One out of two ain't bad

Michael Johansen
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The year 2012 is a whole week old, and so far I've broken only five of my 12 annual resolutions.

Well, six now, since No. 4 was to stop bragging about non-achievements.

I make this resolution every year, but it rarely lasts a week. Last year, I broke it the very first day by boasting that I never drink and drive (resolution No. 8) - a pointless boast since it's such a pointless act.

I always have trouble keeping resolution No. 2, too: I resolve to eliminate my need for money and to live on fresh air and sunshine. This year, I broke it when I ran out of bread and got hungry. I needed some of the other kind of bread to get some more on Jan. 1.

Resolution 11 lasted a day longer, which is normal for that one: I resolve to not think bad things about snow. As much as I love the white stuff, I quickly get tired of shoveling it, especially when it hardly stops falling long enough to let weary muscles rest.

I thought I'd finally mastered resolution No. 7 (to never let mechanical trouble strand me in the middle of nowhere), since for the last few years I've owned a truck that doesn't require a major repair every few months, but as I've lately started relying on a temperamental old Bravo for winter transportation, I broke that resolution on Day 2. Fortunately, this is Labrador, so lots of people travel through nowhere and, as usual, the first person who saw me in difficulty stopped to help.

I also failed at resolutions 6 and 8 quite quickly. I always watch too many silly TV shows (when I have the technology available) and I should read more serious books that inform and enlighten without entertaining.

They would be easier resolutions to keep if I didn't believe that mindless escapism is good for the brain and, secondly, if I wasn't such a fan of writers like Jerome K. Jerome. I couldn't go more than a few hours into the new year without dipping into a well-worn copy of "Three Men in a Boat" and then afterwards chuckling through a fresh episode of "Psych."

Two more television-related resolutions (Nos. 3 and 9) are among those I never have difficulty keeping: I resolve to not display my brilliant talents to dance, sing or play a musical instrument on a TV idol show, or to try to sell one of my ingenious business proposals to a panel of rich people.

I'm happy to go on "Canada's Worst Driver" or "Worst Handyman," since I think I'd be voted off the show really fast, but no contest is fair if the judges are most concerned about showboating themselves.

New resolve

Resolution No. 10 is brand new: I resolve to never form a majority government with 39 per cent of the vote - which works out to about 20 per cent of registered voters and less than 10 per cent of the entire population.

I won't declare it to be "strong and stable," despite signs that it stands on shifting ideology and that I'm intellectually unbalanced.

Furthermore, I resolve to not use weak election results as a mandate to completely change Canadian society to suit my dangerously fringe views of how the world should be run, nor will I cut myself off from opinions that disagree with my own, or from information that might contradict what I already believe.

Resolution 12 gives me trouble, but it remains more or less intact: I resolve to never take Earth for granted. Sure, sometimes I put a recyclable can in the garbage and I'm still driving gasoline-powered machines when I'd rather be transporting myself cleanly and quietly (as clean and quiet as paddling a canoe), but I remain conscious of the harm I cause and I try sincerely to lessen it day by day.

Resolution No. 1 is my oldest and easiest: I resolve to hold all life dear. I resolve to cause no pain or hurt. I resolve to not kill, or to condone killing for mere sport and pleasure. I resolve to live my life and to let all life around me flourish as it will.

Michael Johansen is a writer living in Labrador.


Geographic location: Labrador, Canada

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