Friday, December 17, 2010

Grand Master Plans

New Years Resolutions are set up to fail. Everyone knows that. The media covers it, neighbors and friends talk about it.. Oh, let’s figure out how to promise ourselves to accomplish our goals and then never plan to reach them. Let’s even write them down so we can be reminded of our failures in about three weeks. By Martin Luther King weekend we have just cracked open our sixth beer after promising to decrease our alcohol consumption to a moderate level. It never works. So why do we do it? I know why I do it.

I think of my psyche as a snake. My skin must be shed of all the dead end habits I have accumulated in a year’s time, which by the holidays add up to be quite a bit. And thinking about starting fresh on 1-1-11 after I have fine tuned the acts of gluttony, borderline alcoholism and losing patience with people in an instant, the task to straighten up my act seems downright daunting.

So, I’m pretty sure I have unlocked the solution to this seemingly permanent failure of mine – along with the rest of the world’s. It’s called the quarterly grand master plan. I should give credit to the creation of the Archivers (see October Archiving the Dream) for this little scheme. Here’s how it works: a group of friends, preferably supportive, gather round for dinner, a little wine.. slap on a DVD so the kids don’t bother the GMP process… and write down two or three things you are going to do in the next three months. The moderator/facilitator, which is usually me, will ask leading questions as to how you think you might obtain said GMP. For instance, a nice fellow was dining with us last week. He’s a friend. Not a close one probably because he knows that I think his wife is hot, but I am married.. to a man, but whatever. I asked him and his wife and others around the table if they might want to engage in a little GMP exercise. Most were new to the idea so there was some non verbal reluctance. Let’s call nice fellow the Hot Wife’s Husband (Just to be clear, Hot Wife’s Husband is hot too). So Hot Wife’s Husband played along and indicated that he wanted to be able to touch his toes by April. I had to determine if this was in fact a lofty goal so I ordered him to stand up and show us how far he could bend over. Well, Hot Wife’s Husband at that point looked a little like Old Man River. He barely cleared his knee caps. I asked if he wanted to shoot for the shins by April. He said no.

When asked what he is going to do to meet his goal, Hot Wife’s Husband said that he was going to lean over and stretch with legs locked twice a week for ten minutes (HWH, yes you did say that, I wrote it down). He also said that he would take a yoga class once a month. I will bet a mortgage payment that HWH has done neither of these tasks.. but here's where the New Year's Resolution and the GMP differ. I will begin to thoroughly harass and publicly flog HWH if he does not begin the tasks needed to stretch those rappelling ropes he calls hamstrings.

Now on to Hot Wife who said that her GMP was to eat two vegetables and two fruits per day. I asked the dinner host for some clarification on this the next day. Who doesn’t eat fruits and veggies and still looks like that?!? Apparently, HW is a HW due to her gene pool and not what she puts in her mouth. This new fact makes me hate her a little.

I mentioned while I wrote down HW’s goal that she may be setting herself up for failure if this wasn’t a regular habit. Perhaps she should start with two or three days a week. She compromised and said that if she makes it a regular habit three times per week by February, she will consider it an accomplishment. May I suggest hiding your fruits and veggies in the food you love like bacon wrapped asparagus and apple slices dipped in chocolate? Just a helpful suggestion, you freak of nature.

Next there was the "friend who replaced me". A little stage setting: I have been bffs with the dinner host - a woman we will call Litha. We have been bffs for, oh, I don’t know, eternity. And this friend stealer just swoops in and takes her from me because they are both single and believe that this is the common thread that will keep them together. News flash, Friend Stealer, she has a dark side. And for the record, Litha, I can go out and dance and go to bars and drink and be your wing man. You didn’t have to throw me out like yesterday’s trash. Anyway, back to Friend Stealer’s GMPs. Her goal was to start a workout program with Litha (big surprise) and to spend more time meeting new people. I’m new, do I count? Anyway, she had other GMPs but I should respect her privacy and not publicize it for the world to see like I am going to do with Litha’s.

Litha plans to bench press 100 pounds and clean and jerk 80 pounds by April. Now, I worked out with her today – jealous, FS? – and she did well, but has a long way to go, just sayin. Stay the course, Litha. Keep going to the torture chamber and you’ll get there easily.

My favorite GMP of the evening came from a veteran to the GMPs. He’s been hanging around for the last three years. He is a good friend and fun to have at dinner parties. We will call him Jailbait. Jailbait’s GMPs is to limit his work schedule to 60 hours a week and gain 25 pounds through exercising and eating. Jailbait went into detail as to why he felt these were laudable GMPs, which I later realized were a heaping pile of stinky excuses to work less and eat more. Bottom line, Jailbait, gaining weight and cutting back on the number of hours you work are not acceptable GMPs. I am on to you, so pick again.

Oh, and one last general comment, Shall Remain Nameless, drinking more wine and spending less time with your kids are also inappropriate GMPs.

Nevertheless, it’s important for all of us to keep our own wheels oiled. Thus, compiling a list of GMPs that will set the stage for personal improvement on an incremental level seems to be the more appropriate strategy. Besides, it facilitates the need to gather together, and self indulge way more often than just New Year’s Eve.

So, get those pens out now and let the upgrading begin.

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