Last year, in lieu of making New Year's resolutions, I made a series of resolutions on behalf of the world in general. As January 1st bears down upon us once again, I have taken the liberty of crafting some more. You get to relax and stop trying to think up a good resolution, I get to shape the world in my twisted image, everybody wins. Ready? Here we go.
I resolve, on your behalf, to stop expressing amazement at daylight saving time.
It never fails. Every year, the day after the clocks have "fallen back," someone looks outside and says, "My goodness, it gets dark so early now!" Which, on paper, I agree with — the lost hour combined with autumn's fading daylight has bumped up sunset's curtain time. No question. But we as a nation have done this for 91 years. Why the crumbling hell are you still surprised? There has never been a year of your life in which this change has not happened. Getting bummed that it's dark, that I understand. Being shocked by that same fact? Sorry, you're on your own. As far as I'm concerned, there are only two types of people allowed to express such feelings:
A) Those who fondly remember a time before we changed clocks (nonagenarians, centenarians, ageless beings of undeath, etc). B) Those who recently moved from Hawaii or Arizona, the two states that do not observe daylight savings. And nobody leaves Hawaii, so that doesn't even make sense.
I resolve, on your behalf, to stop making commercials that employ heavy use of eating/drinking noises.
I'm fighting decades of established advertising theory on this one, but hey, every revolution begins with a single shot. Advertisers assume that if we hear how unspeakably delicious their product is, we will form a visceral connection. They augment ads with sound effects to broadcast tastiness. When the guy eats the burger, we really hear him eat that burger, and when the girl drinks the beverage, we really hear her drink that beverage. Slight problem, though: Eating noises fill me with rage. My eye twitches with every bite, and I know I'm not alone. We are friendly fire casualties in the war between Coke and Pepsi. Crunching, slurping, chewing, swallowing. Horrible, horrible swallowing. (In the rough draft for this post, I actually left myself a note here: "Try to make that sound not pornographic." Basically a fail, right?) Every time Madison Avenue brings in a Foley artist to make a food product "pop," God tasers Linda McCartney.
What do you have against Linda McCartney, Madison Avenue?
I resolve, on your behalf, not to talk about Twitter with people who don't use Twitter unless they ask first.
Look, this is not to say anything against Twitter. I'm on the Twitter. I like the Twitter. But Twitter is in a place right now that reminds me of where fantasy sports were ten years ago. Either you were directly involved, or had no earthly idea what it was or how it worked. There was no in-between. In 2000, I was in a play with a troglodyte of a man who happened to live in my neighborhood. Every night, I had to listen to him talk about his fantasy football team as the subway crawled from 28th Street to Astoria Boulevard. Even as a football fan, even as someone who likes stats, I could not possibly have cared less. Then a friend invited me to play, and within a year I had teams in multiple leagues. I didn't just drink the Kool-Aid, I poured it on my cereal and used it as hair product. The first time I caught myself talking about my fantasy team with an outsider, it hit me — Sweet Jesus, I have become the troglodyte.
I see the same thing happening today when a Twitter user brings up the subject. People's eyes glaze over. They check their phones for messages, they glance at the appetizer table. They recognize someone across the room who may or may not be there. If they ask about it, that's one thing, but if they don't, save it for your followers.
With that in mind, this next resolution is only for Twitter users. The rest of you can skip ahead if you want.
I resolve, on your behalf, not to tweet questions about why things are trending.
It takes two seconds to click the hashtag. If you're still not sure what it means, it has to do with one of the Jonas Brothers' birthdays.
I resolve, on your behalf, to let go of the whole thing where technically a decade starts with 1 and ends with 0.
Certain people get bent out of shape about this, and I suppose I might seem like one of them, considering that "Science!" is the biggest tag in my cloud. However, this is one instance where "practical" kicks "technically" in the ass. The argument goes like this: There was no Year Zero, so the very first decade consisted of 1 AD through 10 AD. By extension, the 1980s technically started in 1981 and ended in 1990, despite the fact that "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em" officially launched the horrors of early 90s fashion that February. The 90s technically ended in 2000, the 21st century started in 2001, and next year completes our current decade (which for some reason we still have not named). Everyone knows one smartass who brings this up, sometimes with a note of disbelief that the rest of us can't grasp the concept. We understand math, smartass. Do the 1980s mind that we borrowed 1990 to complete the box set? As far as I can tell, the practice of labeling a decade's identity began last century. Before that, things just didn't move quickly enough for one decade to be significantly different from another. So why not make it official? Let's claim the year 1900 as part of the 20th century. The 19th century had only 99 years. Any objections? No? Good. The 21st century therefore began on Y2K, and 2009 is, in fact, the last year of this decade.
This one pains me, but I have to do it. I resolve, on your behalf, to stop saying "awesome."
We need to have a Viking funeral for the word. It has served with distinction, bringing honor to us all. But its time has come. Its own ubiquity has rendered it meaningless, even in the detached usage we have come to know and love. That plate of bacon over there? That's a plate of awesome. Louis C.K.'s last HBO special? Sixty minutes of awesome. Zombies? Awesome. Chuck Norris? Completely awesome. We've taken it as far as it can go. It's the "groovy" of the ... decade we just finished (dammit, we really need a name for this thing). Hey, I'm as guilty as anyone. Do not mistake my call to action for a denouncement. Not to go all one-hand-clapping on you, but awesome is awesome. I'm not even sure we can extricate it from our vocabulary. It may not be possible.
In fact, hang on a second ...
I resolve, on your behalf, to reduce incidence of the word "awesome" to 150 parts per million (PPM) by the year 2035.
Much better. The only way to go about this is to approach it like air pollutant reduction. We have to set a target level and work together to reach it. We can't just lock ourselves in a room and sweat out the withdrawal pains. Oh sure, we'll be clean for a while, but that never ends well. When we inevitably fall off the wagon, the crash will be even harder than before. "Awesome" will be the only adjective we say at all. Other languages will sadly shake their heads and turn their backs on us. They offered us help, and we took their money. We will have burned them for the last time.
So let's start making a change today. We can build a cleaner tomorrow, one sentence at a time. And that, my friends, will be awes- ... sorry, habit. That will be fantastic.
(Note: The above constitutes a legally binding document, and by reading it you agree to carry out all provisions therein, including the ones from last year.)