ONE MAN'S modest New Year resolutions:
* For openers, I intend to lose 10 pounds and completely alter my eating habits. I will carefully trim the fat from my steaks. I'll peel the skin from my chicken and eat white meat instead of dark. In restaurants, I'll resist the nice hot loaf of French bread and order only from the side of the menu marked "For the Calorie Conscious."
* No more desserts, either. Ever again.
* Each morning I'll jump out of bed at 6, drop to the floor and -- off 100 push-ups and sit-ups. Then, rain or shine, I'll run five miles with a 10-pound weight in each hand. You watch and see if I don't.
* You will never, ever, hear another cross word out of me. If, for instance, I bang my thumb with the hammer, as I did last week fooling with those stupid (sorry) pipes under the sink, I will take a few deep breaths and count slowly to 50 until the pain subsides.
* From now on, I'll be the kind of person who could find something sunny to say about a famine.
* As for my long-suffering wife, well, things will be different this year. Whatever she wants to watch on TV will be fine by me. We'll go to see the movies she wants to see.
* Did I mention no more watching ballgames on TV? That's a promise. I'll put that in writing if I have to.
* No more yelling at my kids, either. If I walk in to the family room to find a puddle of juice the size of Lake Erie on the carpet and the kids doing high dives off the wall unit and onto the couch, I will calmly explain that I'm very disappointed and that this behavior is unacceptable. Then we'll sit down and think of alternate forms of entertainment for young children.
* Or better yet, I'll remind myself: "Hey, they're only kids. And accidents do happen."
* I take back anything negative I might have said about my mother-in-law and will never again roll my eyes at anything she says or does.
* Let me say this: When the collection basket comes my way in church, I'll be putting some heavy bills in it. Not that I mean to brag.
* It probably goes without saying that I'll never drink another beer. Not even one. Not even a sip.
* No more lying on the couch when there's work to be done around the house, either. No, sir. Those days are over. Raking leaves, cleaning gutters and scraping paint off the tool shed might not be the most exciting jobs in the world, but that's no excuse for sitting on your duff.
* I vow to become more disciplined in my work habits. Instead of simply --ing off a column on whatever comes to mind (as I did here, but this is the last time), I intend to sit quietly for several hours and reflect on current events, new trends in education, the environment, etc. and inspirational messages that might make for interesting topics. To do it any other way is not being fair to the reader.
* More I think of it, I haven't been very thoughtful when it comes to buying birthday and Christmas gifts for family and friends. So from now on, no more --ing into Rite-Aid at closing time and yelling to the startled clerk: "What'aya got for under ten bucks?!" I'm going to make an effort, is what I'm saying.
* That $10 ceiling on gift expenditures has been lifted, by the way. Money's no object anymore. I've seen the light.
* If I come across a little old lady doing 45 in the passing lane of a major highway, I promise not to roar up to within two inches of her rear bumper, flash the headlights and (when she won't move over) shoot her a dirty look when I pass her on the right. How you drive is your own business from now on.
* I haven't worked out all the details, but there's the distinct possibility that I'll open an orphanage in '91 and donate half my weekly salary to charity.
* I'm calling Mom every day. And writing a nice two- or three-page letter several times a week, just to let her know what's going on.
* Did I mention I'll be taking in any stray animals in my neighborhood? I should mention that.
* If I sit down to dinner and the phone rings and it's some whiny guy selling me, oh, storm windows, I will patiently listen to his sales spiel. Then I will remind myself "Hey, he's only trying to make a living like the rest of us" and purchase $500 worth of whatever he's pushing.
All these resolutions I intend to live up to in 1991, God willing and the creek don't rise.
Although if I miss on one or two, just remember: I'm only human.