Taking a clue from the national economy, I have decided to go "soft" on New Year's resolutions. None of my resolutions will be vigorous, demanding or expensive. They will be about as downbeat as the projections of the guys on the Dating Committee.
This is the short name for the Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economists, the group of seven economists who officially declare when the U.S. economy is in recession. The Dating Committee guys conducted a conference call recently, sized up the situation, and uttered the "R" word.
So in keeping with the national mood, here are sluggish resolutions for slow times.
*Resolved: I am going to get a new aluminum leg. It will be the front leg of my three-legged barbecue kettle grill. And as kettle owners know, at least those who own Weber kettles, as the front leg goes, so goes the grill.
And my old front leg ain't what it used to be. There is a hole in it, by design. The hole is supposed to hold on to a metal rack attached to the other two legs. When the hole holds the rack, the kettle remains upright. When it gives way, the kettle slouches.
Mine has been slouching for some time. And despite the rescue efforts using twigs, screws and duct tape, the hole won't hold. As a result the barbecue kettle, like the economy, is in a slump. It needs to be propped up. A new leg will rectify the barbecue kettle. Right now, nobody seems to know how to make a comparable quick fix for the economy.
*Resolved: This year I am going to drink slower. Unlike previous years when my resolutions were directed at the amount of liquids I imbibe, this year I am concentrating on the rate that the fluids flow.
I suspect that this slowdown in slurping will have no effect on the number of cups of coffee and bottled water that I end up downing. I'll swallow the same amount, but I'll savor it more.
As for beer, wine and hooch, I'll drink them more slowly as well. But I think any net decrease in the amount I drink of these potables will be linked more to the increase in federal taxes on beer, wine and whiskey, than to any increase in virtue.
*Resolved: I'm going to adopt a smoker. In previous years, smokers have been regarded as "unhealthy" people, the kind you wouldn't want to associate with. As a non-smoker I bought into this depiction. I still can't stand cigarette smoke, but I find I'm increasingly attracted to smokers.
Smokers like to have fun. They don't get all shook up over sin. And they are doing what the government says we all should do, pay lots of taxes. I could consider cozying up to this crowd, but we would have to meet outdoors -- no smoke-filled rooms.
*Resolved: I'm going to continue eating carrots. Last year in an attempt to become friendly with the world of roots, I resolved to make carrots my significant vegetable. It worked. I learned to like carrots. They taste good raw and even better when you plunge them into dip.
*Resolved: I am going to confine myself to reading only one this-food-can-kill-you story per week. I may give any number of such stories a quick once-over. But only one story per week will get my full, pepper-it-with-questions treatment. This consists of peppering the findings with questions, such as: Who did the study? What was the sample size? What was the research technique? And have the results been duplicated?
Confining myself to one story a week keeps me mentally healthy.
*Resolved: I am finally going to learn how to make good gravy. The ranks of good gravy makers are getting as thin as modern day sauce. I do know that to make a good gravy you have to cook a hunk of meat many hours and stir flour into the bubbling juices. The meat and the gravy will probably end up being recycled as several suppers.
Somehow, eating leftovers and waiting for things to start bubbling seem like the perfect activities for the months ahead.