Thursday, January 6, 2011

How Lovely

So NPR and Dilbert, by some strange synchronicity, both did New Year's Day features on making resolutions for other people.  Unless there really is a vast left-wing conspiracy, this means someone at both institutions independently had to stop and think, hey,  enough with the navel gazing/tepid attempts at self-improvement/magical thinking hoo hoo: Let's get real!

After all, who knows more about fixing other people than.. other people?  NPR featured diverse economists ordering around Ben Bernanke, whereas Dilbert featured Dogbert ordering around the universe.   Nevertheless, the implication -that we are better able to order the lives of the people around us than they are-is the same.

And I'll buy it.  I have infinite wisdom to dispense regarding everyone else's prospective 2011s.  Yes, you should get a job.  No, you shouldn't dump him.  Yes, quit smoking.  No, Fox News is not news.  Drink more tea.  Read more books.  Walk more.   Be kind to one another.

That last I stole from a flight attendant who announced it over the loudspeaker at the close of a bumpy Continental Expressjet flight to I-Can't-Remember.  It's good advice, but I always wondered whether the flight attendant really believed that, by speaking the words, he could cause kindness to flower in our peanut-addled, sky-sozzled hearts.  How much power do words have?

As much as we give them, I suppose, which is to say part way through February.

In contrast to the New Year's resolutions I will henceforth be making on your behalf, my own New Year's resolutions tend to be forgettable.  I know this because I've forgotten them.  I dimly recall resolving something sometime, though I'm also fairly sure there was a decade in which I decided I was perfect as I was and the fulsome loveliness that was me could only be tarnished by sorry stabs at self-betterment.  (I later resolved to stop papering over insecurity with arrogance.)

In sum, this year will be different.  This year, I'm taking a page from the playbook of our liberal media conglomerate and resolving profligately for everyone who is not me.  For myself, I reserve only one resolution.  It is a small one, neatly made, fitting nicely in the palm of one hand.  It is to dwell.

Not live, not hurry, not love, not loll. No seizing or shaking or grabbing by the horns.  Just dwelling.  But slowly, surely.

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