Well, I’m a few weeks late with my New Year’s resolutions recap, but it was a short, half-hearted list anyway. Let’s face it: With COVID claiming half-a-million lives, and …
Well, I’m a few weeks late with my New Year’s resolutions recap, but it was a short, half-hearted list anyway. Let’s face it: With COVID claiming half-a-million lives, and Washington, D.C., so fractured and full of hate that civil war could start any day, who can get too excited about giving up a favorite stress-relief vice? “Portland is on fire again, but it’s vitally important I eat more roughage and less hot dogs.”
In a normal January, with a fierce resolve, we’re extremely resolute in keeping our resolutions for the next revolution. That’s what we tell ourselves, as each year brings fresh dreams, renewed hope and delusional goals.
Why do these revolutionary resolutions seldom “take?” I think it’s summed up in my favorite adage, possibly Biblical: “A dog always returns to its own vomit.” (Unlike a cat which I’ve observed will steer clear until I eventually clean it off the carpet.) What we return to isn’t truly gratifying or satisfying, but it sure is comfortable and familiar.
Occasionally, failing to keep certain resolutions can have deadly consequences. One of my annual, ridiculous resolutions is to clean my house and maintain healthier, less-cluttered living quarters. As I’ve recounted in print more than once, that cartoon cliché of slipping on a banana peel actually has happened to me twice in my messy, possibly unsanitary kitchen.
As usual at my bachelor pad, there were no witnesses except grinning dogs as I performed the usual series of flailing body contortions that are always fun to watch someone else suffer on an icy sidewalk. But this wasn’t fun and it threw my back out, if I recall correctly.
The first one many years ago had preceded another potential kitchen tragedy barely averted by some lightning-fast thinking. This was a completely different banana peel, so don’t get carried away with the, “And he still left the banana peel on the floor?” Hey, I’m not an idiot.
This time, I was pre-heating my oven for a Marie Callendar’s turkey pot pie and, returning to the kitchen, noticed a sizable blaze inside my oven. I flung the oven door open and noticed aluminum foil and some unidentified, charred food particles had attached to the red-hot heating element. In a panic, I reasoned, “This newspaper-strewn tinderbox could go up like Don King’s hair, which likely would be of concern to my adjoining townhouse neighbors.”
With the sink rinse-hose poised, I hesitated, fearing the water might ruin the hot element coils — and I was re-e-eally looking forward to this meat pie. I stood frozen before finally abandoning the hose to huff and puff and blow the flame out. I nearly fainted from the minutes of asthmatic huffing, and again the dog and cat witnesses appeared apathetic, yet amused.
Granted, these two mess-related accidents happened months apart, so I’m partly to blame, but are you visualizing the potential horror had the circumstances occurred simultaneously? I can see it vividly: Racing across the floor to extinguish the oven blaze, I step on that banana peel, slide and gyrate for 10 feet, then crash face-first into the oven door window, landing so violently it breaks the glass and knocks me unconscious.
With my head partially inside the oven, the flames are licking at my hair. Still unconscious, my lustrous locks burst into flames, and still unconscious, I’m none the wiser. That’s where I would’ve been found charred and deceased by sickened firemen.
If being dead weren’t bad enough, next-day headlines would scream, “Local bachelor dies Inadvertently during botched suicide attempt.” The article would conclude, “Jim, a now-homeless, former neighbor said disgustedly, ‘We saw something like this coming for years. He was a slob!’”
My legacy would be that of a man so stupid he attempted suicide by sticking his head inside an electric oven. I don’t even eat bananas anymore. Like they say, “Fool me three times, shame on me.”