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Friday, March 4, 2016



     New Year's Day has come and gone. It was a chance to reflect on the latest year of your life, think back, and ask yourself, "Why on Earth did I drink shots of Goldschläger last night?" By the way, Goldschläger contains actual flakes of gold, so if your New Year's resolution is to drink less Goldschläger your chances of getting mugged on the street for your liver will theoretically decrease.

     In fact, many people make "drinking less alcohol" their New Year's resolution, and for very good reason: because they drank so much in the past year that they didn't remember that "drinking less alcohol" was their resolution LAST New Year's. The tragic irony of it all is that when people give up drinking they tend to fill the empty spaces with activities that one should only attempt while drunk, such as ballroom dancing, taking self-help courses or learning to use a "Bedazzler."

     The tradition of making promises at the beginning of the year may have started with the Babylonians around 4,000 years ago. Historians have found evidence that they made oaths with the gods in order to put themselves in good stead. They promised to right wrongs, improve their character and to stop lending money to the Phoenicians. Also to stop talking so much- the place didn't get the name "Babylon" for nothing.

     The Babylonians would have done well to make a pact to give up smoking. Back then, tobacco was not at all common, so if you were smoking you were probably very close to bursting into flames. People attempting to quit smoking try everything- nicotine patches, hypnosis, 12-step programs. According to the American Cancer Society, as soon as two weeks after stopping smoking your circulation will improve, so I am hoping that this paper quit smoking on New Year's Day.

     There are all kinds of resolutions out there available for use. Criminals may resolve to give up giving up. Television manufacturers may make a resolution to provide more resolution. But the promise many people make to themselves and to others is to get into shape. I belong to a very nice tennis club in Mt. Kisco, and every year around this time I notice an influx of new people in the gym trying to get into shape. The shape they start in is roughly triangular.

     I know who they are because they come in wearing brand new work-out clothes, full make-up, carrying a clipboard, and worst of all, smiling. Anyone caught smiling at a gym casts the cold glare of suspicion upon themselves, and should be hit over the head with a clipboard. But they are in it for the long haul, approximately two weeks, during which time their shape will have progressed from an isosceles triangle to an obtuse triangle. The resolution to work out just didn't work out.
     This New Year's I promised myself to watch fewer television shows about dead people. Pretty much every program I watch directly involves someone who was alive at one time but isn't anymore, possibly as a result of someone else's New Year's resolution.

     Already that resolution is broken. It turns out that dead people are irresistible! And they rarely disappoint you. Dead people on reality shows never knock themselves over trying to cry so that they can improve their ratings, which is a quality I value very much. Since I can't give them up I am changing my resolution, and instead, I hereby resolve to drink less Goldschläger, and drink more Jägermeister. During Lent I may switch back.


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