“No author dislikes being edited more than he dislikes not to be published.”
— Russell Lynnes
I was standing in the kitchen talking with Cameron and my girlfriend was present. It was just before New Year’s and we were discussing how people follow each other off the metaphoric cliff by making New Year’s resolutions.
I said to Cameron, “Laura’s New year’s resolution is to be a better girlfriend. And mine is to let her!”
Okay, if everyone agrees not to show this column to my girlfriend one of us will not break their New year’s resolution by tomorrow!
I was trimming my mustache and Don Johnson type facial hair. I know that to compare myself to Don Johnson for some is almost a mortal sin and to others it’s like, “Who in the world is Don Johnson?” To the latter I simply say that is why we have YouTube.
Anyway, as I began doing those fine touches where you are kind of trimming right under the lower lip with my rechargeable beard and mustache trimmer on that Fu Manchu type whisker strip right under the center of my lower lip, I accidentally got too close and nicked my lower lip. And yes, it was as painful as it sounds. There is very good sound reasoning in why my girlfriend doesn’t allow me to use her power tools at which she is expertly adept in operating. Gee, I suppose since power tools are rarely Energizer Bunny powered, nicking your lower lip with one of those would really suck.
But I digress.
Here we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year. And while I absolutely resolve never to trim my Miami Vice facial hair growth with an actual power tool, I am not feeling any pressure to make any New Year’s resolutions this year. I have in the past. I have never kept score on how many were successful. I do tend to think of myself as Sacramento Kings of New Year’s resolutions. Sorry for the NBA reference. I do attempt to appeal to as wide a variety of reading public as is humanely possible. I hope that just by the fact that many people reading this have no idea just who the Sacramento Kings are that I have somehow proven my point with such a metaphor.
I could just as easily have used a simile and appealed to the more intellectually educated English majors.
My point if I have one thus far is that I have reached a most interesting point of age in my life. At some point you really are amiss if you resolve to be better. At this point in many ways people my age would be much more successful if we just accomplished being just the same as last year. In my case — I found happiness with a new lady, my health was generally very good, and in many of life’s more important facets I had a pretty damn good 2019.
Of course, just because I didn’t come up with a list of resolutions there are a couple of specific goals that I would like to achieve in 2020. I actually began early and fasted for two days after Christmas, then began a fairly rigid Keto diet. I am not sure if having goals and making resolutions are the same thing.
Mostly I have learned quite a bit in the last year about living for the moment. When a devastating event alters your life in virtually every way that is possible; one has to understand that specific point. What I realized most through it all was that at any given time in our life people we know are experiencing many different things in their life. Empathy for some seems an inherent trait while others acquire it through their own life’s experience. Sadly, some never have it.
I am reminded of an old one-liner referring to Bill Clinton’s testimony under oath, “Once you learn to fake sincerity you have it made.” My goals are quite simple for 2020. Enjoy every day equally for what good it offers and for what bad doesn’t appear. And, of course, if I hit the Lottery, I will give some of it back to a good cause. I know I will certainly need some tax write-offs.
And as I look back at another year I have survived as a scribe in this weekly space I am forever grateful for people whom I have never met yet who know as much about me or even more than some who have. I have occasionally met a few of you serendipitously as I have in the grocery, during funeral home visits, in the hallways at the courthouse, and in a way sadly but simultaneously comically some who were incarcerated.
I am sure nobody will believe this but I actually spelled serendipitously correctly on my first try. There is hope for me yet.
I never have nor ever will take for granted anyone who wishes to share a part or all of the coming year during our intimate friendly weekly exchanges.
I actually selected this week’s beginning quote as a thank you to my very supportive and often helpful editor Susan Duncan. A writer-editor relationship can be adversarial. Ours is not. And a special shout out to a graphics designer named Coltin Hanson who has enhanced this column on more than one occasion this past year.
And for those who do care, my lip is much better.
— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.