New Year’s resolutions: an exercise in futility

Bob McKee

Making New Year’s resolutions is easy, keeping them is the hard part. Most well-intentioned resolutions may last a few days or weeks, or even a couple of months. My New Year’s resolutions normally last seven or eight hours, depending on what time I wake up New Year’s Day…and in what condition.

Acknowledging this ancient truism, I long ago resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions. It is much easier to make New Year’s resolutions for other people. If they don’t keep those resolutions it’s their problem, not mine. In that vein, the following New Year’s resolutions will be effective and in full force at 12:01 a.m., Jan. 1, 2018.

Friends will no longer due stupid things that I have to write about in this column. Although I go to great lengths to conceal their identities and prevent the embarrassing public ridicule that could traumatize them for life, some readers have managed to correctly pick them out of the lineup. I have no control over that because my readers are extremely intelligent people.

At one time I considered making a New Year’s resolution of my own to simply not write about the lapses of judgment, or loss of consciousness, those friends experience from time to time. Being a realist, I knew it would be impossible for me to keep that resolution. This way, the onus is on them. But I’m not worried about running out of fodder for this column. They won’t be able to keep this resolution either.

A good New Year’s resolution for the economy is to improve significantly in 2018. The same goes for the unemployment rate, the housing market and the financial sector overall. Banks and credit card companies should resolve to stop trying to think of ways to gouge their customers with new, innovative fees that circumvent last year’s regulations. None of the above resolutions would be too difficult to keep, but I fear they would disappear at a rapid clip once the euphoria of New Year’s day wear off.

The pharmaceutical companies should resolve to make a real effort at reducing drug costs, prescription and over-the-counter products. And while they are at it, resolve to do away with human proof caps and seal foils on medicine bottles. The latter, of course, would require a resolution by all the evil, deranged nut cases out there to not tamper with or add nuclear waste to aspirin bottles. Or anything else meant for human consumption.

Along those lines, manufacturers could resolve not to encase their products, whether batteries, toys or electronic gizmos, in bombproof packages. Better yet, plastic manufacturers could have a change of heart and voluntarily declare all plastic packaging an affront to mankind and a detriment to the environment. Let’s see how long those resolutions last.

The world’s big oil companies could resolve, no matter what future traders do, to hold the line on gas prices at least until the economy is in the fast lane to recovery. Utility companies could adopt similar resolutions, as could the food producers and grocery stores. Manufacturing companies could resolve to stop out sourcing jobs overseas and even bring  a lot of them back stateside. Need I mention tech support jobs too?

State, county and municipal governments nationwide could resolve to find viable solutions to their financial crisis’s, somehow without unbearable tax increases and cuts to the vital or crucial services we expect them to provide. It wouldn’t hurt the federal government to look into a similar resolution for the new year. 

President Donald Trump could resolve to stop trying to change things into his image of America so fast and then rethink the whole process. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan could could resolve to grow a heart; Minority Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi could resolve to simply resign and go back to California. The Tea Party could resolve to get real about the government’s role in our lives — it’s not going to go away, folks. Hollywood could resolve to start making good movies again, with real plots. The same could be said of television. Or we all could resolve to read more, think more, and interact more. 

These are just a few of the New Year’s resolutions I would make for other people. Please take note they are predominantly figments of my sometimes overactive imagination. Any resemblance to reality is intentional. 

Happy New Year.