It’s almost time to make your annual declaration of intent to modify your behaviour. Just after midnight on the 1st of January. How very arbitrary. Why not six minutes past three on the afternoon of June the 16th? Or every second Saturday on which at least eighty-five hedgehogs succumb to heart disease? The timing of our celebrations is based upon a calendar that isn’t even universally embraced by all creeds and faiths; a calendar that over the past few thousand years has been tweaked, overhauled, altered and re-branded more times than a dodgy double-glazing company trying to avoid paying its creditors.
Still, it’s rather too easy – and ultimately pointless – to get bogged down nit-picking the existential minutiae of our lives; to go down the route of ‘but grass isn’t green, because ‘green’ is just a word we invented that can never speak to the real truth of greenness, whatever that is, and, anyway, what IS truth?’. That way madness (not to mention never being invited to parties) lies.
Arbitrary or not, the intersection of the 31st of December and the 1st of January has been selected as our period of rebirth and reinvention. And we always, without exception, half-arse the shit out of it. Some of us no-arse it. Still, rebirth is a lofty ambition; no wonder the fail rate is so high. We’re so bad at it that it actually has a severely negative impact on our health. We decide in September that we’re going to give up smoking fags and eating takeaway in the New Year. So what do we do? We spend four months smoking like beagles in an illegal research lab, and treating every meal like it’s been ordered by a death-row inmate on the eve of their execution. We eat, we smoke, we eat, we smoke. Sometimes we eat and smoke at the same time, or smoke bacon and eat cigarettes. Who cares, right? We’re quitting on the 1st of January. Right?
Wrong. All you’ve succeeded in doing is shave another six months off of your already short lifespan. And converted six healthy months into six months of black-legged, chest-scrunching agony.
In spite of that, here are my resolutions for 2018:
- Become a tiger. This is not a metaphor. I’m going to become an actual tiger. I just need to find the money for the surgery. Then I need to learn how to play golf. Which will be difficult with four paws, but that’s part of the challenge.
- Pose nude for page 3. Any amateur can do that in the Daily Sport. I’m going to do it in Angler’s Monthly. Catch THAT, JR Hartley.
- Become nationally famous for the catchprase: ‘WOAH! WHO ORDERED THE SPANISH FRITTATA OVER HERE, AM I RIGHT?’
- Reduce The Krankies by three-quarters.
- Get Pixar to commission your sequel to ‘Up’. In ‘Under’, a grief-stricken Russel will take to the clouds for one final adventure atop Mr Frederickson’s balloon-powered coffin, with only the stuffed corpse of his talking dog and 600 paracetemol for company.
- Steal money and then invest it ironically. I’m especially looking forward to funding a golden archway for Peta’s headquarters using McDonalds’ billions, and launching the Vatican’s new condom: ‘Pope one on, Pope it up.’ The slogan: ‘The Pope says: always wear a hat.’
- Become a Scientologist. And then escape from them, and get my own TV show about it. Which will be co-hosted by a quarter of a Krankie.
- Become a celebrity medium, and then wait long years for Les Dennis and Beyonce to die so you can use your fucking brilliant jokes (‘If he’s up there, I’ll give you the money me’self’ and ‘Are y’all here for the Seyonce?’) and then retire.
- Try to get chocolate coins accepted as Scotland’s new currency unit, to see if we Scots are the unhealthy wrecks the world thinks we are; for instance, would I use twenty coins to buy twenty pounds worth of chocolate in a shop, or would I tear the foil off those twenty coins in my pocket and eat the equivalent of £1.50 worth of chocolate because I’m a greedy, impatient fat bastard?
- Run for parliament. And then at the last minute veer off so you don’t break your nose or get shot by armed police.
- Not die. I’ve been pretty good at this one thus far.
Happy New Year, you filthy animals.
PS: My real resolution is to surround myself with moments like the one my family and I witnessed and was lucky enough to capture (below) in a playpark in Culross earlier this year, when an elderly husband and wife took to the swings and enjoyed a few moments of fun, light and laughter. I asked their permission to take the picture. I should’ve asked their permission to hug the shit out of them, too. Not like me to end on a smile, is it? Maybe I’m about to turn over a new leaf.
They’re probably both dead now, right?
(maybe we can forget the new leaf)