Middlebury, Vt.

Life in the middle of Vermont.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Resolutions: Dreaming the Impossible Dream

In 2009, I hereby resolve:

I will see an otter along Otter Creek.

To go over the falls of Otter Creek in Vergennes, in a barrel. Twice -- once for each side of the falls. (Extra points if I spot an otter on the way down.)

To solve the mystery of the sign, placed over a urinal in a men’s room at the Middlebury College field house, which reads, “Thanks, from the Class of 1965. You were always here for us.” I mean, where did this sign come from, and who put it there? Why did they put it in the men’s room? And by “always here,” did they mean actually standing there at the urinal?

To give President Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt. (“President Barack Obama.” I love the sound of that.)

Not to complain about the economy. Being part of the gripefest is fun only when you’re in the elite, alienated and insightful minority.

To remember that many other people have it much worse off than I do, and therefore have ample reason to complain about the economy. Especially if they are unfortunate enough to be unemployed.

I will go at least a month without making a catty remark about Gov. Jim Douglas. At least not in print.

To tell the truth more often. Except if I get caught for speeding, because the offending officer and I both know that whatever comes out of my mouth is at best a half-truth: “Um, no, officer. I don’t know why you stopped me. Was it because of that ‘Legalize It’ bumper sticker on the back of my car? Was it that beautiful woman over there? –You know, the one on the left whom I was looking at while making a right-hand turn? Is she your sister? Your wife? Or are you a Yankees fan and I was playing the celebration on my car radio too loud after that Dustin Pedroia home run? Oh – you say I was doing 65 in a 40? I didn’t see the sign at all. Honest!”

To determine what mysterious force it is that compels flatlanders to try to drive over Lincoln Gap in the winter, past the “Lincoln Gap Closed” signs, over the gigantic snow berm, and along the snowmobile tracks that end up in the woods.

To solve the mystery of buried treasure up on Bristol Cliffs.

Not to buy another jacket. The 10 in my closet should serve me just fine. Unless, of course, I find that I’ve got absolutely nothing to wear outside between April 7 and May 10, when it’s raining and the temperature is between 52 and 61 degrees. In which case…

To throw out at least one T-shirt from a collection that spans back to my high school years.

To buy no more than four or five new T-shirts. At least not until summertime.

I will get to the Daily Chocolate and Fat Hen market in Vergennes at least once a month. Man does not live by bread alone. Or by T-shirts and jackets alone, for that matter.

I will not die of overdose by chocolate. Unless of course I stroke out, have a devastating heart attack, or contract a fatal case of cancer. In which case, bring on the chocolate.

I will keep my wine consumption below one bottle. On alternate Mondays.

To make an in-depth exploration of the Whiting-Leicester line. Just because it’s there.

To mention every town in Addison County at least once in this column. Sudbury, this one’s for you!

To ski Stein’s Run, that steep monster at Sugarbush, without stopping. Just once before I die. And given the slow deterioration that comes with age, appetite, inadequate workouts and a strong preference for Otter creek Stovepipe Porter, it’s gotta happen this year, or it never will.

I will not grind my teeth more than absolutely necessary when the potentially great state of Vermont, thanks to obstinacy, ignorance and a misguided sense of “what’s good for business,” fails again this year to take meaningful steps to curb climate change.

Never to exceed 60 mph when driving over Middlebury Gap. Unless, of course, it’s to pass some Masshole who’s driving a Hummer.

To have a western omelette at the Halfway House, and find out if the waitresses really do go about their rounds without a stitch of clothing.

I will, however, decline all offers to pose myself for the next calendar of nude locals. Unless it’s to raise money for a good cause such as a manure spreader for the Salisbury Select Board. Or a new lens for the spy camera on Holley Hall in Bristol.

I will catch a fish in the New Haven after July 1. Even if I have to shoot the damn thing.

To make my annual contribution to Middlebury College. Because, after all, the trustees’ meeting room hasn’t been renovated in at least five years, and the Astroturf on the playing fields needs to be replaced ever so badly.

Never to write another mock Christmas letter. The last time I did that, several people ended up believing that I have a wife who is an alcoholic and two children who’ve been to prison. In actual fact, only one of my kids has been in prison. The other two have gotten off with just probation. So far.

And lastly: I will never write another column with a pen in one hand, and a bottle of whisky in the other.

- 30 -


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