My best friend David receives more unsolicited advice from his friends (and even mere acquaintances) than anyone I know, particularly at this time of year. In fact, our friend Adam typically takes it upon himself to assign David a handful of New Year's resolutions. After all, it's certainly easier and much more fun to make commitments on behalf of others than for ourselves. It's in this spirit that I now identify several key resolutions for 2013 and "voluntell" well-known figures to fulfill them.
Exercise (the brain) more: Charles Gregory. What could possibly lead the newly-elected Georgia state representative to believe that proposing legislation that eliminates gun licensing requirements and lifts bans on guns in churches and colleges is an appropriate response to the Newtown massacre? Thank you, Charles, for resolving in the New Year to think before you act at least three times a week.
Tell the truth: Kevin Systrom. Facing a backlash following Instagram's move to amend its terms of service to allow users' photographs to be used in advertising, the CEO claims that Instagram "has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did." Never did? Why should we believe that claim when a) the terms of service suggest users could star in an ad without their knowledge, b) Instagram and similar fast-growing web businesses are desperate to develop revenue streams, and c) a preponderance of evidence suggests you lied under oath in August about acquisition offers? Kevin, you will continue in the New Year to develop elaborate filters for photos, but stop applying them to your version of the truth.
Work with others to solve problems: John Boehner. Negotiating like you don't need an agreement can work when you don't need an agreement. Unfortunately for Boehner, Americans will blame the Republicans if we go over the so-called fiscal cliff. Our budget problem won't be solved by Plan B, C, or D -- or by embarrassing yourself when you can't round up the votes you need for a meaningless piece of legislation. You failed to deliver on your party's goal of making Obama a one-term president. In the New Year, you resolve to focus on actually trying to get things done for our country.
Accept responsibility: Wayne LaPierre. Who else feels like a naïve fool for hoping the NRA's silence immediately after Newtown might possibly portend a desire to work collaboratively to prevent future gun massacres? Silly me. We now know it was part of an unseemly strategy to double down with absurd attacks on a desperately needed discussion on gun violence ("While some have tried to exploit the tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectfully silent.") and on heroic efforts to make schools safer for children ("Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones... They post signs advertising them. And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.") Wow. Wayne, you resolve first to get a grip on reality so that consumers of information avoid mistaking coverage of NRA events for Onion articles. You then resolve to accept that the NRA may actually contribute to gun violence in our country and work to fix it.
Set a high bar: Lovie Smith: After falling from a dominant 7-1 record to a shaky 9-6, the head coach of the storied Chicago Bears declares, "This time of year you want to be in it, you want to be relevant. And we are. We have a chance." What? All of a sudden the measure of success is being relevant enough that Bears fans must root for their archrival Packers to win their final game just for Chicago to have a chance to make the postseason? Lovie, way to move the goalposts in a lame attempt to save your job. No lov(i)e lost from us Bears fans this holiday season! When you find yourself unemployed in the offseason, you resolve to find a new job rather than just stay "relevant."
Be a team player: Tim Tebow. The New York Jets quarterback tells coaches that he no longer wants to be used in the situational Wildcat packages. Kind of reminds me of when Scottie Pippen refused to get off the bench with 1.8 seconds left in Game 3 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Semi Finals after Phil Jackson designed the final play for Toni Kukoc. If I were General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, I'd take a page out of my high school tennis coach's playbook and tell Tebow he's now the 54th man on a 53-person roster. Tim, thank you for resolving to be a team player next season on whatever team you wind up on. As Lovie might say, it's the best way for a player with your limited talent to stay relevant.
In the spirit of the holiday season, I invite you to join me in creating resolutions for others to fulfill. What resolution would you assign to which prominent figure?
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