Soooo, we’re a couple weeks into the new decade, and it’s time we evaluated how it’s going so far. Did you make some New Year’s resolutions? Things about yourself that you’d like to change or improve? They’re not “New Year’s resolutions” to me, because most of them are the same ones I made to start the Old Year that didn’t improve very much. But I’m going to keep plugging away, because it would be too much like me if I used my resolutions to pick out some things that I’d like to make worse.
One of my goals for the new decade is to find out whether we’re in it or not. Many purists believe that we have to wait another year before the new decade actually begins, and that you should look at it as if you were in an elevator. If you’re in the lobby, you have to go up one flight to reach the first floor. Don’t worry, because you’ll make it up when you get to the place where the 13th floor was supposed to be. There seems to be much less confusion about exactly when the year 2020 starts. Most agree that it starts shortly after 2019 ends. I’d give it a couple weeks just to make sure there’s no overlap, and then I intend to wait 10 years, and if it passes successfully, then I can look back and say that this was definitely the start of a decade. Make sense to you? My friend Jonna here at work already told me in no uncertain terms that she’s not going to go to all the trouble of changing the dates on her checks from the teens to the twenties unless she’s getting a brand new decade out of the deal.
I hereby resolve to help my wife out this year by doing more cooking. Cooking is so satisfying; it’s creative, it’s individual, it’s like painting a work of art that you can eat and then throwing the canvas in the dishwasher. Indeed, if you’ve seen Jackson Pollock’s famous work, “Convergence,” you’ll see the major influences for my “Scrambled Eggs with Cheese.” After I cook something, the kitchen itself is such a mess it looks like a downgraded tornado grazed the area. It looks like terrain that the Allied Forces would have considered and rejected as a landing point for their LSTs during World War II. The fun part is that I always change the recipe slightly, put my personal stamp on it. Sometimes my wife’s taste test doesn’t go as well as I thought it might, judging by the face she makes. “How much thyme did you put into this?” I’m so thrown off by the face she’s making that I vault right past the obvious joke, which makes me question my sanity. I say, “It said two teaspoons of fresh thyme, so I figured twice as much if I use the stale stuff that we have.” She inquires, “Did you put your personal stamp on this again?”
I resolve to become more tech savvy. I’m sick of newborn babies coming out of the womb who already know how to code, and I can’t work the camera on my smart phone. I took the day off yesterday so I could call the Google Help Line and ask them to show me how to hook up this doohicky that’s supposed to cast the screen of my laptop onto my television. After saying “yes” about 30 times to answer the phone prompts, I am directed to the cheerful and patient Ramona, who has clearly dealt with people like me before. “Do you have a smart phone?” She asks. “Yes, but even if you call it you’re still going to be stuck with talking to me,” I reply. She tells me to access “Google Home” on my Android platform device. “I’m having a little trouble understanding your accent,” I say. Turns out she’s born and raised in New York. “Why do I have to do this on my phone if it’s my laptop that I want to access?” If only my wife were here to tell me to shut up and just do what she says, because Ramona is too polite to say it. In the end, she hooked me up, even though I had to check a bunch of boxes that let Google invade my privacy anytime it feels like it. “I agree to let Google come to my house and snoop around in my bathroom medicine cabinet if it wants.” I did check that box in order to get this damn thing running. I was tempted to try to impress Ramona with my knowledge. “Hey, why isn’t this damn thing on the cloud?” I would have asked. “If this thing was in the cloud, we’d be done by now. Good god, what if it rains though?” Sure, there are plenty of reasons to have children, most of which escape me at the moment. But maybe the best reason is so I don’t have to call the Google Help Line anymore, and just let my kids say, “Dad, what do you want to even do that for when you can do this?” And then they show me something on their phone that I can never duplicate when they are not there.
Another thing I’d like to accomplish for the New Year is to become less predictable. I say the same thing every January First- you could set your calendar to it. I’ve been told that I do everything the same way all the time, on the same day. And if I have to reschedule something it moves everything else back by one day, but I intend to make it up at the end of the decade, especially if it starts a year later than I thought. So this year I’m going to change things up, become more fluid, and it’s going to make me infinitely more interesting. You know who I learned this from? Donald J. Trump. Donald J. Trump NEVER tips his hand to the opposition. He’s here, he’s there, where is he? He could be on a golf course somewhere in Scotland for all I know. Or, he could be on a golf course in New Jersey. OR, he could be on a golf course in Florida. By being unpredictable, he has won a trade war with China, caused North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and built a huge wall near the Rio Grande to prevent Texans from trying to escape. And if he hasn’t exactly finished doing any of those things, you can be sure that they’ll be done by the end of the decade. Whenever that is.
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