Saturday, January 03, 2015

Resolutions and Other Myths

What a year it was, this 2014.

Untold thousands of Americans recorded themselves having ice water dumped on their heads in a charity fund-raising gimmick. It was later learned that the CIA had used the same technique for “enhanced interrogations.”

General Motors recalled every car it has ever manufactured. New jingle: “See the service bay in your Chevrolet.”

Donald Sterling.

The Super Bowl was decided by halftime. Nonetheless, slack-jawed viewers made it the most watched television event in history.

CNN’s Don Lemon asked if a missing Malaysian jet liner might have been sucked into a black hole. Those watching wondered if they had suffered the same fate.

Not to be outdone, Fox News anchor Anna Kooiman suggested that an AsiaAir flight went missing due to foreign pilots being trained under the metric system.

Also missing in 2014: The Democratic Party, whereabouts unknown.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un prohibited his nation's citizens from having the same name as him. He also banned the names James Franco and Seth Rogen.

But enough of all this. We will leave the year-end wrap-ups to others because this column believes in looking forward, not back.

Instead, we will focus on New Year’s resolutions many of which have already been broken in the last four days.

For example, I resolved not to write any more columns on lightweight topics like New Year’s resolutions. So much for that.

According to a Marist poll, more than four in ten Americans expect to make a resolution, and weight loss tops the list of improvements for the New Year. 

That would include your correspondent whose girth is beginning to prevent his arms from reaching the keyboard.

But wait. The poll also revealed more Americans have let their resolutions slide. Of those who made a promise going into 2014, only 59% kept their word, down from 72% the previous year. 

Why? Who knows?  Perhaps we have chosen to imitate our political leaders who talk big and do little.

Weight loss is the top resolution this year cited by 13% of Americans who vow to make a change in 2015. Exercising more follows with 10%. 

We do this because we know in our heart of hearts that skinny people are happier, healthier, wittier, better looking, richer, more athletic and more interesting than the rest of us slobs. Just tune into any commercial to verify this fact.

Perhaps we should consider the Evo Diet.

As part of an experiment for BBC-TV, a group of volunteers set up a tent in a zoo - and ate like the apes for 12 days. A nutritionist devised a "three-day rotating menu of fruit, vegetables, nuts and honey."

The results were impressive: Cholesterol dropped an average of 23 percent. Blood pressure fell from a level of 140/83 to 122/76. An unintended side effect was weight loss: 9.7 pounds.

The bad news is that you have an insatiable desire to live in a tree.

Other weight loss plans include the Edenic diet, based on what Adam and Eve are believed to have consumed in Garden of Eden. It’s either vegetarian or vegan, and based predominantly on fruit.  Lay off the apples, however.

If all else fails, try Breatharian diet, a diet in which no food is consumed, based on the belief that food is not necessary for human subsistence. Or the KE Diet in which an individual uses a feeding tube and eats nothing.

Other resolutions Americans are making according to the Marist poll:

Nine percent want to be a better person while 8% mention improving their health. 
With 7% each, stopping smoking, spending less and saving more money, and eating healthier rounds out the top-tier in the complete list of 2015 New Year’s resolutions.

The top resolutions for 2014 were spending less and saving more, being a better person, and exercising more each with 12%. Weight loss came in fourth with 11% while health improvements, eating healthier, and ceasing smoking each received 8% of those who were likely to make a resolution for 2014.

From this we can extrapolate that in the past year, we have gotten fatter, wealthier but still lacking in good words and deeds.

The last and best words on resolutions comes from Mark Twain:

“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

“Yesterday, everyone smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath.  Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.

“We shall also reflect pleasantly how he did the same old thing last year about this time…

“New Year’s is a harmless annual institution of no particular use to anyone save a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.”

Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. He can be reached at Nulede@Aol.Com.

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