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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News

 

What's your resolution?...

Posted 12/31/13 (Tue)

Do you remember New Year’s Day 2000? Did you make any resolutions leading up to that date?

I guess my resolution was to make it through the night and see the next day. I made it through the night alright, but slept most of the next day.

If you recall, that was the day, Jan. 1, 2000, in which all the computers in the world were going to crash, sending the world into anarchy.

Lucky me! I was a reporter assigned to cover the Barnes County Commission that night. They actually conducted a meeting, brought food and blankets, had the sheriff and the emergency manager there and even a shortwave radio to see if Europe had yet collapsed.

It was kind of strange that these people were actually thinking there might be another “Cuban Missile Crisis” or something.

But they did. And midnight came and went in the Central Time Zone, it came and went in the Pacific Time Zone and it came and went in the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone and the world hadn’t changed except for maybe a few people who got sick drinking too much cheap champagne.

At that point in time, it was almost daybreak and all over. The earth was still spinning, the sky was still blue and it was still bitterly cold in North Dakota because the earth didn’t shift on its axis.

As I was walking to the courthouse on New Year’s Eve, I was thinking of New Year’s resolutions. But then, what good would they have done if the world was going to crash after midnight anyway?

Oh, what the heck, might as well pick up a pack of cigarettes and a package of donuts and consume mass quantities like the Coneheads did, that family from “France,” made famous on Saturday Night Live.

Truth is, there were no real resolutions, only an article to write about how a county commission spent taxpayer dollars to be together on the night the world was supposedly coming to an end, or at least the technological part of it.

It kind of reminded me of “War of the Worlds,” you know, that Halloween radio broadcast in 1938 in which Martians were invading New Jersey?

It was a hoax, just like this Y2K thing, which by the way, didn’t scare me in the least.

Y2K was a lot more subtle than Halloween 1938. The people I was with, at least, sat around a table and talked about, you guessed it, New Year’s resolutions.

Halloween 1938, however, was kind of like shopping at Wal-Mart when Christmas bargains are announced. There were stampedes and people were run over and killed. Yup, they say history repeats itself and apparently, Martians are invading Wal-Mart these days.

I didn’t have any resolutions, but participated in the round-table discussion anyway adding my 2 cents. I was living in a house rent free at the time and wanted to get it done. Try living in a house rent free in North Dakota now?

Back in high school is when my friends and I made real resolutions: See the world, play baseball, drive a Mercedes Benz, live on the beach.

Let’s see now, does the Middle East count for travel, how about a 20-year reunion baseball game of American Legion players? I once drove a Chevrolet Biscayne that had a Blaupunkt car stereo worth more than the car itself. Then, of course, there’s living on the beach. You know, we have beach-front property in Carpio... every spring when the Des Lacs River floods.

As you can tell by my sarcasm, I don’t take New Year’s resolutions very seriously. Some people can do it though and I have to give them credit for having the will power.

Many years ago I was a smoker. It was Nov. 19, 1987 and I’d had enough. I couldn’t afford to smoke anymore. Cigarettes had just jumped from 65 cents to $1 a pack. I haven’t smoked since.

In that case, I had a catalyst that “forced” me to quit smoking. Maybe we need something like that for every resolution.

Some of the top resolutions people make are to have better health, get out of debt, volunteer, give to charity, improve education.

Those are all good and well, but unless you have a bona fide reason, you probably won’t stick to it.

Health is a big one. All kidding aside, cancer claims a lot of lives in the United States and to get that 800-pound gorilla off our backs, maybe we should take better eating and exercise more seriously.

If you have a brain, you will continue to improve your education. That’s an easy one because we’re always learning new things whether we realize it or not.

When it comes right down to it, my resolution has already been accomplished: Spend more time with Ilene. Since I retired from the National Guard, we get an extra weekend together every month.