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Column: Self-improvement tied to others’ resolve

I sometimes devote space in the first column of the year to making unreasonable and unreachable resolutions that I have no intention of sticking to even at the time I make them.

In the past I’ve resolved to lose weight, quit beating my wife, get some exercise and generally become a better person. Needless to say, I have pretty much struck out on all those lofty notions except the one about beating my wife and, as those of you who know my wife understand, that never happened in the first place. Proof of that is I’m still alive.

So, instead of embarking on such a ridiculous fool’s errand as to make empty promises about improving myself, I’ve decided to make suggestions for how other people can improve themselves. Mark Twain once said: “It is noble to be good. It is even nobler to tell others how to be good, and much less trouble.”

First, to the persons in Nigeria, Kenya, Sierra Leone or wherever, who keep sending me e-mail entreaties about providing my bank account number so you can deposit huge sums into it, forget about it. Please just wrap diamonds of equal value in a brown paper bag and send those along by regular mail. I’m more than willing to take responsibility of exchanging the jewels for cash as I need it in my retirement.

Also, whoever it is who finds it necessary to offer me Viagra at bargain basement prices via the Internet several times every day, please stop. I don’t need it.

Ditto on hot stock tips. If the investments were that good my broker would have retired already.

Also, I have recently re-financed my house and do not wish to go through another blood-letting any time soon, so I’d just as soon you cull me from your list of prospective victims.

I have more than enough credit cards. So, all the banks, airlines, car companies, etc., who bombard me daily with offers of zero percent interest on all purchases through March, get over it and quit filling my mail box with junk. For goodness sake, save a tree.

Jet skiers, stay away from me. You might think it looks cool to splash water all over the place, but when I’m trying to coax a reluctant fish (and they all seem to be hesitant) to bite I really don’t want to be washed into a rock wall. And tell your water ski buddies the same.

Door-to-door salesmen, front porch evangelists, survey takers, I’m not home. Go away.

Drive-in-window attendants, if I wanted fries with it I would have told you. And quit mumbling.

I don’t read Russian, so I have little use for e-mail written in that language. I’m also a bit rusty in Japanese, Chinese and Arabic.

Television network executives, advertising companies, and companies that pay the latter and use the former to create and display stupid commercials, please stop. And car dealership owners who feel called to do their own commercials: hire professionals. You look ridiculous.

The list goes on. I didn’t realize so many things annoy me, but Mr. Clemens was absolutely right. This is much nobler and a lot less trouble than trying to improve myself. Just figuring out where to start would take weeks.

Happy New Year!

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