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End-of-year decisions: Why bother?
Article published on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013
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Here we are at the juncture between the old year and the new year. For most of us, that means we should make some decisions.

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE GREETING CARDS? This includes the Christmas, Hanukkah and Festivus cards we received as well as the leftover cards we never mailed because we ran out of friends and acquaintances to send them to. Incoming cards have value, even if itís small. Each card means that someone cared enough to buy it, address it, maybe scribble a note such as ďI hope Sally has cut back on her drinking,Ē and put on a stamp. In this era of email, texting, sexting, Twittering, Twerking and Facebooking, an honest-to-goodness Christmas card is a sentimental step back into the time when people were real and not just names listed on computer files. So maybe we should not pitch this yearís incoming cards into the dumpster. At the very least we should keep them for a year, so that we can flip through them next Christmas to recall who remembered us and who didnít.

WHAT SHALL WE DO ON NEW YEARíS EVE? Five or ten thousand years ago, some wise old duck declared, ďTime is NOT a flowing, unbroken continuum. It is neatly divided into days, weeks, months and years. The most important event is the new year. Therefore we should celebrate its arrival by doing something fun and noisy on New Yearís Eve. Okay?Ē Ever since then most of us have gone along with that idea, even when we would have preferred to stay safely at home on a warm sofa with our main squeeze, our favorite dog and two quarts of Breyerís butter pecan ice cream.

New Yearís Eve is when millions of people who donít know how to handle alcohol set out to prove it. They often succeed in various ways such as car crashes, fistfights, ill-fated adultery and vomiting on the hostís wife. I sometimes wonder how many police officers resign their jobs after pulling duty on New Yearís Eve and having to cope with a night full of drunks.

When midnight arrives and the glittering gadget descends into Times Square, kissing begins. Thatís when some intricate decision-making takes place. Questions arise: ďAfter I give my wife a heartfelt kiss, shall I plant a queen-size smooch on my gorgeous neighbor Connie, for whom Iíve lusted ever since Jerry Ford was president?Ē And so on. Iíve known many partygoers who simply duck out five minutes early to avoid the customary lipstick-and-saliva exchanges. But most folks happily endure them.

SHALL WE DRAW UP NEW YEARíS RESOLUTIONS? The common-sense answer is ďNo.Ē

Research has shown that very few resolutions endure for more than a few weeks. Still, to undertake self-reform for even a short time helps us to maintain the illusion that we possess free will and self-control. And thereís no harm in that, I suppose. Most resolutions have to do with losing weight. Which reminds me that, in all my years of watching TV evangelists perform their miracles, Iíve never seen one attempting to cure obesity. They turn that curse over to God, and from what I can see God doesnít do a very good job with it.

At this moment, my only resolution (or vague intent) for 2014 is to start a blog. Also, maybe, to learn the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. At heart, Iím not a very social guy, and Iím told these social networking inventions can catapult me into a whole new world of informed, astute observers who, if I let them, will help me spend half of each day exchanging opinions on Obama, guns, Miley Cyrus and other significant topics.

IN 2014 SHOULD WE HEED POLITICAL CANDIDATES? The coming year will see hundreds of men and women striving for public office. Some of them will be outright liars, but many others will tell the truth (or at least try to). Should we devote much of our time and energy attempting to discover which is which? Iíve decided to save time by paying attention only to candidates whose initials are the same as mine. I donít know if any such candidates will come forth. If they donít, it wonít be my fault.

A final note: as always, my best holiday wishes go out to my 38 (or so) Faithful Readers, especially to those who take the time to email me, even with messages that begin ďYou benighted swine!Ē I have come to believe that most of the people who read this newspaper each week have an I.Q. level at least twenty-seven points higher than the national average, and forty-four points higher than my own. You are a distinguished audience, and I salute you. Happy holidays!

Bob Driver is a former columnist for the Clearwater Sun. His email address is tralee71@comcast.net.
Article published on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013
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