Ah, the holidays: the most festive time of year. And nothing spells fun like writing lists… especially lists of empty promises to suddenly improve every aspect of your life all at once.
Why else would so many of us make New Year’s resolutions? Certainly not because they’re effective — statistics show while half of Americans make them, more than 90 percent of us ultimately fail.
As Oscar Wilde once said: “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”
Now that’s not to say we can’t improve our odds, and not simply by making super easy resolutions like, say, quoting Oscar Wilde (whereas normally you’re more of a George Bernard Shaw guy).
Experts generally agree the most effective strategies involve making resolutions specific, public and easy for others to join.
And so in that spirit, I present my annual list of New Year’s resolutions for Juneau, or, as I’ve taken to calling them, ’Neau Year’s Resolutions.
(In no particular order) in 2018, let us all resolve to:
• Keep the holiday spirit going all year long — only 37 more shopping days until Marmot Day!
• Continue lobbying CBJ to adopt the official slogan: “Juneau? No, no, no. Ju-YES!” While we’re at it, contact Whitehorse, Yukon regarding ideas for its official slogan: “Yukon — Do it!” and “Yukon — Have it All!”
• Stop ripping on the humpback whale sculpture. So what if it’s a ridiculous boondoggle. It’s our ridiculous boondoggle.
• Look local first. Well, except for brain surgery. You’d be well-advised look elsewhere for brain surgery. Sure, there are guys around here who’ll do it for you, but not licensed or bonded or anything.
• Stop “turtling” out of driveways, parking spaces, left turn lanes and/or four-way stop signs. Go or don’t go — make a choice and stick with it. And pedestrians: let’s resolve to cross streets ONLY at appointed crosswalks, as opposed to, say, a dark, icy main thoroughfare at rush hour… dressed in black and futzing with a vape pen.
• However, let us simultaneously resolve not to gesture rudely at anyone who breaks the above resolutions. We live in a small town. That person could wind up being your tax assessor, or your dentist, or your coffee shop barista where one might easily hock a loogie — or worse — into your latte and pass it off as “frothed milk.”
• Not “reply all” unless it actually applies to all.
• Be patient while: experiencing a poor WiFi connection; waiting for it to snow; sitting through your kids’ whole recital even though they don’t come onstage until the brutal (brutal) end; explaining to outsiders (yet again) that in Alaska, it’s dark in the winter and light in the summer, just like everywhere else in the northern hemisphere; scouring the town for fresh lemongrass; discovering that the previous passenger has already completed the Alaska Airlines crossword puzzle (incorrectly and in pen) and, perhaps most importantly, watching our significant others load the dishwasher. Just go back and fix it after they leave the kitchen.
• Compost. And I mean really compost, not just letting your jack-o-lantern molder away on the front porch all winter.
• Stop allowing our kids to watch so much TV; they’re missing out on valuable Minecraft time.
• Fewer Brussels sprouts, more kohlrabi. And can we please bring back cauliflower?
• Get more exercise, or at least watch more exercise videos on YouTube.
• Volunteer. Surely we can each carve out a little time for community-mindedness, especially now that we’ve finished power-streaming all seven seasons of “Game of Thrones” with no new episodes until 2019.
• Start the New Year fresh and leave 2017 behind by forswearing the following: fidget spinners; neck tattoos; talking about Donald Trump (I’ve been making this resolution every year since 2015 — this time, let’s make it stick); “Despacito;” emojis (5,500 years after humankind first invented writing, and we’re back to pictographs); asking people if they’ve seen the new “Star Wars” yet; outrageous expressions of disbelief upon learning someone hasn’t seen the new “Star Wars” yet; and can we please be done pumpkin spice flavoring? There’s only so much nutmeg a man can stand.
• Fix that cracked windshield. You know you’ve got one.
• Ditto: that dented fender. You know you’ve got one of these, too.
• Resist the temptation to buy the two-pack of 33.5-ounce jars of Nutella at Costco. Nothing good can come from keeping a half gallon of chocolate hazelnut spread on hand, even if it is purportedly made from skim milk.
• Take up the search for Sasquatch; he’s got to be around here somewhere.
• Help develop innovative, sustainable solutions for Alaska’s financial future. Or just hit up a few dispensaries — that way you can “stimulate the economy” every night while you crank your old Zeppelin albums.
Most importantly, this New Year’s let us all resolve to follow the Golden Rule and do unto others only what we would have others do unto us… you know, in a well-lit, public place.
• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears every second and fourth Sunday.