Did I Say That? Resolving for small improvements

I’m always late with my New Year’s resolutions because I like to give them serious thought, which is difficult to do around the holidays when everyone is making merry or intoxicated or behaving irresponsibly before they have to kick their bad habits — or at least pretend to.

This year I’m keeping them simple.

I resolve that I will not let toast crumbs or poppy seeds from my bagel get into the tub of butter because it really upsets my family. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’m going to try.

Also, I resolve not to let crud plug the openings of the ketchup and mustard squirters. I’ll wipe them clean after I use them. Don’t you hate when there’s dried mustard and ketchup in those little holes?

Also, I’ll never again let the knife fall in the mayonnaise jar and get mayo all over the handle so that someone has to wipe it off. Ugh. Disgusting. When it falls in, I usually let someone else do the dirty work, namely my wife. But that’s not gonna happen again.

Also, I resolve to stop beginning sentences with “also,” since my college writing instructor and my editors always insisted it’s the sign of a lazy, semi-literate writer, which I am.

Right about now you’re probably asking yourself why my New Year’s resolutions have to do with condiments. (I haven’t mentioned the pickle jar yet.) Am I obsessed or is this some sort of marketing promotion for Heinz and Gulden’s? No. It’s just that I’m struggling for real change in small ways before I move on to the big resolutions, the kind President Trump always makes. I don’t want to promise major changes that I can’t deliver … yet.

Let me get a little more ambitious. The next time the kitchen garbage pail is overflowing, I won’t push my leftovers down and cause the bag to break so the next person — uh oh, my wife again — has to wipe up spilled gravy, mashed potatoes and spinach. I’ll do that myself. I sincerely promise. (I just hope she isn’t reading this because she’ll hold me to this resolution under penalty of martial law.)

In addition, I resolve to have more patience with my daughters and sons-in-laws, who are self-professed experts in dog obedience, child rearing, career guidance, retirement planning, nutrition, health care, politics … did I forget anything? So the next time they tell me how to save for retirement, how to invest, where to invest, how to control calorie intake, how to stop the dog from barking at the mailman, the UPS driver, chipmunks and squirrels, I will listen politely, nod my head in agreement and appreciation, thank them, resist calling them “know-it-alls” and “blowhards,” and go on my merry way. This will lead to harmony in our family, higher levels of tolerance and higher levels of blood pressure for me.

Now, for one of my really big resolutions. The next time — and I have the feeling it will be soon — my loving wife hassles me about walking into the house without cleaning the bird poop off my shoes after I fill the bird feeders, I’m going to resist starting an argument. I will not retaliate and complain about her bad habits that bug me. Instead, I’m going to keep my mouth shut, listen politely, let her finish, wait 45 seconds … and then retaliate.

Actually, I’m going to take it on the chin because retaliating only makes it worse and often leads to the silent treatment, and if there’s one thing that drives me absolutely insane, more insane than toast crumbs in the butter, it’s the silent treatment.

Also, I will never ever retaliate again. (Please ignore that “also.”)

This is only the start. A new day is dawning. Things are going to change. It’s a new year. I’m going to display a white-knuckle commitment to being more loving, humble, tolerant and neat … and then I will help President Trump and Congress develop a new and revised tax plan, along with several trade agreements, healthcare bills, insurance reform, immigration proposals and diplomatic initiatives.

You see, if I can get along with my family members, I should be able to inspire America to get along with Russia, Iran, North Korea and Hollywood. Stay tuned.

Also, Happy New Year.

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