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 Texas : Features : Humor : Column - "A Balloon In Cactus"

Apologies Instead of Resolutions

by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand

For a change, this year I'm not going to fool around with a list of resolutions to alter my behavior, resolutions that have always been elasticized by my characteristic rationalization. There's always a way around those things if you can only justify your case first to yourself, and then try to fool everybody else.

For instance, it took me eight years to quit smoking, which had been my Number One New Year Resolution for, oh, about 20 years or so. I could always find some way to justify continuing such an enjoyable, though nasty, habit, even though my spouse at the time told me my hair stank of so much smoke, it smelled like a garbage dump and soon I'd have seagulls circling my head mistaking it for a barbecue. You know me -- I kept on smoking anyway and got rid of the husband instead.

So I figure New Year Resolutions are a bunch of phony items we want others to think we're serious about, because we know we'll break them left and right, usually by the second week in January.

Apologies are different. They last forever and can make or break a relationship with kith and kin. Speaking of kith, if Webster makes a list this year, he should consider just saying relatives and friends from now on. Who ever heard of saying "I'm going to the theater with a couple of kith.

If everybody from Mel Gibson to Tom Cruise to the Pope, for heaven's sake, can make apologies, then why not the rest of us? Sure, it's after the fact, but that's the fun of it. I can do anything I want and then cover it with an apology at the beginning of the following year. In that way, I don't have to make a commitment to improve, and then end up disappointing everyone, including myself. So here's my Apology List for 2009:

1. To my sister, I apologize for not telling you about the toilet paper hanging off the back of your skirt. Sorry, but I thought your puzzled expression was funny when everybody in the restaurant pointed at your butt and laughed.

2. To my friend Patti, I'm sorry I talked about you behind your back, even though every word was the truth. Be honest - you got a lot more requests for a date, right?

3. To my editor, I apologize for not missing that deadline on the story about the hard-hearted newspaper general manager. How could I know he'd turn out to be your boss? I hope you don't mind staying at home every day since.

4. To Kimberly-Clark Corp., I'm sorry I complained about you putting only 130 Kleenex in the same box that had 280 tissues in it only a few months ago, but I still think it's not nice to cheat customers even if times are tough.

5. To my mom, I'm sorry I put your 2008 Christmas gift on the SUV roof while I searched for my car keys, and forgot about it. Hope whoever found that cashmere scarf after it blew off the roof gets a lot of wear out of it. Take my word for it, it was really beautiful.

Maybe from now on, when I get up each day, instead of saying "good morning," I'll just start the day with a blanket "I'm sorry." That should take care of every relative and kith.

Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
December 8 , 2008 column

 
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