In 2013, it's so long, Old Dave, hello, Nuevo Dave-o

Special to The Globe and Mail

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For those of us imbued with high levels of self-loathing, New Year’s Resolution Week (yes, I’m stretching it out, like retailers with Boxing Day – I need a whole week to confront my problems) is our highest holiday.

It’s our Yom Kippur, a chance to look back on the past 12 months – and squirm and groan with shame, regret and self-recrimination, to ask ourselves “why, why, why?” and to bring our fists down on the table and swear that this year everything’s going to be different, including and especially everything about us.

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To put it in perspective: My wife, Pam, who (quite rightly, I think) feels pretty good about the shape she’s in, the state of her career, and how she conducted herself in 2012, has made a New Year’s resolution to roll up her sleeves and organize her pictures and videos. She’s a little ticked at herself, quite frankly, because that was also her New Year’s Resolution last year.

Disorganized pictures and videos: That’s her biggest regret from 2012! Whereas I, simmering in a jambalaya of self-loathing like a fat capon, think back on the tragicomic festival of foolish faux pas, moronic missteps and richly deserved comeuppances that characterized 2012 for me – culminating in a bizarre “exploding fondue” incident on New Year’s Eve. (I became impatient with how slowly the cheese was melting, and transferred what I thought was a heat-proof casserole dish from its bain-marie right onto the element.) I hang my head in shame.

But see, this is the beauty of this time of year. That was “Old Dave.” He’s got nothing to do with me! I hereby announce a completely revamped, vastly improved Nuevo Dave-o for 2013!

Nuevo Dave-o 2013 will eat less, drink less, weigh less, exercise more, earn more – generally make hair-raising improvements to every aspect and facet of Old Dave’s character.

For starters, Nuevo Dave-o will be nice to mother at all times. Everyone agrees: My mother is a true delight and great humanitarian. So why would anyone be such an ungrateful wretch as to be testy with her? (Maybe because mothers have a way of pushing buttons. Actually, they don’t even need buttons. They have a special remote.)

I recently had a bit of an eye scare and wound up in the emergency room, my vision all blurry. I was levitating with fear I might be going blind. Anyway, it was nothing, but when I tell my mother, a former nurse who has a bee in her bonnet about the connection between (Old Dave’s) high blood pressure and macular degeneration, she slyly asks: “When you were at the hospital, did they take your blood pressure?”

I actually brought the palm of my hand down on the kitchen island: “Mom! It wasn’t macular degeneration! I can’t believe you’d bring that up! Again!”

But that’s classic “Old Dave.” No more of that. Faced with a similar set of circumstances, Nuevo Dave-o 2013 will smile quietly to himself and reflect that his mother is just looking out for him, as she always has.

Speaking of remaining calm, Nuevo Dave-o 2013 will do so at all times. As I write this, we’re on a family vacation in a (rented) cottage in the middle of nowhere, and on our way in it got a little dark, we got a little lost, we were a little low on gas and, I confess, I got a little panicky.

Old Dave: What a coward. Pam had to be the one with the “cool head that prevailed,” I’m ashamed to say. From now on it’s going to be Nuevo Dave-o with the cool head that prevails. My dome’s going to be so frosty, I’ll have to brush off the snow before putting on a hat.

Nuevo Dave-o will also keep in better touch with far-flung friends and siblings; honour my father, not to mention my father-in-law and mother-in-law; pontificate less and listen more to my kids, remember that they have at least as much to teach me as I do them. In business matters, I plan to take my cue from this real-estate agent who showed up at my door one day, cold-calling. I hate people who roll up and knock on the door, interrupting my work flow – but she was so nice and friendly, I wound up showing her around the house. And she’s been e-mailing me ever since, even though I’ve told her the only way Pam and I are leaving this house is in a pine box.

The point is: “incredibly friendly yet unbelievably persistent” – my watchwords for business affairs in 2013.

Nor do I forget my relationship with you, gentle readers (“and still gentler purchasers,” as Byron would say). I love you all. Whatever your resolutions are, let’s all stick to them together, friends. As Bane says in The Dark Knight Rises (under somewhat sinister circumstances, I admit): “It doesn’t matter who we are. What matters is our plan.” Truer words have never been spoken – at least, not by a guy wearing a mask that pumps painkillers into his face.

So join me, people, in making a plan, and executing it with the will, conviction, and energy of a super-villain in 2013. I can feel it. This could be it – the year everything changes.