New Year's Resolutions

Ellen Hamil

Dear friends and family:

A new year is upon us Ö 2009. Time to make some New Yearís resolutions! Canít think of any? Donít worry. I have some for both of us.

Remember a few years ago when the government put out the ďDo Not Call ListĒ? Did that make a difference in your life? It did mine. Now we need one for the internet. Something to wipe out those jokes that pile up daily. But wait, those are coming from youÖmy family and friends. Well weíre going to change that this year.

I have decided that itís in my best interest - and yours - to make a resolution to refrain from sending jokes. Thatís right: no more jokes in 2009.

I know this might be difficult for some. There are new jokes coming down the internet pike every day and many of you feel a need to share them.  I enjoy a good laugh, but not many provide that anymore and there are duplicates in abundance. You may now be receiving a joke I read six months ago.  Stop. Donít forward it. I donít want to read it again. If itís told to my face, I can politely respond with ďOh, Iíve already heard that one.Ē  In email, itís ďdelete, delete, deleteĒ and the sender doesnít know if itís a duplicate or if you consider it distasteful, unwanted or just plain not funny.  Heck they donít even know if youíve opened them. But they keep them coming.
Back in pre-internet days, jokes were told around the office water cooler or at parties. You didnít hear very many Ė on a good week maybe one or two Ė depending on how many salesmen had been in. But today, turn on your computer, go to your ISP and open your email and low and behold there they are. Those dreaded three letters: ďfwdĒ in the subject line. There are other places to get your humor. Try checking out these suggestions: television, the daily comics, National Public Radio, movies and ďWryĒ Reflections.

I have also decided that we will refrain from sending emails with a political message Ė be it jokes or political stumping. As far as Obama/Biden, McCain/PalinÖthe election is over. It lasted far too long; both of us will agree to that, Iím sure. Thatís no use in keeping it alive. Give it up Ö please. You can rest assured I will.

What about those ďdo goodĒ emails. You know the ones that want you to send a Christmas card to a recovering soldier at Walter Reed Hospital. I got hooked into that one last year and Iíve seen it again this year. Some of these are legitimate and worthwhile but most are not. Regardless of which one you receive, before it leaves your desk check it out on, the Web site that validates the legitimacy of these messages. If itís legitimate and for a good cause, then send it.

And, thereís one more email that needs to be addressed with a resounding resolution. Thatís the one that needs to leave your possession as soon as possible after opening and be forwarded to at least 10 addressees. Goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life, if you do this. Please. Cut it off at the pass. I do it to each one that comes my way and I have not suffered any ill effects. I donít want to play internet scrabble. I donít want one hundred cake recipes. And, neither do you. You must resolve to ignore these annoying emails regardless of the outcome.

See, with these New Yearís resolutions, Iím wheedling down the number of emails weíll both receive. You say that the only thing in your in box will be spam. I know what you mean. But weíre going to get rid of that as well. Our next resolution is to spend a few minutes each day opening every email from a company or solicitor you donít want to hear from. You will find the ďunsubscribeĒ link and voilaÖno more unwanted solicitations.

Now sit back and think about how much time we are going to save daily. It adds up exponentially. You are now going to have so much extra time on your hands you will be able to go to a gym and spend 30 minutes three times a week exercising. What, you say. Where did it say this would be part of the resolution? Hey, Iím just trying to make your life better. Did you think I was going to say our next resolution is to have ice cream daily and a banana split weekly? No way, Jose. I think Iím being reasonable. This isnít a big commitment. Your family medical provider will probably push more hours of exercising on you than Iím doing. You probably didnít think you would be making Ėfor yet another year - the resolution to exercise.  Whatís another year, right? And while Iím at it, I might as well address cutting back on calories, eating smaller servings and having more meals - especially of fruits and vegetables.

Youíve probably closed this page and moved on by now. But wait. Letís go back to those emails. I would like to hear from you.  Especially if you are going to tell me youíve made a commitment to our 2009 resolutions. But more than that I want to hear what youíve been doing, to have you share a recipe, a tip about a good restaurant, news about a friend, classmate, neighbor, son, daughter, family member, to mention a good book youíve read or a movie youíve seen. Just tell me things we talk about when weíre together. Letís not get involved in the mindlessness of internet junk/joke mail.  We have so much more to enjoy when we put a little personal twist into messages. Email is great. I like sitting down in front of my computer and reading my messages at a time that is convenient for me. It beats a phone call when Iím walking out the door or sitting down to dinner. We can do it. Together we can make a difference in our daily lives. Letís try.

/Signed/   The curmudgeon -- or your personal savior, Ellen.

January, 2009