2009-01-08 / Sam Bari

The season of good intentions

You can't beat a system you can't understand
By Sam Bari

January is a special month. It is a month of hope, promise, and fulfi llment of dreams. It is that time of year when success is just around the corner, and people are confident that failure has abandoned their vocabularies.

This year is an inauguration year, making it extra special. Promises made will be synonymous with promises kept, and all will be well with the world in the very near future.

Yes, resolutions have been made, and the season of good intentions is off to an auspicious beginning.

Those who vowed to stop smoking, drinking, cursing at bad drivers and eating fatty foods are enjoying resounding success. Obesity, bad diet, inappropriate behavior and poisoning the world with unnecessary pollutants are all things of the past. After all, those who made and announced their resolutions so the entire world knows their good intentions, have stuck to their promises for . . . Hmmm . . . seven days. Amazing, don'tcha think?

If week number one of the New Year were used as a yardstick, Lane Bryant and Big Shops for Men will be hitting the skids in about three months. The tobacco companies will be seeking bailout money along with the sugar industry, baking industry and every fast food franchise on the planet.

People will be courteous while driving. Road rage will be non-existent. More people will smile and raise their index finger instead of... you know . . . that other one, when small insignificant occurrences cause them minor inconvenience.

I have not resolved to do anything to improve my life on New Year's Day for several decades. Making promises that are close to impossible to keep does not make sense. I see no reason to put myself through that much guilt.

People committed to changing their lives for the better do not pick New Year's Day to start. Whenever they find something out of order they just do something about it. Those who have that kind of emotional fortitude and perseverance at the core of their personalities do not have to make a big deal about changing course when the need arises. They are disciplined, and they just do it.

I believe most would agree with me. People like that are disturbed. They are not normal. I actually know two people who are like that, and believe me, they are not happy.

Think about it for a minute. A person who is not overweight, does not smoke, does not drink or drinks in moderation, exercises daily, and does not get upset about petty annoyances, has nothing to look forward to. Every day is the same to them. They must be bored to the max.

Life will never get better for them. These unfortunate people have reached their peak and are maintaining the status quo for the remainder of their natural lives. How sad.

People who have all of that annoying discipline inadvertently set examples for those around them and quietly drive everyone in their lives crazy. They tool around in their fuel-efficient cars, floss after every meal, eat to live instead of the other way around, and they are generally dedicated to their careers. I would think they are so perfect that finding a mate to match all of those qualities must be difficult. Besides, everybody they know just wants to slap them.

Could you imagine what life would be like if we did not have the diet industry? If you think we're in a recession now, without the calorie counting companies, millions more would be out of work.

I think attempts at drastically changing our lives are not particularly good for our psyche, our selfesteem, and are probably harmful to the economy.

I look forward to bake sales, pie eating contests, visiting with friends at the local tavern, barbecues in the summer time, and birthday parties with ice cream and cake. In about four months, when all of those people who made resolutions are pressed by their doubting friends to account for their successes, some explaining is going to be required.

Everyone who did not succeed will come crashing down big time and the good intentions from the beginning of the year will be quickly forgotten. It happens every April. Those who made resolutions must come to terms with their failures.

A feeding frenzy will consume those who had every intention of losing weight. The nicotine fanatics will be smoking up a storm, and those who swore to be more tolerant of others will just lose it.

The point is, since we all live in this crazy system that we don't understand, we may as well enjoy it. If you want a make a resolution, resolve to do whatever it takes to be happy.

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