Do we honestly examine our faults and foibles at the start of every new year with a firm resolution to change? How long does it take to start free-balling on snacks and fast foods again? On picking up just one more cigarette? Or controlling temper?
The mea culpas flow like fast-running rapids, but they easily stagnate with rationalizations. I'm not perfect, so why not just one bad habit or another? And, zap! Another good set of intentions hit the fan.
But, wait! What's wrong with not pointing at one's own faults and look instead at others - far worse than yours, of course - that ought to be eliminated or changed? Hmmm.
For a starter, what about those little sticky labels found on fruit and vegetables - the most useless, irritating things that one day just happened and are now de rigueur? Come on, folks - make a resolution to stop sticking them on anything and everything.
What about the zillions of ads that have begun creeping into our computers for things we don't want and don't need? Clothes, food, Cuban cigars, meds to boost the libido, meds to perform miraculously for our looks - beauty aids to cure everything from falling dandruff to yellowing teeth, invitations to try new hospitals, insurance policies, overseas lotteries, offerings for education via electronics - all guaranteed to make your life happier, healthily - but not necessarily wiser.
Can't someone out there resolve to stop bombarding us shoppers with gimmicks and jimcracks, and turn instead to inventing things that will last and we really need, like a remote that will locate anything programmed into it, from cell phones to car keys - all registered in one stationary gadget? Or shoelaces that don't break after a dozen uses? Or kitchen utensils that actually do what they're supposed to do without malfunctioning?
A needed resolution among electronic manufacturers: Stop the relentless upgrading so that what we buy is not immediately obsolete, so that we don't have to learn all over again how to use any new piece again?
How about convincing parents that their little darlings really shouldn't run freely in public places -?and that includes places of worship as well as restaurants, formal meetings, and shops. Train them while they're young, and we've got a win-win situation.
Ours is one of the finest democracies on the globe. So why don't we all resolve to keep it that way by being more objective about how we vote into offices, without letting ignorance or personal biases get in the way? What about exercising our memories better, looking into the past to learn how to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again?
Worrying excessively about being "politically correct" might once have had its point, but it resulted in becoming overly sensitive and even grammatically incorrect. Free speech, by the way, is a wonderful thing, but let's resolve to learn how to speak freely and correctly at the same time?
Let's resolve not to put the blame for our shortcomings elsewhere and pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, rather than expecting the 1 percent to do so for us. There's no free lunch. Eventually, everything we get from others is going to be paid for in spades, one way or another.
Is it possible to remember that our country is a melting pot, and not a whole lot of self-satisfying groups - from tea parties to racial bigots, from ultra feminists to insistence on embracing gender differences, in fact, from just about any possible sense of thinking oneself an underdog - and come together as Americans, period? Could we go back to the idea that rules and regulations are made for the greatest number, and not split into self-asserting, anarchistic units? A house divided against itself...
And if Hollywood and TV found that life is not just about coupling like animals, wouldn't this be a happier New Year?
Rotten Tomatoes averages: "Tin Tin," A-; "We Bought a Zoo," B.