As I've stated before in this column, I'm against New Year's resolutions, completely. I particularly don't like a resolution being attached to an arbitrary date.
In fact, it's a good rule to never make any promise on a major holiday. Not Thanksgiving. Not Valentine's Day. Certainly not President's Day. Only bad things can happen when you pledge an oath while stuffed with turkey or overcome with love or loaded with facts about William Taft.
And I'm not that crazy about resolutions any other time of the year, either, even though I begrudgingly acknowledge they serve a purpose in our lives.
In fact, I recently made a resolution to get into shape this summer (or, rather, starting soon and ending in the summer, either 2011 or 2012). I already feel creepy just writing that, as if saying it in public makes it untrue. (Are resolutions like birthday wishes?)
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Making a resolution is a promise to yourself ... except we all have no problem breaking that type of promise -- because, really, if you can't lie to yourself, who can you lie to?
Also, I don't like the phrase "getting into shape." It implies I once was in shape. That's never been the case. I've never seen an ab in the mirror, much less multiple ones. I don't even truly believe they exist. The only definition I ever had was a big book of words I keep on my desk, which I can barely lift over my head, because I have no muscles.
I blame my parents and the horrible, horrible genes they gave me. (That is much easier to do than blame my habit of eating Hot Pockets and playing Xbox for 37-straight hours.)
When I was in first grade there was a kid named June Bug who was the only one in our class who could flex his arm and show a bicep. I didn't understand why he had a muscle in his arm and I just had bone.
Not much has changed. This kid had more muscles at 5 than I've ever had. I've spent my life envying June Bug. And as much as I'd like to imagine him working out furiously at 5 -- sprinkling creatine on his Rice Krispies while woofing down Power Bars with chocolate milk -- just to be able to flex his tiny arm and impress all of us near-infants, I doubt that was the case. June Bug was born. He had muscles. That's the story.
The rest of us -- those of us unfortunate enough not to have June Bug's baby guns -- spend our entire lives working hard to look mediocre. (My one saving grace? He was named JUNE BUG!)
I watch the infomercials with the exercise equipment that promise to turn you from flab to fab in just 90 days. The sad part is they show the "before" and "after" photos, and I find myself envying the "before" shots. If that was my starting point, I'd probably never bother finishing.
It's depressing to know you have to work really hard just to look like what someone is working really hard NOT to look like.
But there is good news: Last week, I did a chin-up, which is one more chin-up than I've ever done in my life. In the eighth grade, during the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, I was credited with one chin-up, but I cheated and jumped instead of pulling myself up. Lying on that test is probably a federal crime, so I should apologize in advance to Coach Jackson. (Don't judge me. Chin-ups are hard. Stat: 70 percent of pro athletes cannot do a single chin-up -- a statistic I just totally made up, but it makes me feel good about myself.)
So, I'll start with the one measly chin-up and I won't stop until, well, I can do at least two (baby steps). My new resolution is to at least be as strong as June Bug was, in the hopes that I, too, can someday impress first-graders.