It’s painful to be resolute
By Dec. 31, 2002, many people had decided to start 2003 by doing such things as exercising, quitting smoking, or being more patient with
Everyone begins a new year with good intentions. Some people avoid
sweets or begin an exercise routine. Others chomp on nicotine gum or
carrot sticks to stop smoking cigarettes. A few brave people plaster
forced smiles across their faces as their germy rug rats run amok
threatening each other with grandma’s Ginzu knives.
Now that the middle of January has arrived, many who were resolute about fulfilling their New Year’s goals are starting to slack off.
I was walking toward the City Cafe Bakery for some coffee —
decaffeinated, I went off jumpy juice a few months ago because of sleep problems. Walking ahead of me were two middle-aged women in what appeared to be new exercise togs.
They were moving pretty fast and then, suddenly, they veered sharply toward the edge of the sidewalk. They then stepped off the curb and plopped their butts down on the edge.
Still breathing hard, one asked the other for a cigarette. The pair
started sucking on their cancer sticks and chatting.
“Two resolutions broken at one time: Stop smoking and start exercising,” one said.
“Our personal best,” the other replied.
I pretended not to notice these women in their moment of gleeful weakness, but eventually noticed that I was looking for discarded
cigarette butts along the sidewalk. I used to smoke but quit a few years
ago. Once I reached the cafe, however, I lost control in a different
way: I ordered a Triple Espresso and something the restaurant calls a
I had resolved to drop a couple of tons this year. Not even halfway
through the first month of the year and I had fallen off the wagon. And
I was craving a cigarette!
I was swallowing espresso like a drunk knocking back a quart of gin
after escaping from the Betty Ford Center during the walk home. I had
barely gotten through the front door before reaching inside the bag
containing the heavenly Sin-a-mon Roll. It was gone in record time. I
had even licked the sticky-sweet roll residue from my hands and from the inside of my arm without sitting down. I would have been walking briskly to the mini-market for a pack of Salem 100s if I had made it to an ATM the night before.
The caffeine jolt hyped me up so I started cleaning the house. I didn’t
finish any task because I couldn’t concentrate. Within about 30 minutes
I became real tired from the sugar. So I took a nap.
I awakened atop a magazine and started to read it. Buying magazines is another obsession. I buy dozens of them each month and likely spend the same amount of money on magazines now that I used to spend on smokes.
A copy of “O –The Oprah Magazine” had been stuck against my cheek. Oprah devoted her January issue to getting in shape in 2003. I started reading
and became reinspired. In the mirror, the advertisement slogan “get the
feeling” was imprinted upside down and backward on the side of my face after spending the sugar coma-esque nap pressed against it.
I considered the message kismet and decided I would buy a stair step.
After I washed my face.
I had grown tired of my stationary bicycle and thought it was too chilly to pull out my real bike again. Stepping on and off my porch step has resulted in a variety of trip-and-fall bruises.
The next morning, I woke up anxious to use the step. When I slid it out
of the box, a videotape also plopped on the floor. It was an exercise
routine for use with the step. I slid it into my VCR.
It seemed to be in a foreign language: Gym-speak. The women were jumping and dancing around as their leader screamed out something like “1-2-3-4! Right leg! Scissors! Mambo! Box lunch!”
“Box lunch?” I asked myself. “The directions didn’t say I needed a box
lunch. How long is this tape?”
I tried to follow the complicated moves, which I interpreted as something like this:
“Up-down-right-left — jump against the bookcase — knock over some
knickknacks — circle to the right — hand against the wall — ouch! —
cha-cha to the left –whack shin against chair — back-1-2-3 — fall onto
“Box lunch” was actually “box lunge,” such a complicated move that
Appeal Staff Writer F.T. Norton had to go to a Web site and print out
the directions for me to follow, like Masochism Tango Cliffs Notes from
the Arthur Murray International School of Dance.
Experts say most people abandon New Year’s resolutions by mid-January. Now I know why.
Terri Harber works on the Nevada Appeal’s news desk.