So it's that time of year again. The time when those of us blessed with the opportunity to share our thoughts with readers get to take stock and present our New Year's resolutions.
Hey, it's either that or I give you a list of books I didn't quite actually read that you won't, either.
This time around, however, there's a little bitty, itsy bitsy impediment to waxing somewhat eloquent about the vast array of changes I'm going to make in the days ahead to make myself a better person. It's called 2020.
Because I don't think I'm alone or being particularly vain in considering that, given the events on the past 365 or so days, I don't need to change. The world does.
Besides, all the good resolutions like "spend more time with family," and "read more" definitely got worked in 2020. Even if "travel more" and "meet new people and widen your circle of friends" may have taken a bit of a beating. Well, at least we all had a good excuse.
This year, I think I'm going to make one simple, easy-(enough)-to-follow resolution: I'm not going to do stupid stuff. Actually that's a direction my father used to give me. Except he didn't use the word "stuff." And he tended to give it after I'd already done stupid ... yeah.
Yes, I understand that some of the stupid stuff I'm going to resolve not to do is stupid stuff I already don't do. Sort of like my annual resolution to stop smoking. I don't actually smoke, so I get to start the year with one in the bag on the theory that a sense of accomplishment will be inspirational.
And, yes, I know, I do plenty of other stupid stuff. In fact, if I'm not the king of doing stupid stuff, I'm at least in the court. It's just that, in lieu of drilling down on a few things, only to see the world laugh at my ridiculous plans, I'm going to cast a pretty broad net this year on the chance that I'll get more right than wrong.
Among the stupid things I'm not going to do:
• Doubt the efficacy of vaccines. Most of us are here either because we took a vaccine or someone else who could have given us something terrible and deadly did. Now, all of a sudden we've decided the answers to all our medical issues are eye of newt and leeches?
• Post ridiculous, completely unsubstantiated and easily disproved things on social media outlets. Facebook is the "reply all" of platforms. It probably has its uses (I'm personally there for pictures of people's cute grandbabies and incredible bird photos an acquaintance of mine takes. And I really don't even like birds that much). But like that scathing email reply you've been cooking up, maybe it's best to take a walk around the block before you hit "send." Better yet, take the walk and then delete it altogether.
• Believe in some vast nefarious conspiracy theory concocted by a group of people who have shown exactly zero ability to concoct even small, not particularly nefarious conspiracies in the past. I mean, Will Rogers called it when he said, "I'm not a member of an organized political party. I'm a Democrat."
• Believe in vast nefarious conspiracy theories in general. Particularly when, for those theories to work, thousands of people who probably can't not tell someone what they bought their spouse for Christmas are going to go to their graves not discussing their part in faking numerous lunar landings or covering up that the world is actually flat.
• Believe that Bill Gates or the people who came up with 5G are interested in controlling my mind or knowing where I am. I mean, if I could control my mind I'd know why I came into this room or where my sunglasses are. And if you want to know where I am, just ask my wife. She at least knows where I ought to be before I wandered off to look at golf equipment or battery chargers.
So yes, it is the season of resolution-making. A joyous time of year when we all decide we're going to be better in the coming months. But given the circumstances, I'm going in a new direction. I'm going to decide to just not get any worse.
And when 2022 rolls around, if I can say, "Well, I didn't do anything really stupid," that will be enough.
Gary Smith is a recovering journalist living in Rogers.