New Year’s Resolutionary
Failure and procrastination are underrated
By Mark Chavez and Jessica Cassyle Carr
By now, well into the fourth week of January, your dreams of triumph in New Year’s self-improvement are fading with the abruptness of each passing day. Your envisioned fresh start now dissolves into the annual realization that you are still you, and not much actually changed between December and January. Sure, you may long for self-improvement, but can it be scheduled according to the whims of the Gregorian calendar? Maybe for the responsible and disciplined--but face it, that's not you. It's time to embrace the glory in failure, and with this, learn to exploit nonsuccess.
Let Yourself Go
Stop not sitting and gain some weight, couch potato. With the new year came an empty promise to yourself, and now it's time to realize you aren't getting any thinner. So why not adopt a different attitude and find time to avoid exercise altogether? Some ideas for accomplishing this new goal include only settling for parking places nearest to the entrances of stores and restaurants, avoiding going within a mile of any gyms, and dedicating yourself to " The Maury Show" and all of the cultural research--and kindred spirits--it has to offer. Other things you might try include Taco Bell's "fourth meal," Big Gulps and chicken fries.
Smoke Up, Drinky
Do you really want to battle your addictive personality all year long? ... That's what we thought. So why not embrace debauchery and get serious about smoking? Cigarettes are great for 2008, and not only do they make you look really cool among your peers, smoking can actually help you make friends ... friends that smoke. The same goes for drinking, especially when it comes to choice beverages, fine liqueurs and intoxicating libations such as purple drank, sizzerp and "Serbian Intestinal Scum Drizzank." Go ahead and submit to self-indulgent whims and Dionysian adventures. On weeknights even. With stangers. Life is a par-tay, whether or not the authorities say so. Whoooooo!
Be Financially Irresponsible
In today's society not actually having money doesn't mean you can't appear to be wealthy. Just because your service industry job requires you to wear a brightly colored name tag, Jim, it shouldn't hinder you from owning a luxury sedan, an Armani suit and a wife with breast implants. Lenders salivate at the prospect of helping you cash in on your pathetic ideas about finance management. Now take out your credit card and go buy some smokes.
If you think getting more organized was one of your resolutions for 2008, but aren't sure because you can’t find the bill from American Express that you wrote your list on because it's possibly covered by a litter box and your skis, then consider yourself lucky. Disorganization is like a lifelong puzzle game for your mind. Think of the way you feel when you find your car keys just in time to get to work only 17 minutes late. That rush of excitement and feeling of elation and relief is your brain’s way of telling you “This is fun! Let’s always do this.” Only the most anal and painfully structured of the populace need to occupy themselves with sudoku books and word finds. For the rest of us, every day is a time-wasting effort to alleviate boredom. Only we don’t have a choice.
Increase Your Ecological Footprint
In our throwaway society, it's an undeniable fact that recycling is a bore. Know what's not, though? Wasting water! Here are five fun ways to do it: 1) Shower-baths: Let the bathtub fill up, turn on the shower, release the plug and sit in your own rainy lagoon for more than an hour. 2) Wash your car repeatedly: Wash, spray on mud, wash again. It's not even illegal. 3) Slip-and-Sliiiide: Accomplished with merely a hose, a bunch of plastic, a moderately flat surface, some nylon swim wear, and Bartles and Jaymes. 4) Unnecessary flushing: Need to get rid of those packing peanuts that came with your brand-new golf clubs? Most people don't know that toilets can be excellent trash cans. 5) Water balloons: Nothing says "I want to make you sort-of wet" like a water balloon in the face.
Learn How Not to Play the Guitar
If you’re beginning to think that learning to play the guitar is harder than it looks, you’re absolutely right. Only witches, or those with severe arachnodactyly have fingers that are long, pointy and bendy enough to play chords such as B and FM7. So put down that guitar and pick up your Guitar Hero guitar controller. Playing Guitar Hero III, especially on “medium” difficulty, is just like playing the real thing, only much smaller, lighter and more plastic. And because there are only five buttons on the neck to remember, instead of committing an almost uncountable amount of notes to memory, you have only to commit to one thing: rocking out.
Don't Call Grandma
As you’ve gotten wrapped up in your job, your social life and your addictions, you’ve begun to feel guilty for not keeping in touch with those members of your family who played a hand in creating you. So you intended, in 2008, to call your grandmother once a week to let her know how successful you are, or failing that, how "not in jail" you’ve become. But aside from an awkward, drunken attempt in the early morning of Jan. 1, you haven’t found the time. Rest assured that despite what your conscience is whispering, you’ve done no real damage. In the wild, a grandmother can survive up to four weeks without talking to anybody, and in captivity that number is nearly doubled. When she finally does get a chance to speak to you, Grandma will gorge herself on conversation. This feeding could last up to three hours if on the phone, or five to six hours if you’ve paid a visit. She’ll tell you everything from how one of her shelves looks a bit loose to how she puts canned tuna out for a neighborhood stray. Then, satiated, Grandma will lie on her side and drift into a deep sleep. Since becoming a golden girl, your grandmother metabolizes conversation differently, so this type of visiting is perfectly safe and quite natural. Now drink up, smoky, and don’t forget to call Grandma every six months or so.
Submit to The Man
You promised yourself this would be the year you’d quit your job in search of a more fulfilling career. However, with February just around the corner, 2008 is practically over, so you may as well resign yourself to the fact that you’re never going to quit the job you hate. It’s time to let out a deep sigh, bow your head and settle. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone: One half of Americans describe themselves as being unhappy with their job. Besides, once you give up the Sisyphean task of trying to achieve your career goals, you’ll have more time to look at Internet porn, experiment with the latest party drugs and spend time with the grandkids.
Indulge Your Phobias
Has battling your irrational fear of water or flying or snakes in 2008 ended in sweaty, shaky, clammy defeat? Well, sit back, relax and stop relaxing, and remember: Your phobias are there for a reason. They keep you safe. Every day nine people will die of drowning in the United States, but you know who surely won’t drown? Those of us who steer clear of swimming pools, oceans, baths and showers. And, yes, flying is the safest form of travel. In 2007 only 965 people died in airplane crashes, but zero people died of not flying in airplanes. We think those numbers speak for themselves. Also, you should be scared of snakes. The only people who aren’t scared of snakes are those guys who wear giant boa constrictors on their shoulders and walk around college campuses or Bohemian coffeehouses trying to impress the ladies. We simply don’t need any more of those people. So, please, don’t think of your phobia as a weakness to be ashamed or embarrassed of. Think of it as a power--a power that will keep you alive and well until your car wreck or heart attack kills you.
2008 was supposed to be the year you invested in a complete makeover. New clothes and a hip new hairdo would surely help give you the brand-spanking-new attitude you need to face each day. But you've begun to learn that following the latest fashion trends is harder than keeping track of Waldo in a candy cane factory. Don't bother, you look great; besides, originality takes too much effort. Uggs and Crocs and leggings and skinny jeans and pants tucked into tall boots and billowy tunics and blond hair and really tan skin are still the height of fashion somewhere in the rural south. Just take your high school yearbook's advice and don't change.
Eye Contact is Not for Everyone
Some might find importance in winning friends and influencing people, but is it not more satisfying to be a semi-effective person who prefers alienating strangers and scaring people? Avoiding eye contact while speaking with anybody is great way of saying "I may kill you someday." Now that's true power. Arousing that "eager want" in others is more fun when that eager want is to stay on your good side lest something unsavory happen. Exercising social graces and making people feel comfortable might be the key to success, but success is a door that can be knocked in. People like Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, Dr. Phil, Martha Stewart and Dick Cheney are living proof.
Bask in the Power of Denial
Facing reality is overrated. Dealing with your own failed resolutions is better when you learn how to lie to yourself. One way is to understand that things could always be worse. Hate your job? Well, at least you aren't an alcoholic. Drink too much? Well, at least you aren't addicted to crack. Addicted to crack? Well, at least you aren't dead. Dead? Well, at least you don't have to go to work anymore. You get the idea. Lying to yourself, also known as positive thinking, can also be achieved by repeating a few simple phrases every morning, or whenever needed. Phrases like "nobody can tell that I stink," “I choose to not own a car" and "I've always had that mole that's shaped like India" are sure to help you get through the day.
Time Served at Tricklock Performance Laboratory
Poetry and prose inspired by a writer and performer’s years spent teaching incarcerated students. Part of the Revolutions International Theater Festival.
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