New Year’s resolutions I promise to keep (maybe)
I always keep my New Year’s resolutions.
The secret to my success is that I keep the list short (no more than four specific goals) and private (written down and hidden in a favorite book, checked on at various points throughout the year). This year, however, I begin a new tradition–a much wider and more expansive list and made public a good month and change before the zero hour lands:
1. Ignore Dick Cheney and his family. Let him get all the awards he can get his paws on and then hand them off to loyal Scooter Libby to have and to hold in lieu of a law license. I have no idea why he keeps getting awards or what they could possibly be for and I don’t care. I will ignore him not only in 2010 but until one of us dies–unless Mr. Cheney finally mans up and admits his many mistakes–how wrong he was on, well, EVERYTHING. And how many young men and women have died and suffered because he was so very wrong. One apology would go a long way toward finding redemption. Until then, he can jabber away all he wants, go hunting in Wyoming, shoot another friend, buy a new tux, hire Scooter as his caddy. But me and Dickie have had our last dance.
2. The Tea-Baggers. Enough already. They will be holding a convention in 2010 with Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin as primary speakers and I would just as soon eat my own leg than listen to one single word those far-out ladies of the far-right have to say. And while we are on the subject of Ms. Palin, Alaska’s gift to animal slaughter, one word of advice, writer to writer–it would be a huge help before you sat and actually had someone else write your book, to maybe read one or two. I know, I know, she’s out-selling Dan Brown and probably The Bible by now. But you should really give a book your best shot, gosh darn it, and blaming the McCain folks for everything other than getting your teenager pregnant is not the classiest way to go.
3. Rep. John Boehner. He’s off my eye chart until he does two things and does them before 2010 is out. First, enough with the man tan or whatever the hell he does to make his skin look like something that would make George Hamilton cough up his lunch. Then, next time he holds up a copy of the Constitution and quotes from it, he needs to make sure he actually quotes from it. Last time he tried that stunt, he quoted from the Declaration of Independence. Doesn’t matter, I suppose. His less-than-tan crowd still cheered and whistled at his every word, showing they were not sure which was which either or they too were on their way to Jake’s Stop and Glow Tanning Salon. Find a doctor, Congressman and get yourself some sun block.
4. I’m going to drop 30 pounds by summer. Now, I do work out, at least 4 times a week but I love to eat and drink and the weight seems to stay the same or the number creeps up the ladder a bit. So, hit the gym every day, do my usual two hours, cut down to two meals, no snacks, back off the bread and carbs and see which way the scale tilts. I admit to having reasons other than health for this one. I have a new book coming out in early July. That means a publicity tour. That means photos. I’m 55 and bald. I can’t change that. But 55, bald and in shape–that may not move books, but it can’t hurt either.
5. Buy fewer books. I confess to being a book junkie. I probably have done more to keep Amazon, the chains and the independent book stores in my neighborhood ringing up sales than any person in the Tri-State area. This, despite the fact I get sent books for free from publishers and friends and judging committees all year long. I have already started to ease up on my addiction–I use my library card more than ever and while I take out six books at a time, it doesn’t cost me any money as long as I return them. I’ve also started buying used books–much cheaper and I still get to keep the book. So, read more and buy less is the motto.
6. Be a better father. There is a tendency when your children reach a certain age (mine are 27 and 23, respectively) for a parent to back off a bit (yes, even an Italian father). They are, in every respect, adults now, with careers and lives of their own. I didn’t want my parents to intrude on me at that age and felt the same reasoning should apply to my own children. But, maybe I went a bit too far. I didn’t see them as much as I would have liked and I miss having them around.
7. Good Bye Morning Joe. I have been an Imus in the Morning fan since I was a kid listening to him back in his drug-fueled radio days. I am happy he is back on a network I can get on my TV and thrilled to see he is as grumpy as ever. I will admit to turning off the sound whenever Bo Dietl goes on one of his rants (especially since, like most of the free world, I have no idea what he is saying or why). Otherwise, the show is in great hands with Charles, Bernie, Lou and the gang. As to Morning Joe, he was a good fill-in while Imus was on the farm network and I grew to like him and it was a pleasure to listen to Chuck and Mike and crazy Pat. But Mika’s act was boring from the starting gate and Joe humping his book every three seconds for the entire summer was enough to make me want to see what Fox and Friends was really all about. But no more complaints from me about Joe, Mika or her dad. I got the I-Man back and whether he likes it or not, I’m sticking with him (except for the Bo parts).
8. Write more. I’ve been writing for money since I was 17–some years not much money; other years, more than I could count. Still, I could write more and better and devote my full attention to the business of writing. That means read more newspapers, magazines and web sites; watch more TV shows, see more plays and movies and really pound out the books, scripts, magazine pieces and yes, blogs, at a much more accelerated pace. The business has grown harder and harsher. With luck, I can reach my peak during these next five years, find out if I can be better at it than I have been and produce work I can point to with pride.
9. Ignore the Obama Bashers. Now, I admit, this one will be tough but needs to be done. It helps that I don’t watch Fox nor am I a member of the Klan. I am not a birther, a tea bagger or any other cute little catch phrase those opposed to the President on anything and everything like to call themselves. And every time someone tells you it has nothing to do with race, bet the mortgage (if you still have one) that is has EVERYTHING to do with race. Instead, they prefer to wrap their displeasure around the flag of fiscal conservatism–arguing that health care and the study of science or cap and trade will strip our grandchildren of their future. Really? Why were these concerns not voiced when the flames of the Iraq war were being fanned? What about their grandchildren then? The ones who died needlessly in a war that never needed to be fought? The money from that war alone would have funded health care in this country for everyone for decades. But they didn’t care about it then. Nor did they piss and moan when those Bush tax cuts made it easier for them to pay the country club dues and hit the links with the other members in the checkered pants. They have decided to ruin Obama by denting him at every turn. When he bowed to the big dog from Japan, they were offended. But when Bush held the Saudi boss’s hand as if they were on a prom date, no one said a word. They hate him because he is a smart African-American holding what they see as a white man’s job. And the hell with them.
10. Take that special someone to Paris. I have never been there and it’s not because I hate the French. Quite the opposite–I love the French. We would not have won the Revolutionary War without their help. I love their wine, their women, their food, their movies and TV shows. My two all-time favorite authors are Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo. I have never been to the South of France but would pack up the dogs and the sweatshirts and move there tomorrow if offered the chance (see “A Good Year” and you’ll understand). It’s just that whenever I have the chance to go to Europe, I head to Italy. I was made in Italy and feel at home in that country more than in any other place in the world. And, despite going there since I was 14, there is still so much more for me to see. Plus I have family there, most of whom I care about. Some of my happiest memories are there. Italy is where I belong. But in 2010, Paris is where you will find me with a beautiful woman, much too patient all these years, by my side, walking slowly down the streets of the city of lights.
It’s as close to heaven as I’ll get in 2010.
Or maybe ever.