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Kelly: Key to making good resolutions is by not reaching too far

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Mikel KellyBecause we have begun a new year, I will now resort to that old newspaper cliché: making resolutions.

I know, I know. I hate ‘em, too. But you have to keep trying, right? And, like the poor devil crawling across the desert afraid to stop wiggling for fear the buzzards will assume he’s on the menu, I thought I’d take a stab at some, just to keep people from thinking old Smelly Kelly is done for, even if that’s what most of the evidence suggests.

And it may help for me to point out that I firmly believe the key to making successful new year’s resolutions is to be realistic and keep them modest in scope.

Therefore, I resolve to stay retired for all of 2016. This sounds unambitious to most ears, I’m sure, but it’s not. The fact that I continue to submit these things to the newspaper gives me away as only a partially retired pundit, so I cling to true retirement by the slimmest of threads.

Because alcohol affects my judgment in a most peculiar way, I resolve not to have more than two drinks at any one sitting. I already try to subscribe to this philosophy, but I think it’s worth reminding myself that it’s a good policy. You know how often you decide, after that first couple of drinks that — “Hey, if I feel this good now, imagine how much better I’ll feel if I have one more” — but it never works that way. Next thing you know, you’re engaging in risky and dangerous behavior and your wife is telling everybody about that time you were a complete jackass by climbing up something that was never intended to be climbed by overweight, balding old fools like, you know, me.

As a sidebar to that last resolution, allow me to add this: I resolve never to forget that having more than two drinks does NOT make me more clever or witty. I know it seems (in my own head) that it may, but it really doesn’t. I know this is true because it’s been told to me many, many, many times. And, of course, I had my father’s example to go by, which I think of as an almost-lifelong Exhibit A.

I resolve to redouble my efforts to convince the other person who lives at our house that, in my estimation, the sun rises and sets in her unearthly countenance. This no doubt sounds like the most absurd of all my resolutions — anyone who knows me at all will testify that I could not be any more devoted to the person who’s shared my name for almost 49 years — but the last few months, as I’ve served as primary caregiver while she’s suffered from failing hip joints and subsequent recovery from bilateral hip replacement, I’ve learned that I actually really do love her more every day, so sue me.

I resolve to continue rooting for the Ducks. As I told my friend Kevin last week, when I was leaving his house for home after that historic, three-overtime comeback by a plucky TCU team, “It IS only a game, you know.” I said that because he was visibly upset, and he isn’t a native Oregonian, a graduate of the UO (as I am), or even a huge follower of college football. And after I said it, I had the strangest feeling that it was, after all, indeed true.

I resolve to continue exercising every day, either by walking at least half an hour or going to my fitness club, where I can do an assortment of physical things. That’s the advantage of already doing something good. Resolving to keep it up is, I believe, every bit as admirable as you folks who make similar promises but just happen to be starting from scratch.

I also resolve to keep watching what I eat. Unlike the other person who lives at our house (who is a snacker), I can limit myself to proper meals at designated mealtimes, but I am a glutton who needs to remember that (not unlike the drinking mentioned in resolution No. 2), I only need so much food to be full. I know that, but I’m always suspicious that I may not get enough.

Mikel Kelly is the former chief of the central design desk for Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune, and he contributes a regular column.