For my three sons: The Moe, Larry, and Curly of my heart
In my estimation, one tradition invariably compromises the joy that attends the new year: the custom of making implausible resolutions.
This year, in an effort to forestall my annual failure to keep these promises and to shift the blame if I do not abide by them, I asked each of my sons to assist me by recommending a way that I could improve myself.
Predictably, each of these disrespectful ingrates immediately asked me if he had to restrict himself to helping amend just one of my character deficiencies, but in an act of generous forebearance, I ignored their provocations and graciously requested that they limit themselves to a single suggestion.
My oldest son told me to be more patient during the coming year.
First of all, I deny that I am ever impatient; I simply refuse to tolerate people whose retrograde opinions differ from my own, better-informed views. However, I vow to become a more patient person in the coming year, if it doesn’t take too long.
My middle son asked me to be kinder in the coming year, and my first impulse was to pummel him, since I am by nature a kind person, but I restrained myself, mostly because I didn’t have a cudgel nearby, and I might have bruised my fists on his insensitive hide.
Finally, my youngest son told me that I should strive to be completely honest in the coming year, and his was the most hurtful of the three suggestions, since it cast doubt on my scrupulously truthful character. His specific complaint was that I often write things about him in this column that are false, or at least slanted. I deny this allegation, and to refute it, I will now reveal two indisputable facts about this slanderous child: His favorite color is hot pink, and despite being eighteen years old, he still needs help tying his shoelaces.
In keeping with the optimistic spirit of the season, I have decided to make resolutions for the coming year that in some measure reflect the recommendations of my three sons. I pledge to be patient when my testing offspring compromise my peace of mind with their incessant challenges to reason and good sense; I will respond with unwarranted kindness to their baseless attacks on my character; and I will never resort to fabrication or creative embellishment when describing their many shortcomings. Honest.
This posting first appeared as the frame of a wine review in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on December 30, 2002. Readers can find many more such articles in the paper’s electronic archives at www.arkansasonline.com. I truly am a very patient, very kind, and ever-truthful person, and skeptics should remember that, as everyone knows, it is against the law to tell lies on the Internet. By the way, my youngest son, whose nickname is “Pinky,” still needs help tying his shoelaces.