Tabsir Redux: Resolving the New Year
Wilfrid Scawn Blunt, left; Mark Twain, right
There is a curious annual custom inherited in many of our families, but one I am resolved not to take too seriously this year. I refer to the half-drunk notion of making resolutions for the new year (which I see no sound reason to capitalize, as my German blood is very far removed), as though the arbitrary turning of the calendar is a time to reflect on what went wrong over the last 365 days and pretend that things should go better in the next eighteen and a quarter score days. I have heard the rural urban tale that the pin-up 19th century cowgirl sharpshooter Annie Oakley started the custom of sending out Christmas Cards, but I am not sure which genius came up with penning new year’s resolutions, unless it was Johnny Walker in one of his more sober moments. Most people, and I surely fall into this anomalous category, do not remember the resolutions made a year ago. But then most godfearing redneck Americans could not repeat the 10 Commandments in order to save their souls, unless perhaps they were dead drunk. So my re-solution, since it is the defacto one I have been following for quite a few years, is to resolve to forget any resolution before I even make one. This saves me from having to make up a resolution, which is the same as making as silly a resolution as I can imagine.
I am not the first person to take aim at this impotent cultural pastime which has long since ceased to have any influence on what people really do. Mark Twain said it well over a century and a half ago:
New Year’s Day–Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.