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Red-faced and sweaty - the new year starts here

Date: December 29 2012


Richard Glover

In the coming year I will drink less.

In the coming year I will eat less.

In the coming year I will exercise more.

In 2013, when writing emails, I will employ at least some of the good manners that I once used when composing a letter, including using initial capitals on people's names because, well, they deserve it, plus it doesn't seem so terribly difficult to hit the ''shift'' key now and then.

I will pay off my credit card on time.

I will attend the doctor.

I will floss my teeth.

In the year ahead, I will also not take offence when my partner criticises some small aspect of my behaviour, for instance my tendency to throw my slightly damp bath towel on the matrimonial bed, suppressing the urge to respond as if her small criticism amounts to an attack on my slovenly attitude to household chores in general, my standing as a human being and, indeed, our entire life together, ''which clearly means nothing to you, nothing at all, what with the towel and everything, and given you hate me so much, you really might as well go and stay at your mother's, since …''.

I will eat my greens.

I will have the car serviced.

I will harass Westpac until they give us a better rate.

I will leave my car keys every evening in a bowl that I shall place on the kitchen bench so that my departure each morning will be calm and ordered and loving - ''see you when we both get home'' - and not a scene of frantic shouts and pleading for assistance and unpleasant accusations against my partner as to ''where have you bloody hidden them?''; and ''I suppose you think this is a joke''.

I will drink six glasses of water each day.

I will swallow five millilitres of fish oil each day, though the subsequent fishy burps would kill a brown dog.

I will sort my CDs and give away those I no longer play.

As the old year gives way to the new, I will learn to be calm when aggravated.

I will save all our photos on some sort of separate memory thingo so we don't lose everything when the computer goes bung.

I will learn one good joke.

I will stop drinking coffee after lunch because I know it means I'll wake up at 3am and be unable to fall back to sleep due to dire thoughts about Australian politics, the state of the world, and the personal failings of almost everyone I know, including myself, in fact especially myself, oh, woe, woe, thrice woe, everything is bleak and horrible, when really it would have been simpler to just have a cup of tea.

I'll give more to charity.

I'll read Montaigne.

I'll try not to be so noisy when I chew.

I will stop eating food straight from the pot as part of the process of washing up, acknowledging that the phrase ''waste not, want not'', while useful in principle, is not so useful in practice - not when the method of preventing wastage is to insert all available leftovers into the stomach of a middle-aged man of already-fading attractiveness.

I will compare green slips.

I will be cheery at work.

I will email my cousin.

I will endeavour to more closely interrogate the reasons for consuming my fifth drink of the night, acknowledging that my previous rationalisations - ''it's been a bad day at work''; ''it's been a good day at work''; ''it's been rainy''; ''it's been sunny''; ''Tuesday only comes once a week''; ''the dog has fleas'' etc etc - may, in the fullness of time, be seen as nightly acts of consecutive self-delusion.

I will plant vegetables.

I will say please.

I will say thank you.

I will take all the socks from all the various drawers, and locate a twin - wherever a twin exists - and dispose of all the single socks, which for decades now have been building up in the laundry basket to such an extent that the addition of a single shirt fills the thing to the brim.

And, finally, I will go to a New Year's Eve party and behave myself, not talking too much, not drinking too much, not making a pig of myself with the guacamole, not pretending to remember people in circumstances where I haven't the foggiest, and not flirting with my partner's best friend from school, saying ''Why don't you come over and sit here'', patting the spot on the sofa next to me, my face red with wine and sweaty in a way that's quite unattractive, and all this while trying to remember to leave time to run through my New Year's resolutions.

Which, given their number and urgency, I may need to start reciting about now.

Twitter: @rglover702

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