Ask Ceil – Forget the Resolutions

Dear Ceil

Should old acquaintance be forgot?

Forgetful in Falls Church

Dear Forgetful,

Sure. Who was that guy who sat next to you in PoliSci 101? Not the one who cheated off your paper during the mid-term; who didn’t know the definition of a coup d’etat; who, when asked “Who was the leader of the United Kingdom during World War II” replied “Winston Salem”. Not that guy.

The other one. For crying out loud, you sat right in the middle of the row, and there were five thousand people crammed into that auditorium. Someone sat on the other side, right? Didn’t you borrow a pen from him once? See, you did forget him!

OK, let’s try the lunchlady in the high school cafeteria, and not the one who screamed all the time. You know she was there, because you only got in line when the screaming lady went in the back to fill up the giant cauldron of gravy. And you know you ate food every day; someone served it to you. Do you remember her?

The fact of the matter is, there are some people who simply do not wish to be remembered. They wish to fade into the background, to keep a low profile. They don’t want to be blamed when things go wrong. They don’t want to be the mouthy guy who, when the criminals come to take hostages, they say, “We’ll take that guy,” just to piss him off. They don’t want to be in meetings where people say, “Jill, what do you think?”

Jill doesn’t want to tell you what she thinks, because as she has been sitting in your meeting, she’s been dreaming of the job she could have where you weren’t her boss. She wasn’t required to be in these ridiculous meetings. She’s just too nice to say that she has been mentally choking you with her laptop’s powercord.

The lunch lady doesn’t want to be remembered because she is frankly terrified by a roomful of teenagers. She’s seen them eat. She’s heard them talk. Most of the time, she walks home by herself, staring at the cracks in the sidewalk, trying to figure out how to start her own nation of adults.

And that guy next to you in PoliSci? He was cheating off your paper too. He was just better at it.

Should old acquaintance be forgot? Chances are, that’s exactly what they want.


Dear Ceil,

How should I handle the whole New Year’s Resolution thing? Make ’em and break ’em? Don’t make ’em at all? Hold myself to an impossible standard, judge myself too harshly, and then berate myself the whole year through?

Torn in Toronto

Dear Torn,

I have the perfect recipe for New Year’s resolution-making.

Start out with an easy one, like “I’m going to brush my hair every day.” This works even better if you happen to be bald. It’s a morale-booster. It’s something you can look at and feel good about. How about, “Every once in a while, I will call my mother before she calls me.” There’s a nice one. You can get your arms around that. And it’s occasional, so if you do it once or twice, you’re done.

Then, move on to something that makes you stretch a little bit, like “When I eat chocolate with my meal, it won’t be the only thing in my meal.” Only applicable for the three major meals. Snacks do not count. Sometimes, lunch can be a snack. You can also do something like, “If I spend all day in my livingroom staring into the void, I will switch chairs at least twice.” Exercise is important.

Finally, wind it up with a bang, something to really reach for. “This year, I will invent a perpetual-motion machine and revolutionize the energy industry.” or “I will finally discover what the hell my guinea pig is saying when it squeaks like that.” Or, “In 2012 I will be elected to office and negotiate a peace treaty between warring countries or ethnic groups.” You will never achieve these goals, but it will make you feel like you are trying to contribute to society. Or, you know, guinea pig society.

And if you do happen to do something like negotiate a peace treaty, imagine how famous you’ll be! And then people will remember you, whether you want them to or not. And if you do happen to negotiate that treaty, it will totally make it worth cheating off that guy’s paper in PoliSci.


Ceil Kessler does not own a guinea pig, has never cheated in Political Science class, and really did once tell her parents that she would invent a perpetual-motion machine. Hand to God. She also wishes you all a Happy New Year, and advises you to eat really good food, and drink really good drinks with really good friends. As a matter of fact, that is her New Year’s resolution for all the days in 2012.

Note: Chris Rowland very ably pointed out that “everyday” does not mean “every day”. Thanks, and error corrected! Chris, next time leave an angry comment, like everyone else! —CK

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14 thoughts on “Ask Ceil – Forget the Resolutions

  1. Every time someone mentions or sings Auld Lang Syne I’m reminded of the scene in When Harry Met Sally where they debate the meaning of that ridiculous song. It’s more amusing to think of that cinema classic than to try and remember the lyrics.

    As to new year resolutions, I resolve to not make any but if pressed, take out Earl’s list of wrongdoings from My Name Is Earl and tell everyone they were not worthy enough to be on my list.

    • I did look up the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne, but frankly the only ones I know are “Should old acquaintance be forgot” and “Auld Lang Syne”. The rest of it I kind of sing the same way I sing “Louie Louie”!

    • Yeah, but then I have to keep journalistic integrity by noting the change-after-publish, and give you a piece of my spotlight at the same time. Which I hate. In the future, remember: it’s all about me. MmK?

      No, actually, everyone can feel free to point out spelling and grammatical errors, in public or in private. Because I am exactly that kind of nerd. As are many of my closest friends. (Note, if you point it out in private, you’ll get a mention in my bio! Soooo exciting!)

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