Making Twitter a kinder, gentler place and other new year’s resolutions

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While the Jewish New Year often sets us on a soul-searching mission to become more spiritual and to improve our relationships with others, as well as with God, the turn of the secular calendar to a new year traditionally gets us thinking about making resolutions. 

Our desire for personal change may produce a slew of resolutions aimed at two old standbys – getting in shape and losing weight. Those resolutions are perfectly fine, but the ones I make lean more toward practical things, as well as the whimsical and wishful – things I’d like to see happen, but which have little or no chance of occurring.

Here, without further ado, are my 2020 resolutions, listed by category:

Wishful thinking

Chief among these resolutions is having the power to send all scammers, spammers and hackers to a galaxy far, far away, where they’d have to answer to Darth Vader for their shameful actions. Those reprehensible folks are why landlines are going out of style (spam calls are about all we get on ours nowadays), and why you should never click on or reply to any weird emails, even if they appear to be from trusted contacts. (Note to hackers: People who are really “in need” or “in trouble” anywhere in the world would absolutely not sit down and write dozens of emails to everyone they know.)

Another resolution in this category would be to stop Twitter and Facebook from being used for vitriol, hatred, bullying, belittling and cheap shots. The current state of social media makes me glad that I’m not on any of the popular sites.

Finally, under wishful thinking, I want people to treat each other much better, and for the warring factions in our country to take a big chill pill so that public discourse can harken back to the days when politicians on both sides of the aisle would, at the very least, respect each other, and, at most, wouldn’t avoid being seen eating dinner or sharing a beverage every now and then.

Practical resolutions

•    Clean out my desk and dresser drawers. I resolve to throw out my old pens and notes from years ago, and to shred old personal documents.

•   Clean my wallet, removing receipts from long-ago Chinese dinners and other meals.

•   Open and look at all the five- and 10-year-old calendars buried in desk drawers.

•  Unwrap any gifts that are still hanging around. (As weird as that sounds, I’ve been known to squirrel away one or two.)

•   Stop using the handrail in the hallway of my home as a coat and hat rack. Let me acknowledge up-front that this resolution is being made more to promote domestic bliss than out of any deep-seated desire to reacquaint myself with my hall closet.

•   Don’t create a mini-flood near the sink when rinsing dishes. This resolution is being made both to please my wife and to reduce my water bill.

•   Make of an effort to fold my T-shirts and turtlenecks in a more civilized manner. 

•   Exercise more patience when attempting to do the impossible: fold sheets without turning them into oversized schmattas. It should be noted that this resolution has failed miserably for the entire 31 years of my marriage, so it would be considered successful if I were able to make any improvement at all.

•   Comb through the remaining boxes of personal belongings in my basement. Progress was made in 2019, but more work remains to be done.

•   Throw away used paper cups instead of leaving them near the sink to be reused until they disintegrate.

•   Clean out the kitty litter boxes without making a mess all over the floor.

Whimsical resolutions

•   Stop kvetching every time I try to bend down to pick up somethingon the floor. (This resolution stands very little chance of being kept because bending down requires me to hold on to chairs, or any nearby piece of furniture, with the result that I look like a human pretzel.)

•   Move a lot faster when I’m out on my daily run-jogs, which, sadly, have seemed more like walks for too long.  

•   Get a lot more competitive in my 5K races. 

(Those last two resolutions appear doomed from the start for obvious reasons related to age, body type and the ravages of what, in April, will be 45 consecutive years of running.)

And, finally, a serious resolution: I wish all of you and your loved ones a very happy and – above all – healthy 2020.

LARRY KESSLER (larrythek65@gmail.com) is a freelance writer based in North Attleboro.