The world's most popular lie after "The check is in the mail," "Let's have lunch" and "I really like your new hair-do, I really, really do"is the New Year's resolution.
It's a pretty safe bet that anyone who enters the year 2001 vowing to shed their excess poundage once and for all will almost certainly continue to resemble a human mudslide 12 months hence ... that any perpetual losers who set out to become winners will suffer the mortification of finishing last in a one-person race ... and that any mom or dad who is determined to be named Parent of the Year will be lucky to merely survive the next 365 days.
Plus, all of the above will spend the sum total of the new year feeling like complete and total failures bereft of even the tiniest shred of self-discipline.
Yes, it's a grim picture. But it doesn't have to include you. Not if you commit yourself only to goals you're actually capable of achieving. Like me.
To inspire you, here is my own list of virtually foolproof New Year's resolutions for 2001.
I hereby resolve that every conversation I have with my children will include the words, "Stop that!"
I hereby resolve to remain precisely as overweight as I am ... unless I decide to scientifically determine the proportions to which human flesh can stretch without exploding.
On second thought, I hereby resolve to view my body as a temple. A Mormon temple, maybe. A really big Mormon temple. Capable of seating, oh, ten thousand really big Mormons.
I hereby resolve to refuse free vasectomy offers from any doctor who is dressed like a lumberjack or laughs too heartily at sex-change jokes.
I hereby resolve that every conversation I have with my children will include the words, "I'm not telling you again. This is your last chance. Stop that!"
I hereby resolve not to dance with anyone who proudly proclaims to have once dated a household pet and carries photos in his or her wallet to prove it.
I hereby resolve to avoid any movie which features a nude, semi-nude or partially unclothed love scene between Adam Sandler and ... well, anyone.
Aw, to heck with it. I hereby resolve to avoid Adam Sandler in any circumstances.
I hereby resolve to never again take my kids to dinner parties in homes where there are no TV sets, toys, backyards or other kids ... unless I forget, in which case I hereby resolve to enroll in the first memory-improvement seminar which comes to town ... unless I forget, in which case I hereby resolve not to feel too badly since I will have no recollection whatsoever that I missed it.
I hereby resolve to never say to a woman who merely APPEARS to be in the largest stage of pregnancy, "So when is your baby due?" This happened once. It will never happen again. I guarantee it.
I hereby resolve that every conversation I have with my children will include the words, "I'm not kidding. This time I REALLY mean it. You've got one more chance. STOP THAT!"
I hereby resolve to refuse membership into any club whose members meet at 3 a.m. to drink the blood of freshly slaughtered cattle, watch "Blind Date" or listen to Eminem CDs or cassettes.
I hereby resolve to take care of all the little household chores I put off during 2000 ... unless I decide to scientifically determine the precise number of naps it takes to kill a person.
I hereby resolve that every conversation I have with my children will include the words, "I love you, too. But STOP THAT! Please? Here's a dollar. Pretty please?..."
Happy New Year ... and good luck with your resolutions!