I don’t usually give thought to making New Year’s resolutions because designating merely one day a year to committing to being a better person strikes me as doing the wrong thing for the right reason. I could resolve to do the right thing, which would be to dedicate myself anew every day to being that better person (or maybe every other day), but frankly, I suspect I’d lose track either of the days or the resolutions, or both. I have a day for that: it’s called the Day of Atonement.
Caught up in the spirit of the season’s greeting cards—doves and olive branches, lambs and lions lying together, candelabras and children’s faces glowing—I thought I’d venture into “The World of Great Expectations,” the New Year’s resolution.
Feeling seasonally and strikingly beneficent this year, my first resolution, as I see it, should be to stop being so hard on the Republicans. I’ve stated that good intention before, but run into trouble adhering to it. How the hell can I… Oops, there I go! My second resolution ought to be not to be outraged when they go off half-cocked and… (breathe!) Well, after all, the Democrats have their foibles, don’t they? And while they’re not as loony as the Republicans… correction: not as oppositional… they have been known to be ornery. Not recently, not so unpatriotically, and in no way… Enough politics!
I resolve to give the gift of giving. I’m not playing with words, I mean exactly what I say and I mean to do it myself, and not just on holidays. I already put my gift where my gab is, and you can, too, via a marvelous non-profit organization, Charity Checks. You can “Teach The Joy Of Giving” to children (as I did, joyfully), and do countless additional, affordable deeds with your funds that money alone can’t buy. That’s my holiday gift to you, and I’m feeling so good about it!
I resolve to be even more outspoken about incivility at any level in any form in any part of my life or the world. Not that I’ve ever been shy about making my feelings known—can you tell?—merely affirming more of what I think and feel, maybe louder. As a corollary to that, urging people, as an early role-model inspired me, to say what they mean and mean what they say, certainly to me.
Since these are my resolutions, I’m adding a second corollary: taking people to task for using language indiscriminately, starting with words and phrases as random and far-flung and corrupted as Nazi, fascist, socialist, Holocaust, genius, awesome, no problem, and—neither last nor least—the viral, “it sucks.”
I didn’t wait for New Year’s to resolve not to let taxi drivers off the hook when they don’t have the manners to say thank you for a tip. An actress friend gets out of the taxi and leaves the door open, but she’s diminutive and adorable, so I doubt if any driver is going to come after her. But I resolved long ago not to get punched in the nose; in fact, to try to leave this world with as much of me intact as I came into it with. So, I’ve tried waiting… just waiting… until it dawned on the driver to say thank you. I’ve tried asking, “Don’t you thank somebody when they give you something extra?” I’ve tried explaining, reasonably, “You know no one owes you anything; a tip is a way of showing appreciation for your service; a thank you is your way of showing your appreciation.” Have you noticed the change in New York taxi drivers? I haven’t either.
For years, I’ve been mentally threatening to have self-adhesive labels made up to slap on the back of the driver’s seat as I slipped out of a taxi without receiving so much as a thanks. The label would read something to the effect of: This driver doesn’t know how to say thank you. Please don’t reward him by tipping him. I’d probably be cuffed and fined for vandalism.
I resolve to keep my resolve never to watch a reality show… or Fox News… or buy a Murdoch paper.
As a final resolution, I will abstain from calling any other Republican contender but Newt Gingrich a megalomaniac. A puffy-faced, puffed-up megalomaniac. That’s not political, just an observation.
I see I’m already on the brink of breaking my first resolution.