In my quest for self-improvement, I employ the successful techniques of corporate America. Every New Year's Day I give myself a performance appraisal, rating my achievements against my New Year's resolutions of the prior year.
For 2007, I received an overall Grade: of D-minus. I am now on probation and may be terminated unless my performance improves.
My 2007 New Year's resolutions and grades were:
Goal: Get a new logo, something sleek and racy, but also comfortable and reassuring. My logo should say: Cutting edge style, but old world charm. Result: My new logo, designed at great expense by an L.A. graphics firm, does not say "cutting edge style, but old world charm." In fact, my new logo is usually mistaken for a swastika. (Grade: F)
Goal: Stay on message. Result: I did not have a message in 2007. However, this assured that I never went off message. (Grade: C)
Goal: Add a fourth pitch – a hard slider – to supplement my blazing fastball, my wicked curve ball, and my baffling change-up. Result: I not only failed to add a hard slider, I lost velocity on my fastball when my Chinese drug supplier substituted laxatives for human growth hormones. (Grade: F)
Goal: Spend less time with assholes. Result: I failed miserably. With Malthusian inevitability, assholes increased geometrically while avoidance techniques grew arithmetically. (Grade: F)
Goal: Re-engineer my personality to increase my appeal to younger demos (25-44) in faith-based organizations. Result: Focus group research revealed that my reengineered personality, with its increased emphasis on atheism, alienated all demographic groups within faith-based organizations. (Grade: F)
Goal: Firm up my posterior and anterior deltoids, after confirming, first, that posterior and anterior deltoids are muscles and, second, that I still have them somewhere in my body. Result: I made no progress on deltoids. I still don't know if they are muscles and if I have them. However, I did get a new hip. (Grade: D)
Goal: Preserve deniability. Result: I failed (Grade: F) to preserve deniability with:
- State Trooper Harrison regarding speeding on Interstate 90.
- A hostess regarding mud tracked on her rug.
- My wife regarding 135 separate incidents.
Goal: Found a new religion; don't let Bush, Romney, or Tom Cruise join. Result: I did not establish a new religion, but I started a gossip group that meets quarterly. I did invite Bush, Romney, and Tom Cruise to join. (Grade: C)
Goal: Stop criticizing myself; find more faults in others. Result: I remained self-critical. I was able to find more faults with others, but not as much as they deserved. (Grade: C)
Goal: Prove that cholesterol levels above 300 are actually good for you. Result: I cited as proof the fact that I was still alive. The medical and scientific communities did not find this convincing. (Grade: D)
Goal: Craft an exit strategy. Result: I still can't decide between cancer, Alzheimer's, and bodily ascension into heaven. (Grade: F)
Goal: Revise my mission statement. "Mediocrity In Everything I Do" has become stale. Result: My new mission statement – "Mediocrity: Hell Yeah!" – is inspiring, clear, concise, and explains what I am all about. (Grade: A)
Goal: Find out what the carburetor in my car does. Result: I learned that cars have not had carburetors since 1979. (Grade: F)
Goal: Research those cultures where I might not be considered abnormal. Result: I found only three (Grade: D):
- The Sami reindeer farmers on the Varanger fiord in the Nordkalotten region.
- The Arakwal (including the subgroups Naiang, Cool-al, Kahwul, Njung, Nyung, Lismore, Kogung, Yawkum-yore, and Jawjumeri), aboriginal peoples in New South Wales, Australia.
- The New Jersey State Legislature.
Goal: Be reasonable, get organized, exercise more, get a job, drink less, be patient, eat better, read Proust, stop burning flags, and, for once, read the manual first. Result: I tried to read a manual first. It did not help (Grade: F)
My failing grade for 2007 may reflect ambitious goals rather than poor performance. This year, my aspirations are less demanding. My 2008 New Year's resolutions are:
- Remain unemployed.
- Get up early, unless I would rather sleep late.
- Become a member of Netflix.
- While dressing, put on my pants one leg at a time.
- Become at least one year older by Dec. 31, 2008.
- Receive loads of spam and junk mail.
- Practice the cultural values of the Sami reindeer farmers on the Varanger fiord in the Nordkalotten region, the Nyung, Kogung, and Yawkum-yore of New South Wales, and the New Jersey State Legislature.
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