Wasatch Rambler: A few thoughts to make the new year happier, more calm

Jan 3 2012 - 12:52am

As we all go back to work after the holidays, here are a few random thoughts to make the new year more enjoyable:

Ignore politics.

Seriously. Turn off the TV. Read the comics. Silence the screaming. Stick to porn on the Internet.

(I only mention porn because it is reliably reported Utah leads the nation in Internet porn subscriptions. If you are not viewing porn -- and I am positive you are not -- please continue pondering ancestry.com and cruising eBay or WayFair.com for deals.)

Watching politics, particularly Utah's Legislature, will make you way too angry. Last year's gem was the effort to gut the public's right to know what government does by "revising" the Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA).

Then lawmakers pretended to be surprised when the public begged to differ.

Gad, I'm getting angry just thinking about it. Really, people, if there was ever an argument that all those guys have been in office too long, that's it. And remember, after they're in office 10 years, they get free medical care, paid for by you for the rest of their lives.

Pretty cushy deal for guys who overwhelmingly think socialized medicine for you is evil.

So take a year off. Let the news media do the yelling. We're better at it and, trust me, most legislators ignore what you say anyway.

Drive less.

Now that we've successfully been trained to think $3 gasoline is "cheap," you may be tempted to take longer and/or frivolous drives.

Sadly, wages have not gone up in the last 10 years, even though the price of gasoline has doubled (it was $1.41 in October 2001). Driving less will ease that unexplained but frustrating shrinkage of your buying power.

Get healthy.

This is everyone's favorite resolution. Walking more will help, which also helps with driving less.

I'm trying. Last year a good friend lost about 70 pounds, and a close relative lost closer to 90. If they can do that, I reasoned, I can drop 10 so my cycling jerseys fit better.

Despite my delusional fantasies, beer guts do not make you more aerodynamic on a bicycle. Avoid desserts and shun french fries. Even if you don't lose, you will feel better.

Make up with your kids or parents.

My two sons are my closest friends on the planet, but I hear about parents whose children never speak with them, or they never speak with their children.

These situations make me sad. If that is you, give it a shot.

On Tuesday I was talking to a close friend who said, "My son and I made up after all these years. I can't even remember what it was about."

Made my day.

Help the needy and don't ask for a receipt, or even wait around for thanks. Just do it and walk away.

Especially don't tell the needy how to spend your help. The pre-Christmas stories about strangers anonymously paying off people's layaways is a nice example.

Every year Jon Carroll, a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, promotes what he calls the "Untied Way."

He takes just enough money out of the bank to be painful, goes to his city's skid row and randomly hands out $20 bills.

Charity is charity, he reasons, and anything else is ego-driven.

Free $20 bills too rich for your blood? Get a roll of nickels and scatter them in the sandbox at the local elementary school. You're out $2 and the kids have a surprise treasure hunt.

Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. You can call him at 801-625-4232 or e-mail ctrentelman@standard.net. He also blogs at www.standard.net.

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