Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ringing Out and In

Since I’ve, more or less, given up on making New Year’s resolutions (more on that in a moment), I decided to celebrate the changing of the years by spreading some good will. Consequently, starting at midnight of December 30th (today), and continuing until midnight of January 1st, anyone can download Somewhere West of Roads for free. All one must do is go to the link for the book (made simple by clicking the title) and then agreeing to make me a primary beneficiary of your estate. Oh no, that’s not right, there aren’t any catches. I hope it starts your reading year off in a good way. (The start/stop times are U.S. Pacific time.)

So, about those resolutions… I’ve given up on them. Resolutions are made by two kinds of people: those who are so perfect they don’t need improvement, and those who know there isn’t a steer’s chance at a meat packing plant that they will keep them. I definitely fall into the second category.

The most common resolution is to “lose a few pounds.” This is made by those who once figured they would be specific about listing how much they would lose, and found being a little more ambiguous was much more likely to lead to success. Nevertheless, I’ve even given up on that. I have come to the conclusion that the only people in the world who can say with any certainty they are going to lose five, ten, fifteen, or even fifty pounds after the first of the year are residents of the U.K. who have bet that much on whether they lose the resolved amount of weight.

Desperation is the reason I gave up. Desperation will drive people to acts of stupidity and self-abuse. Such was the case a few years ago when my wife decided she would help me out. 

Scales can be cruel after January 1st
“I got a copy of a special, seven day diet,” she said with her most helpful sincerity. “With this diet, a person can lose up to fifteen pounds in a week if they don’t cheat. Even you can hack just one week of dieting.”

The copy of the “special seven day diet” was actually a fuzzy, worn photocopy. Judging by the dark streaks throughout the background, it was an umpteenth generation photocopy. The copy was a two-sided affair. One side spelled out the regimen. The other side provided instructions and a little background. 

The regimen side listed, by day, what vittles were permitted. The core of the diet is a cabbage soup prepared with little more than a head of cabbage, a couple of cans of tomatoes, green peppers, onions and a bunch of celery. For body, six heaping cups of water are added. The dieter is allowed to eat as much of the cabbage soup as they can hold. In fact, the dieter MUST eat a minimum of one large helping of the cabbage soup a day.

The instructional side proudly proclaimed the diet to be from the Our Sisters of Perpetual Infection Hospital. The claim being that this diet is used for overweight patients scheduled for heart surgery. After having experienced the diet, I would venture to say that it wasn’t so much designed to reduce weight, but as more of a stress test. It’s a matter of will to survive. If you can survive the stress of eating that cabbage soup day-in and day-out, you could survive the small intrusion of someone splitting your sternum, prying it wide, and whittling away. 

After a couple of days on that diet, any desire to ever attempt to lose weight again evaporated.

There have been other unsuccessful attempts at resolutions. By being less specific and resolving to “get into shape” the whole weight issue was avoided. Eventually, I decided round was a shape, and there was little point in beleaguering the issue. 

I also decided to give up drinking, once. But out of consideration to my boss, that resolution also fell to the wayside. The guy needed someplace to drive me. Who am I to thwart another person’s goals in life?

So, whatever your resolutions are, or are not, I hope you have a great 2013. I also hope you’ll take advantage of the free book offer. Happy New Year!

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