What do you mean, it’s 2023? Didn’t we just change millennia?
But if we’re going to be delusional, let’s take it all the way: Didn’t The Beatles just arrive from Britain?
Unfortunately, reality refuses to go away. I should believe the mirror and get down to the important — and now, bearable — business of making New Year’s resolutions.
Years ago, I revolutionized this prickly process by making only resolutions I could keep. A 100-percent success rate has confirmed my process’s validity. So, with confidence — and not a little smugness — I present:
Rachael’s Resolutions for 2023
First, I resolve not to embrace the Liver Diet.
I will add another size to my black pants collection. Probably not a smaller size.
Continuing the clothing theme: I will leave ink pens only in wash loads that include my husband’s best shirts.
I will lose 23 of my husband’s left socks. And zero of mine.
In 2023, I promise not to buy a Tibetan mastiff puppy for 1.9 million dollars, as one dog lover did. Hubby, not a canine devotee even when it’s free, breathes easier.
His mood improves further when I resolve to root against the New England Patriots, LA Lakers, Kentucky Wildcats, and St. Louis Cardinals during 2023. Forever and ever.
I will not attend Punxsutawney Phil’s arrival in full ball dress — even if he and his groundhog buddies are wearing tails.
Next summer, I promise to eat three cherry Popsicles® with real sugar.
I will clear the dining room table in 2023. When in-laws visit.
However, I refuse to disturb dust in my living room. Why disrupt an archaeological wonder in the making?
Ditto for four nonfunctional boom boxes and the garage bulging with 1980s computer equipment.
I resolve to pray for drivers who cut me off: “God, please bless my interstate enemy — and protect everyone in his path. By the way, could You also dismantle his transmission?”
I resolve to yell at my computer more than I yell at people.
That smile crinkles will outnumber frown wrinkles.
Whew. That last goal appears impossible.
Unless I also resolve to ruin someone’s bad day with kindness. Every. Chance. I. Get.
Together, those final two resolutions may blow my 100 percent success record. But don’t you think it’s worth it?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What resolutions will you make for 2023?
Down-to-earth types feel one with their material universe, but I refuse to merge my being with Inanimates that Make Me Crazy. For example:
Coat hangers. When I reach for one, it twists and tangles 10 more. Pants/skirts hangers await the moment I close the closet door — then dump 15 pairs of pants.
Cereal boxes. My husband has declared the Cheerios box off limits, just because I open the wrong end. He insists I mangle the bag, but when I used scissors, my dearly beloved said I trimmed it too short. He gets more bent out of shape than the box.
Potato chip bags each contain five chips, four broken. But chips multiply with five-loaves-and-two-fish fervor into thousands when I open a bag, covering my kitchen, den and sidewalk.
Elevators. Long ago, I squished into one with a hundred other college students late to class. The elevator dropped an extra story. Now in their sixties, those people probably still prefer stairs, too.
Anything that says, “Insert tab A into slot B.” God constructed His world without a manual. I follow His example.
Ketchup packets. Manufacturers fortify “open here” spots with webbed steel. Also, booby traps that spurt ketchup up the nose of my business client. At one restaurant, a server regularly opened packets for me. Maybe she got tired of ducking.
Plastic wrap. I try to tame it with a chair and whip.
Computer “help.” Why doesn’t Bill Gates tell the truth and call it “hinder”?
Meat hammers. Inspired by the Cooking Channel, I aspired to a more sophisticated utensil than the saucer edge my mother used to tenderize. I remortgaged the house and bought a Compulsive Chef meat hammer. The head promptly flew off, barely missing Hubby. Since then, he wears a helmet to survive home cooking.
As Hubby and other down-to-earth types take cover, they wonder why God in His wisdom did not place all us antimatter marvels on our own planet. What? Leave us alone, with no one to close Ziploc® bags? Also, life on Planet Proficient would bore them to death.
Human beings need a little crazy. I derive mine from inanimate objects.
Hubby gets his from living with me.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do any inanimate objects drive you nuts?
I finally stopped refusing senior discounts. (Who was I kidding?)
Now, I find it tempting to diss the present and reverence the “good old days.” One morning, a Grouchy Old Gal stared at me from the mirror. Did I really want her to stay?
Instead, I booted her out and listed things I like about 2021. Plus a few I do not miss from the past.
First, permanent press is a gift from God. My mother spent hours starching and ironing my puff-sleeved dresses, dresses I wore while emptying mud puddles. I iron now only when I can find mine. The best thing about a no-iron worldview? Though manufacturers lie that their clothes don’t require ironing, everyone pretends it’s true.
In this millennium, we enjoy a whole new excuse for playing hooky: the computers are down.
Email is cheaper, simpler and faster than snail mail. Unless the computers are down.
Microwaves, once a figment of sci-fi imaginations, have forever banished the sinking realization: “Ack! I forgot to defrost the meat!” Okay, so they sometimes produce meals the consistency of cement, with comparable nourishment. Still, speedy microwaves helped feed my skinny physician husband at all hours. They removed gunky warm-up pans from my kitchen’s décor. Nowadays, a microwave suits our lifestyle — that of college students without food service.
Few potlucks still feature 15 kinds of marshmallow-Jell-O salad.
I’ll take Susan Boyle’s singing, as opposed to Carol Channing’s, anytime. (See YouTube — another current convenience that can take us down Memory Lane, as well as make us glad we don’t live there anymore!)
Thanks to technology, we no longer miss favorite programs or movies. We need not suffer withdrawal symptoms when leaving before finding out whodunit.
Being a grandma is way more fun than being a mom.
In a related thought, little boys’ clothes today are much cuter than those in 1970. This grandma lauds that aspect of gender equality, as I have six grandsons.
In a somewhat related thought, I appreciate bicycle helmets. Seat belts. Even kids’ car seats that demand an engineering degree and an acrobat’s body to buckle.
Few people drive Pintos anymore.
Blow-dryers and curling irons have replaced the overnight torture of brush rollers and orange juice cans. Guys, if you don’t “get” the orange juice cans, ask your wives how they prettied up for Saturday night during the 1960s. Check online photos — if you dare.
Men rarely get permanents today. During the ’70s, much of the male population appeared to have been replaced by alien poodles. Wearing leisure suits. And platform shoes.
Cigarette commercials now feature cancer victims rather than cool cowboys. In restaurants, puffing and blowing occur only when your food’s too hot.
I applaud painless antiseptics that soothe cuts, as opposed to this-is-gonna-make-you-scream Mercurochrome.
Experts now assert that chocolate and coffee are good for us.
I hate to admit it, but cell phones do keep us safe on the road. Also, if not for cell phones, thousands of husbands might still be wandering Meijer’s aisles, seeking the correct brand of pickles.
No more waiting for photos to develop. No more paying for them, either.
We now realize God can say both “you” and “thee.”
Homemade, homegrown and handcrafted items — food, clothing, even coffins — have become special again.
Using an effortless stain stick beats scrubbing grass stains with an old toothbrush. Just ask my kids.
Finally, no one sings about yummy love in their tummies anymore.
That last extinction alone brightens the 2021 landscape.
My late father, who loved classical music, would have agreed.
Perhaps I inherited my outlook from Dad. He disliked many modern trends, but he also declared the “good old days” a myth. Dad plowed too many fields behind a mean mule to romanticize the past. Riding a John Deere mower was way better.
Recalling Jim Crow laws in the South — written and unwritten — he celebrated dining with both white and African-American friends without fear.
Occasionally, Dad allowed Grouchy Old Guy to stick around.
I sometimes hang out with Grouchy Old Gal.
But mostly, I celebrate life here and now.
And welcome all the senior discounts.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What don’t you miss from the “good old days,” and what are you thankful for now?
O Lord, even in my empty nest, I find working at home a challenge. But, OMG, please give my daughter and other parents braving the joys of computer-savvy children the courage to carry on. Help the kids survive, too.
For me, the machine takeover began when a Coke machine stole my dime. Big, red and shiny, it resembled a metallic Santa Claus. Yet its friendly exterior hid a chilly heart.
Decades later, I am still at odds with machines. Especially those that tell me what to do.
Many contemporary machines keep their requests polite. My car dings apologetically when I forget to turn off its lights. My husband’s truck, however, peals like Big Ben, even when its belly bulges with $45 worth of gas.
“Don’t you dare talk to me in that tone!”
Does it listen to me? Never.
My Keurig coffee maker smarts off, too. Sure, its screen requests, “More water, please,” but it flashes an on-off light that betrays sarcasm. Reminds me of kids who demand ironed gym clothes, please (eye rolls).
The Information Age forces computers on us, sneaky machines that pose huge challenges to those who consider Ziploc® bags high tech. Don’t trust those friendly log-in welcomes. Do computers ever eat files like “My Worst Golf Scores” or “Breakfasts I Ate in 1993?” No-o-o. Mine devours IRS records and my newly finished novels. When feeling really rowdy, it emails eye-popping website links to my relatives.
I first encountered self-checkout machines at a grocery. A Voice welcomed me enthusiastically, then instructed me to scan my first item: a Death by Chocolate cake for my daughter’s college graduation. I found the UPC symbol on the cover’s bottom. Rats.
“Scan the first item and place it in the bag.” No “please.”
“I’d have to flip it over.” I held out my item for the machine to see. “It doesn’t fit in the bag. It’s a cake. An expensive cake!”
Now the ominous Voice demanded, “Scan the first item. Place it in the bag, or else.”
“I’ll bet you wouldn’t if it was your daughter’s cake!” I swung a fist at the monitor.
I’d swear it ducked.
“If you had half a brain, you could do this,” the Voice boomed.
I haven’t visited that store since. The restraining order might have something to do with that. …
I’ve heard self-checkouts now have better manners. Though with my luck, I’ll use one related to that first cake-hater. And wear the next cake I buy.
All this began with that long-ago Coke machine. I occasionally encounter its thieving descendants and fight the childhood urge to spit at them. See, machines can’t do that! Instead, I check coin returns. Once I found a quarter. Given inflation, the machine didn’t repay me for its ancestor’s larceny. But it tried.
I smiled and patted its shiny red side. That’s something machines can’t do yet, either.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are machines your friends or enemies?