A new year — a new list of dreams

I subject myself to this every year.

As one year comes to a close, and the next kicks off with a clean slate, I compile my list of resolutions — hoping against hope to make myself a better man and a better person for the community. I decide that a little tweak here, some willpower there, and having a positive mental attitude will make me a better person across the board.

Easy, right?

Well, maybe not for me. Look, don’t get me wrong. I start out every year with the best of intentions, but usually end up falling on my face sometime around Jan. 6. That’s when I typically see a chocalate-covered pound cake sitting on a store’s shelf, or I decide that watching “The Shawshank Rendition” for the 987th time is more important than volunteering for some noble endeavor, or something on deadline gets my insides cooking like a crock pot full of pig knuckles. Basically, I’m a weak man when it comes to self-control.

But this is a new year, and there is a new leaf to be turned by yours truly. So, with a heart-full of good intentions, I present my list of 2008 resolutions.

• I’m going to get back in shape. Since I’ve been saying this every year since about 1996, it might ring hollow, but this is the year my bathroom scale gets a much-needed break from the stress I’ve been putting on it every morning. On a related note, I’m hoping that this is also the year I can finally make it up the stairs at home without stopping halfway to hit the oxygen tank.

• I resolve to only watch a handful of Baltimore Orioles games this year. I never learn my lesson on this one, and become far too emotionally-attached to this team. Every offseason, I look at their roster, and decide that if a few of the young pitchers get it together, and some of the everyday players have career years, the Orioles can really do some damage. This philosophy hasn’t worked out so well for me over the past 10 years, and I realize that by about June every year I have an ulcer that beats to the tune of “I’m in Birdland.” Not this time. No, sir. However, if Daniel Cabrera and Nick Markakis can really take their games to the next level, and if some of the utility players ...

I’m hopeless. Save yourself. Go Orioles!

• This is the year I quit tobacco products entirely. No cigars on quiet nights. No smokeless tobacco to get me through hectic moments. It’s all done. Well, I’ll start in a few weeks. Bowl games require a big cigar, and deadlines call for a small dip. This one isn’t starting out too well, is it?

• I resolve to try to help out with more local organizations, but to limit the hours I spend on them. Does that make sense at all? Let me try again. I resolve to try to help out more people, while focusing less effort on specific organizations and events. You know, throw my hat into the ring to do some things for other organizations, instead of spending 50 hours a week on one thing or another.

• On a related note, I resolve to be more clear the first time I explain things.

• I resolve to put away some money this year, instead of investing only in every electronic device that comes my way. It’s getting to be that time to concentrate on my future, and I guess that next XBox 360 game that features swords, lasers and bikini-clad women can get pushed to the back-burner.

• I resolve to play more video games with bikini-clad women and swords. Sorry, but that just sounded too cool. I just won’t buy it. I’ll wait until Ryan Saxton does, then I’ll play it at his house.

• I resolve to make less fun of my parents in my column. For the record, my father does not bathe in Irish whiskey every day, and my mother does not flip out for no good reason. Excuse me, I have to take this phone call. It seems Mom is flipping out on Dad because he’s using a bottle of Bushmills for shampoo.

• I resolve to be more patient with the reporters this year. No more harassing Ryan or John Denny for stories getting done earlier, and no more questioning the way they manipulate words to form their leads. Let’s file this under resolutions that probably won’t happen.

• This is the year I get my driver working again on the golf course. I’m finally hitting my irons well again, and my short game usually figures itself out pretty quickly every year. But this is the year I stop nearly hitting children waiting on the school bus — especially when the bus stop is about 200 yards to the left of the golf course.

• I resolve to try to make Susan Lyons’ life easier this year. I’ll try to help her out in lessening her workload, will attempt to be a better friend to her and will no longer discuss hermaphrodite hobbits or my plans for restructuring the Sussex County Council, thus reducing a big part of her stress.

• This is the year that my plan for replacing the current Sussex County Council with a team of hermaphrodite hobbits comes to fruition.

• I resolve to make myself a better editor, a better mate and a better man this year. Granted, all of the above items may not make the final grade, but I’m really going to focus my efforts this year on just doing everything a little better. Happy new year.