Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's resolutions? Sure. Why not?

If nothing else, this post has at least capitalized on your residual affection for Calvin & Hobbes.

This is the time of year when people traditionally make unrealistic promises to themselves that they cannot and do not intend to keep. We get a new calendar and temporarily feel we can press the "reset" button on our lives. Lose 20 pounds? Sure, champ. Learn a foreign language? Whatever you say, sport. Finally get out from under that crushing credit card debt? Stranger things have happened, pally. But let's be honest. The surest predictor of future performance is past performance. In 2013, you will all but certainly continue to be whatever it is you were in 2012. If that's a good thing, then relax and enjoy it. Keep up the good work! If that's a bad thing... well, there's always alcohol and television, right? Me, I'm setting a goal which is just vague enough to be attainable. My New Year's resolution is to suck less.

Where are Lazy and Resentful?
That's right. I will admit here and now to you readers that I (often) suck as a human being. I don't take pride in that. In fact, my goal for the new year is to reduce that suckage by some measurable percentage. How does 3% grab ya? One percent seems too skimpy, but five would be pushing it. Three is doable. So what are my suckiest traits? Uh, let's see. I'm judgmental, short-tempered, impatient, resentful, self-absorbed, lazy, cowardly, gluttonous, materialistic... wow, this list is a bummer. It also sounds like a list of rejected dwarfs from Snow White, doesn't it? Anyway, I think I'll stop the list of adjectives right there. You get the idea. You'll notice I didn't mention any physical attributes -- health, appearance, etc. Frankly, I can't deal with that stuff right now. We'll table that for the time being and get back to it in 2014. For now, let's just concentrate on the personality and behavior. Looking back on 2012, it was kind of a momentous year for me. After trying (unsuccessfully) to deal with the anxiety and depression which have ruled my life for decades, I finally got help for myself, and I'm being very good about it, too. You should be proud of me. I'm taking the meds every day and attending therapy once a week. And though it hasn't magically made my life "perfect," it's helped in measurable ways. I sleep easier now, for instance, and get sick less often. Like anyone else, I still experience fear, uncertainty, disappointment, and sadness, but I'm no longer plagued by the panic and depression which once took full possession of my body and mind. When I'm especially weak, I almost miss those feelings. As unpleasant as they were, they at least lent a little drama to what is otherwise a very monotonous, uneventful life.

There's a minute or so just about every morning when I regain consciousness and remember who I am, what I am, and how I live. Usually, that's not a good moment. My normal pattern of thought is something like: "Oh, jesus. Not this bullshit again. You mean I have to live this guy's life another day? Drive his car? Do his job? Eat what he eats? Be afraid of the things he fears? Oh, lord." I get impatient with myself, remember? It was on the list. Most mornings, when I look in the bathroom mirror, I want to be able to aim a remote control, press a button, and just change what's there instantly. ("I'm a 50-year-old Chinese lady now? Okay. Let's see what that's like.") I'm not at all pleased with it being 2013 either because this year will mark the twentieth anniversary of my graduation from high school. I feel like I haven't achieved much of anything in the ensuing two decades. I've squandered that time and have nothing to show for it. Does that mean I want a home of my own, a family, and a meaningful career? Hell, no! I wouldn't have the slightest idea what to do with any of that shit. I get tired of most things after about 20 minutes. If I had a wife, kids, a corner office, and a mortgage, I would most likely fake my own death and move to the Himalayas. What do I really want, then? If I were being truthful, I'd say that I want other people to fail, particularly my former classmates. (Apologies to my former classmates. I'm just being brutally honest.) I want to them to be broke, divorced, imprisoned, hopelessly addicted to smack, or some combination of those. That's a terrible thing to wish for other people, but that's how my brain operates. I just can't understand that phrase "I'm happy for you." How can you be happy for someone? Let them be happy for their own damned selves. Frankly, if I either know you or know of you, there's a good likelihood that I hate you... at least a little. It would be nice if my blanket hatred of humanity were replaced by a more selective, sensible hatred of humanity.

Okay, this article has been a lot more negative than I had originally intended. See? That's exactly the kind of thing I'm trying to fix in 2013. Maybe some uptempo music will help. Maestro, if you please...



Huh. How about that! Chubby Checker was doing the "invisible horsey dance" 50 years before "Gangnam Style." I think it's time we paid the man the respect he deserves. Okay, even if I don't achieve any of that other crap I mentioned in this article, I want to be able to do the pony by January 1, 2014. You can hold me to that.

5 comments:

  1. Hey, if happy thoughts for you equal glee at knowing your fellow grads are fat and in debt, so be it. You've earned that glee!

    I'm proud of you Joe. I can't imagine what you go through on a daily basis, but seeing your wit and humor shine through it simply astounds me. Please be proud of yourself.

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    1. Thank you, Emily. I think Facebook is feeding my anxiety and inferiority complex a little because people only post things like "I got a promotion!" or "Look at our new baby!" instead of "I got my third DUI!" or "Looks like the crab lice is back!" Actually, having this blog has helped because I'm a lapsed Catholic and this is the closest thing I have to the Sacrament of Confession now. The D2R blog is now where I go to confess my sins. I guess people like you, then, become the priest. Congratulations on your involuntary ordainment.

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  2. Would you believe I still haven't (knowingly) heard "Gangnam Style"? It's true. I must be some kind of pop-culture-selective mutant.

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    1. I'm impressed. It would actually be a lot of work to avoid "Gangnam Style," since it's become not so much a song as part of the atmosphere. To the extent that it's possible for a song to achieve omnipresence, it is omnipresent. It's almost difficult under those circumstances to judge it as music. It is to pop music what water is to beverages -- i.e. ubiquitous to the point that it transcends categories like "good" or "bad," "like" or "dislike." That said, should you decide to check it out(and I recommend it), you should pretend that you had accidentally discovered it on your own. That's the most satisfying way to experience anything in pop culture.

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    2. My grandmother will be so proud! Also, I was always annoyed that confession wasn't like it was in the movies. I had to sit in a room looking at the priest, no screen or nothing. False advertising

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