"A man's got to know his limitations."
- Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry in "Magnum Force"
Admittedly this quote isn't as eternal as "Go ahead, make my day," but it is definitely more suited to my purpose. My wife asked me last night if I had any New Year's Resolutions. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have said, "A man's got to know his limitations."
From this you might guess that I don't put much stock in resolutions, New Year's or otherwise. Making promises at the onset of an experience will almost automatically come back to haunt you. At the first slip, someone will undoubtedly pipe up with a cheery reminder: "Remember when you promised..."
No thanks. I'm not fond of setting myself up for those annoying confrontations with the aforementioned limitations. By contrast, I am very good at keeping my promises. In this I tend to favor another character, Horton the Elephant. "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent." Since I work on a planet that is comprised primarily of nine and ten year olds, I know that they hear any vague commitment as the word from on high and I will be held to whatever oath I may have absent-mindedly made. If I give away a pencil for a perfect score on a spelling test once, you can be sure that I will be doing it for the duration of the school year.
I understand that resolutions are primarily for the purpose of self-improvement, but that doesn't make me feel more open to their evil influence. In my mind they seem perfectly suited for some "Gift of the Magi/Monkey's Paw" whammy that would hound me for the rest of my days, or at least three hundred and sixty-five of them. Instead I prefer to continue to look at my life as a work in progress - an open book. To this end, I feel comfortable making the only resolution I can imagine for myself: "I resolve not to make any resolutions." After all, I know my limitations.