me was 1996, so perhaps I’m perfectly phase-shifted from solar flare activity, with kind of the same periodicity, sort of.
Still, I’ve made a few decisions for MMVII that seem manageable enough. These are:
1. Run every day of the year, with a 30-minute minimum. It may seem paradoxical at first that during my competitive days I would have been much less apt to make this kind of thing a goal, but now that I’m what German observers would call a hobbyjogger, I need special reasons to get out and about often enough to make my attitude distinct from that of, say, your archetypcal undermedicated postal worker.
2. No more blogging purely about idiots. What this means is no more railing on as if there’s a chance in hell that stupid people are either going to wise up or go away on account of what I write, what PZ Myers or Orac or Ed Brayton writes, or acts of God. The entertainment value inherent in explaining for the fortieth time that some atomic hemorrhoid at Stop the ACLU or a mentally challenged pundit with the initials KB or a self-styled “Christian” who wants entire states bulldozed into the ocean is using poor reasoning does not outweigh the futility of such an exercise. This would be true even if there were 75 hours in an earth day and I had nothing better to do (which, incidentally, often doesn’t seem far from the truth).
Now, people who make bad science claims — those are fair game. This will still keep me away from the Bambineks and Gribbits of the world because even a first-rate shitbrain needs to have a basis for ranting, and while anyone can make up geopolitical “ideas” or assign random positions to liberals, the U.N., or Everyqueer as he blunders along, the bloggers I’ve wasted time on typically don’t even know enough terminology or outright funk-bunk to cobble together even wildly implausible or incoherent posts about evolution, the environment (including their own heads) or ESCR, much glibly dishonest ones. Little kids may lie about scrawling their initials in crayon on the side of the house or claim it’s not a big deal, but they don’t argue for the eminent solvency of paraffin wax products in a vinyl-surface medium.
3. Submit 25 pages a week of The Lint Chronicles to my would-be editor, and don’t stop until a draft is complete. Only one person in the world knows what the hell this even means, but that person reads this thing, so we’re all set.
4. Submit a conservation- and recreation-oriented article about the Blue Ridge Parkway for publication to a major outdoors or ecological magazine. I would say “Have an article published..” but this is unfortunately under only slightly less control than my desire to split the skull of Ronald McDonald to the thrapple.
5. Spend more time in small, underappreciated mid-Atlantic states. This one I’ll let stand as a grey area for now in terms of just how much time. And come on, I know you were thinking it.
Time to get to work. Tomorrow comes early! And in case you’re wondering if this is the sort of bullshit post that won’t pass my own muster this year, it is. But I started it last year, so…