|if Edward Gorey had illustrated Little Women|
Plucky little genius that I was, I knew that life - make that Life - bristled with things that would always be Beyond Me, or that once achieved did not require repetition. Keeping schoolbooks neat, for example. Hah. I learned to color within the lines in a coloring book when I was 5. That was it. Same principle. Pointless effort.
Although I did once flip through a Gideon Bible in a hotel, and found that a previous reader had made his/her own annotations. Like "oh, true." There was a person who should have been made to promise not to write in books.
I knew that anything Aunt Clarabelle cooked would be inedible, no need to taste the same thing again with different garnishes. I knew by the time I was 7 that certain fabrics would always make me itch and that others would always crush and wrinkle and make me look uncared-for, even if all I had done was stand very still and breathe carefully.
Thus the literature of self-improvement and self-sacrifice in all its sententious variations couldn't fool me. I have improved myself some, not to the point of perfection, but to the point of resenting every penny spent by me and others on products and systems, every theory of organizing storage, every talent I know I don't have. This is as good as I'm likely to get. I return calls, thank busdrivers, try to remember birthdays, wear a sweater on cold days. I don't tell secrets (I learned "keep your own counsel" very early). I don't practice the piano. In this world there are very few people whose musical skills improve with practice. One is called Itzhak Perlman. Others are called unemployed. Actually, to be honest, I don't own a piano.
So now there is no checklist of unreached goals to be sadly ticked off on December 31 - oooh, flash of insight: that must be why we greet the New Year with alcohol? - and I thought I had the situation mastered. If ever I decide to lose weight/ let my hair grow/ get a different haircut/ moisturize more often / tackle the sock drawer / weed out the collection of recipes that will never be cooked - c'mon, I've spent most of my life with one guy and Julia Child, why mess with that? - stop googling high school classmates to see if they got fat/ clean out that ancient Rolodex/-- well, if ever, then I will. Or I may. Or I may not. There's an app to delete duplicate pictures from your computer, made necessary by the sad fact that Apple devices just love to share. I may let that app do some of the work. Spending more time at museums? well, that's their problem, if they miss me they should get some better exhibits in. I just don't want to feel like a project, mine or anyone else's.
This past December, however, something appeared in my Inbox. You enter your birthdate and gender and click on a little triangle, and a circle appears and spins. When it stops, you would see the resolution you should make. I've been suspicious of this stuff ever since a wheelchair-bound classmate opened a fortune cookie to learn that his backhand would improve. It did not.
Whatever. In for a penny, in for a pound, or as I once warned my sister, in for the car, in for the mortgage, in for the second mortgage... for the gullible, all things can lead to extradition.
Here is what I was told to resolve:
I WILL STOP CUTTING MY OWN BANGS.
I was terrified. This has been a problem for decades. My efforts have always gone hopelessly and expensively wrong, and I haven't learned. How did strangers in a French-speaking area of Switzerland buy or steal an address list with my email on it? Had my computer's camera been hijacked? I flipped a finger at it, just as a precaution.
Well, here we are, almost 2 months into 2015, and guess what? I haven't pointed a scissors towards my forehead all year. The lady who cuts my hair every six weeks is going to be soooo happy. Or not.