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A resolution

Posted: January 2, 2018 10:25 a.m.
Updated: January 2, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Has another year gone by already?

Of course it has. And they will only go faster from here on out; after all, I have long since hit the on-ramp for that section of the great highway of life known as “The Downhill Slide Freeway.” Not parkway, not highway, not even frontage road; this is the full blown freeway and it’s all downhill from here.

Despite this, or maybe because of it, I am going to make one resolution this year -- the old lose some weight thing. I had this epiphany on, of all dates, Christmas Eve, at my sister’s house, about ten minutes before we were headed to Christmas Eve church services.

No, there wasn’t a voice crying from the wilderness, or a heavenly host singing, or even a flash of bright light, unless you count the stark white and inexplicably ample flesh of an abundant belly you didn’t even realize was there as a flash of bright light.

My sister is an outstanding cook and she especially loves to go all out during holidays and family gatherings. I, of course, like to encourage this behavior, because my two favorite Christmas emotions are extreme gluttony and unbridled avarice. So naturally, after a fabulous dinner, waistlines were sagging, belts cinching, buttons straining -- especially mine. Or as my grandfather, the late, great Colonel John himself was fond of saying about his waistline, “I wear a size 32, but a 34 felt so good I went out and bought a 38.”

Anyway, not to nail everyone with horrific, TMI imagery, but my epiphany came, in all its stark and cruel illumination, while I was in the bathroom. It’s bad enough that I have somehow progressed to that point in life where it’s difficult to see my own shoes from a standing position, if you know what I mean, but when I went to button my britches after zipping up, I discovered I had apparently not inhaled quite enough, with the disastrous result that the button popped right off and flew, slow motion, in a perfect diver’s arc, tumbling end over end, to gently enter the porcelain diving tank below and take up residence at the bottom of the bowl. I couldn’t have tossed a nickel into a wishing well with greater finesse, style and accuracy.

Obviously, there would be no retrieving this. 

What to do now? We were literally on our way out the door to go to church – and to complicate matters and add a little more personal holiday stress, this was the service where you pretty much stand up and sit down every thirty seconds to either sing a Christmas carol or listen to the Christmas story. This is difficult enough to do if you’ve just ingested an enormous dinner accompanied by a couple of glasses of Christmas cheer. I had visions, not of sugar plums dancing in my head, but of a pair of what are essentially oversized khaki hip waders dropping around my ankles halfway through the second verse of “Silent Night.” Such a thing could send the faithful running screaming into the streets.

To add a little more stress to the situation, I have been suffering from a little bit of trigger finger in my right thumb -- it’s a temporary but annoying condition that makes it difficult to grip, open, zip or fasten anything, anyway -- which rendered impossible my temporary solution of running  a safety pin through the button hole and pulling my sweater over it.

Finally, out of time, I did what I should have done in the first place and took a deep breath, sucked in my gut, cinched my belt as tight as it could possibly go, then pulled my sweater over it. 

For the most part, this worked. I found myself singing in this ridiculous falsetto during those moments I could breathe at all, but at least I didn’t gift the Baby Jesus – and everyone else in his Dad’s house that evening -- with a special Christmas scene of my own. Or to put it another way, the stable door pretty much stayed shut.

Generally, I never make resolutions, simply because in years past I couldn’t remember what they were, anyway and in recent years, I couldn’t even keep a simple resolution to stay up past 9:30 on New Year’s Eve. But this year, it’s going to be different. This year, I’m going to have a reason to drop my keys -- and I will be able to see where they land when I do.

Of course, that’s assuming I remember I dropped them in the first place.


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