This is the time of year when nearly everyone seems to be making some sort of resolution about what they’ll be doing (differently, usually) in the New Year. I suppose it’s a nice gesture, but we have to admit that it’s generally kind of pointless, right? .
Most people don’t bother following through, and by some time in February the resolutions seem to be as relevant to our lives as Donald Trump is to a presidential race (or anything except for a bad hair contest, really). I’m not against the tradition, really, but maybe we should recognize its lack of effect and try something else. Why not replace ‘resolution’ with ‘retribution?’ Similar to the (Seinfeld) tradition of airing of grievances at Festivus, instead of a list of ways to improve yourself make a list of people who have done you wrong and figure out ways to retaliate. Preferably inventive ways that involve hiding pieces of smelly fish and cheese in your subjects’ apartments or workplaces. At least that’s the sort of thing that sends the kind of message I like to convey.
Perhaps the above is a less than realistic suggestion, but maybe there is still something to be done with the idea of a New Year’s Resolution to improve its efficacy. If we acknowledge that we as individuals are incapable of following through on promises made to ourselves, maybe what is needed is something more communal. Why not a national resolution made as much to each other as to ourselves? Online a bunch could be proposed, and individual constituencies could choose which they’d like to follow. People in California could resolve to learn to drive in the rain, people who watch TV could resolve to stop watching those horrible people who always seem to be on the Bravo Channel (often housewives for some reason, and that awful man who talks with them sometimes), Penn State coaches and Catholic Clergy could resolve to leave young children alone—think of the problems that could be solved if a community could help its individuals find the willpower to adhere to their resolutions. If all the people who post on Facebook every time they go to the gym agreed to stop doing that, imagine how society would be improved! (I know—start with small goals and work toward the really big problems, but please allow us a few dreams.)
The idea may seem far-fetched, but given the success of the current resolution scheme I don’t see how this could be worse—and it could turn out far better. So get your suggestions on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other intrawebz to make this go as viral as a bad case of bird flu. And if it doesn’t work, you can always put together an enemies list and carry out your New Year’s Retributions.