Cliff Notes for the New Year

Yodaleyheehoo! Did someone mention a year-end “Fiscal Cliff?” Hah! Those D.C. guys are amateurs. I (and I’ll bet you too) have negotiated so many fiscal cliffs that the Club Alpin Francais has made me an honorary life member.

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Published January 11, 2013 8:13 PM
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tommcdermott thumbYodaleyheehoo! Did someone mention a year-end “Fiscal Cliff?” Hah! Those D.C. guys are amateurs. I (and I’ll bet you too) have negotiated so many fiscal cliffs that the Club Alpin Francais has made me an honorary life member.

 

By T.W. McDermott

 

tommcdermott bigYodaleyheehoo! Did someone mention a year-end “Fiscal Cliff?” Hah! Those D.C. guys are amateurs. I (and I’ll bet you too) have negotiated so many fiscal cliffs that the Club Alpin Francais has made me an honorary life member.

 

Say You Want A Resolution? Frankly, I never make them. I finally figured out that the fact I have to make the same-old resolutions in the first place means I’m not likely to be a person who makes it with resolve much past Valentine’s Day.

 

The way I look at it is if you have a Valentine who loves you, you’ll probably figure you don’t need those silly resolutions about exercise, weight, and money (the National Resolution Society* ranks these 1, 2, 3). And, if you don’t have a special V in your life, you’ll get depressed about that and eat, watch way too much Netflix, and buy a bunch of stuff you don’t really need.

 

Time Is On My Side: Aside from being one of my favorite Stones’ anthems, which I heard/saw them play live at the old Academy of Music on 14th Street in ’64 or ’65, I prefer to think time is on my side this time of year. You might say that, instead of a resolution I begin with an illusion. But, then, maybe you’re still grumpy about yet another ugly sweater your sister gave you for Christmas.

 

Nearing New Year’s Day, my temporal thoughts did not hinge on some ball descending from a tower in “Times” Square filled with people from foreign lands like Denmark or New Jersey. If you want time to be on your side, as I do, you’ll think of the 10,000 Year Clock being developed by The Long Now Foundation (http://longnow.org). You can see by the website that I’m not making it up.

 

I hedge my bets by not having to shrinkwrap everything I’d like to do into one single 2013. I like to slow things down, not speed them up. Besides, I’m a sucker for ideas like the Long Now that trace its beginnings to: the Merry Pranksters (see early Tom Wolfe), Stewart Brand (see “Whole Earth Catalogue”), the people who really developed the Internet (Sorry, Al), and even Warren Buffet, the President’s pet billionaire.

 

Approaching a new year with a really, really long view doesn’t mean you can/will procrastinate. On the contrary, you’ll steadily pace yourself and get more done better. Or, may like Beckett, Sam not Thomas, you’ll fail better.

 

Only problem is, at the end of 2013 you won’t know that I’m right for another 9,999 years. Trust.

Intention Deficit Syndrome**: If you’ve been hung up on making resolutions, you may be suffering from this common ailment; consequently, you may be choosing resolve over its cousin, intent. When we intend to do something, we freely admit that it just might not get done and there will be no guilt or penalty. Yes, I thought you’d prefer this method. Guilt is so 2012!

 

Herewith, a few personal 2013 intentions:

 

1. Start, again, and finally finish “The Magic Mountain.” Talk about cliffs! I’ve climbed this mountain in the tram with old Hans Castorp many times, but never made it back down to the last word on the last page. I keep four editions and two translations nearby. Maybe this is the year, jawohl? Odds: not good.

 

2. Become a completely non-NFL, non-NBA person. Who wants to root for a home team that only shows up to really play half the time (Giants)? Who wants to watch 72 minutes of commercials during a three-hour telecast of a 60-minute NFL game? I seriously doubt that many of these awful NBA teams could have beaten Coach Jack Curran’s Archbishop Molloy teams of the 60s/70s, or the Wooden/Kareem UCLA teams, or, are you kidding me, the Russell Celtic teams? Please. Odds: hopeful.

 

3. To visit the Barnes Foundation collection in Philadelphia. Odds: good, if the “DG” (Darling Girl) is game.  

4. To visit the Glass House in New Canaan. Odds: Slam dunk.

 

5. To see any 2013 movie in which Jennifer Lawrence appears. Odds: Up to her.

 

6. Something my notes referred to as called “1st A vs. 2A,” and, if anyone can tell me what this one is, I promise to do it and report back! Odds: Up to you.

 

* As far as the author knows, there is no such society, but maybe there should be one.

 

** Ditto for this ailment. Made it up.

 

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