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Resolved to Be Irresolute

If at first you don't succeed...

by Sal Rosken
December 11, 2002

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Resolved to Be Irresolute_Sal Rosken-If at first you don't succeed...
At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve;
In all the magnanimity of thought
Resolves, and re-resolves; then dies the same.

— Edward Young
"Night Thoughts"
It is that time of year again. Once again, I look back over the year that has just past, upon my achievements and failures, and I must face up to the unpleasant and humiliating fact, that, by any impartial assessment, I am not all I should or could be. This masochistic exercise is made ever the more poignant by the painful awareness that, for more years than I care to remember, my annual inventories of personal peccadilloes have had a certain déjà vu quality to them. Each year I set about to change, to improve, to become a truly better person. But I am weak, and before the tinsel is off the mantle, before the wassail has waned, before the fir needles are swept from between the cracks in the floor, I revert once more to the self-absorbed, indifferent, and uncaring lout that I am.

But this year is going to be different. No, really. This year I am going to make resolutions to become less self absorbed, less indifferent, less uncaring, less a lout. This year I am going to make changes - changes that will make me more attuned to the needs of my fellow man. I will become a better citizen, consumer, humanitarian. And I am absolutely certain that this year, unlike years past, nothing will prevent me from fulfilling my resolutions.
  • I resolve to complete and return, without delay, all pre-approved applications for new credit cards, received each week in the mail, from banks I never heard of, located in states in which I don’t reside, offering lines of credit I will never use.

  • I resolve to assign priority status to those extra special pre-approved applications for new credit cards that offer, with every new purchase, bonus frequent flier miles, on airlines I will never fly, to places I will never visit.

  • I resolve to change, without question or momentary hesitation, my long distance carrier, whenever requested to do so by telemarketers, asserting that I can save substantial amounts by doing so, even though I rarely incur long distance charges.

  • I resolve to accept, with a noble grace, every offer of a free, proprietary, computer generated, real estate appraisal of my home, especially designed for me, from all real estate brokers wishing to perform the same.

  • I resolve to accept, with a humble gratitude, all free two day “vacations”, offered by telemarketers, representing firms seeking to sell timeshares in resort hotels teetering on bankruptcy, with the only provision being that I attend a “complimentary” ninety-minute sales presentation during my “vacation”.

  • I resolve to return gladly and gratefully, all Publishers’ Clearinghouse contest forms, no matter how many I receive, no matter how frequently I receive them, as soon as they arrive.

  • I resolve to accept, read, and save all pamphlets, handbills, and leaflets thrust upon me by sidewalk hawkers, donned in furry mascot uniforms, offering discounts at local furniture stores, car dealers, and massage parlors.

  • I resolve to read, save, and file all pamphlets, handbills, and leaflets, placed under my automobile windshield wipers, by muscular, body pierced, tattooed, young men with shaved heads in parking lots, suggesting I check out the new DJ at the local hip hop lounge.

  • I resolve to listen attentively and politely to all matched pairs of Jehovah Witnesses at my doorstep, and to read thoroughly, cover to cover, the “Watchtowers” they leave behind.

  • I resolve to save, date, file in alphabetical order, and cross-index all Chinese restaurant take out menus left in my doorway.

  • I resolve to watch, from start to finish, and to record and replay, as often as possible, all TV infomercials, explaining the wonders of innovative, life changing kitchen appliances.

  • I resolve, with an avid student’s dedication, to enroll in, and attend, every course that promises to uncover the true path to financial independence, by revealing the secrets of purchasing distressed real estate no one else wants, in neighborhoods no one would voluntarily live in.

  • I resolve to embark upon, without procrastination, every diet that promises I will lose 50 pounds in 90 days, while allowing me to eat whatever I want, without exercise.

  • I resolve to purchase, whenever offered, all patent pending, “not available in stores”, home exercise equipment, which will shape my body, tone my muscles, and provide me with a better posture, without my having to spend more than five minutes a day using it.

  • I resolve to listen attentively to, from start to finish, all pre-recorded, taped, political campaign speeches, and endorsements, played back on my telephone by politicians, seeking my vote the night before Election Day.

  • I resolve to clip, cut, save, and file every coupon, offering a discount for tree pruning, chimney sweeping, house painting, lawn service, or home renovation, illegally deposited without postage in my mailbox.

  • I resolve, with patriotic conscientiousness, to read, cover to cover, every line of the Internal Revenue Service’s “Instructions to the 1040 Tax Form”, including all Special Additional Forms, Tax Tables, and Worksheets.

  • I resolve to eat, with a gustatory gusto, every morsel of the oleaginous samples of convenience foods, cooked, and proffered to me, by kindly old ladies, cloaked in aprons, waiting at the end of supermarket aisles.

  • I resolve, with a volunteer’s innocent enthusiasm, to allow myself to be sprayed with odoriferous mists of cologne samples, by smiling, young girls, costumed fetchingly, as elves armed with aerosol cans, at the entrances to all department stores.

  • I resolve, with all the forbearance of the Stoics, to listen attentively to, and to answer truthfully, all questions of telemarketers who call at dinnertime to perform surveys for products I don’t use, and services I have no need for.

  • I resolve, whenever asked, to refinance my mortgage, consolidate my debts, and with unwavering appreciation, utilize the services of high interest lenders, who will gladly offer money when the big banks won’t.

  • I resolve, with a secretiveness worthy of the CIA, to use separate, and distinct PIN numbers, and passwords, which, I promise, I will faithfully change monthly for each and every one of my bank accounts, pension fund accounts, on line service providers, computer programs, home security systems, electronic door codes, and web page log in forms.

  • I resolve, with a consumer’s devoted adherence to Capitalism and Free Enterprise, to study, with all due diligence, every word, of each License and Use Agreement, accompanying new computer software or on line services.

  • I resolve, with a lawyerly attention to order and detail, to read thoroughly, answer all questions, and return promptly, all limited warranty registration forms, but only after first perusing carefully all warning labels, stickers, and manuals, and before assembling or operating newly purchased alarm clocks, lawn mowers, stereos, cameras, toasters, and other household appliances, and garden equipment.

  • I resolve to read completely, and to commit to memory, all provisions of my health care insurance plan, no matter how arcane, including those clauses which specify medical procedures covered, medical procedures not covered, medical procedures partially covered, individual deductibles, family deductibles, Co Payer provisions, In plan charges, Out plan charges, approved HMOs, approved PPOs, approved primary care physicians, specialist referral procedures, approved specialists, and hospitalization certification procedures.

  • I resolve, with an accountant’s sense of decorum, to patiently attempt to understand all bills, written in undecipherable procedural codes, and issued by hospitals, health care providers, and health care plans, which I receive, no earlier than twelve months after the charges were incurred.

  • I resolve, with an unrequited lover’s knowledge of rejection, to contact my dentist for an appointment, the minute I receive his postcard, reminding me I am due for my checkup.

  • I resolve to hold, in the highest regard and esteem, Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake, Maury Povich, and Jerry Springer, and to view, with the deepest sense of compassion, and understanding, their poor, afflicted guests.

  • I resolve, with an energetic industry worthy of Sisyphus, to complete and return all subscription blow in cards, in every magazine I receive each week, regardless of when my subscriptions expire.
These are my resolutions; which so help me God, I will keep.

Happy Holidays.

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