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.
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.