(USA TODAY) - We're all familiar with the usual New Year's resolutions: lose weight, stop smoking, join a health club, become a better person. Yadda yadda yadda.
And we all know that most of these vows will be gone and forgotten by Groundhog Day (this year, it's called Super Bowl Sunday).
We want to do the right thing, which is why we resolve to do better. But frankly, it's not very realistic. So, starting this New Year's, I've produced a more "doable" (if, admittedly, a bit odd) set of resolutions. When declaring one's annual resolve in a world of change that is often strange, one could do worse than follow gonzo guy Hunter Thompson's advice: "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
In that spirit, here are 5 weird New Year's resolutions for 2014:
1. Subscribe to more trade journals
True, these may not be as widely read as USA TODAY's Business section or The Wall Street Journal, but these publications can broaden and deepen one's knowledge of the business world. Plus, they're perfect for dilettantes (like yours truly).
Among those on my 2014 subscription list are: Pit & Quarry (to learn about the ready-mix/gravel industry); Elevator World (its circulation goes up and down); Sulfuric Acid Today; Pacific Nut Producer; Dipstick; Chain Store Age; Collision Week; Meat and Seafood Merchandising; Pharmaceutical Executive; The Beef Master Cowman; Coal Age; and Modern Bulk Transporter.
2. Wave to fellow motorists at 4-way stops
Granted, it may take other converging drivers a minute to adjust to this friendly gesture, but it also instantly breaks down the anonymity of automobiles, letting others know there's an actual human behind the wheel of your ride. Caveat: This friendly act may be widely misinterpreted in New York City.
3. Collect airsick bags from every major airline
These make wonderful conversation starters, not to mention colorful wall decorations. And they're sure to elicit memorable stories of your guests' travels.
4. Try extreme ironing
What could energize a routine household task better than to use an ironing board while rappelling down the face of El Capitan? One enthusiast in England even set up his board in the middle of a busy freeway.
One poster shows a guy ironing underwater. It says, "All the thrills of extreme SCUBA diving with the satisfaction of a well-ironed shirt!" Count me and my ironing board in!
5. Knit more sweaters for freezing trees
One can't help but be fascinated by the altruistic acts of people who knit sweaters for cold, quaking trees. It's also called "yarn bombing." Forget tree hugging - this so-called "guerrilla knitting" really solves the problem of tree hypothermia and warms the human heart.
Trees sporting this handsome new kind of Christmas sweater can currently be found in, among other cities, Seattle; Bloomington, Ind.; New York City; and Portland, Ore. And police in Cape May, N.J., recently pursued a "midnight knitter" who went rogue and sweatered utility and lamp poles. I can't think of any act that shows concern for our environment better than tree-sweater knitting. But first, I have to learn how to knit.
Resolutions saved for 2015: Try to kiss more parked cars; convert my clocks to Napoleonic-era digital time (it's so French! Each day has 10 hours and 144 minutes per hour); finish law school and get into a Drainage and Seepage law firm; get serious about "newsraiding" by appearing and waving in the background of more live TV shots; finally, make this a cleaner world by emptying the ash trays at my local bus station.
Humorist Bill Mann lives in Port Townsend, Wash.
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