The list below is, of course, assuming you'll step out of your house in 2014. I tend not to unless I have to, and when I do I usually bring a backpack with me. People always ask me why I bring it with me. I've been doing it for so long that it's like one of those tight dog collars that sort of just grows around the skin and becomes one with the poor animal. The bag has essentials though, essentials like a mini first aid kit -- because you never know when a shoelace will touch a public bathroom floor, and you have the rest of the day to think about what disease is slithering its way into the shoe and then under your toe nail, and finally, into your brain stem. I don't care if you think I'm neurotic. I haven't been sick in years. Physically sick, that is.
Given the above, and, well, just look out your window, man, do you see that? It's chaos! I'll try and steer you toward a less stressful, healthier 2014. You may be slightly miserable, though, so either take it or leave it.
Numero Uno: Stay sane and don't go to the movies.
Like, at all. Over the Christmas break I did something really dumb. Okay, a few things really dumb (my God, she didn't even have teeth). But the dumbest thing I did was that I went to the movies and sat with other people in a movie theater, for close to three hours. I say close to three hours because the time online said 3:50 p.m., but of course the movie didn't begin until 4:30. I had to sit through, what is that, 40 minutes, of appalling trailers. Have you seen the trailer for Her? Jesus. I did luck out, however. I found a seat adjacent to the handicap space/seat, so I had First Class leg room and my own little area to do calisthenics if I suddenly felt a heart attack approaching after that large popcorn with butter-like substance leaving a diarrhea trail in my veins.
So, yes, one of my resolutions for 2014 is to not go to the movies. UNLESS it's a matinee, and when I say matinee, what I really mean is, I want to literally turn the key with Kevin the manager. If you have to take a sick day to do this, do it. You can't take four sick days just to see movies, this I know. Actually, you could if you don't have a grown-up job, but you should really reserve going to the movies for really epic films; Gravity (even though it sucked), Oblivion, or my favorite, Bullet to the Head, which is such an ironic title because when you're alone in the theater watching this opus, you really wouldn't mind if you got a bullet to the head.
So to recap, stay sane during your entertainment night out in 2014 -- and stay in. Or go in the morning. Actually, being alone in a theater, or God help you, with four or five people, is really a pleasant experience. Or just do what everyone else does and pirate the fucking thing and watch it on your iPad.
And sorry, but to the studios, it's not worth $11 to sit with 100 people, eat shitty food, and watch a movie that I can't really hear because in the next theater you're showing the LOUDEST FUCKING MOVIE THAT HAS EVER BEEN MADE. Note to Kevin, show quiet movies next to quiet movies. Don't put me in theater 2 to see Midnight in Paris if Iron Man 3 is playing next door, because I can't hear a word Owen Wilson is saying to the faux Ernest Hemingway. And I need that in my life.
Resolution 2: Don't use gift cards.
If you have a gift card, from anywhere, sell it for cash. Now, why would I tell you to sell the $40 gift card to Hot Topic? Because when you have a gift card, you spend recklessly. Gift cards aren't completely real. Sure, they have cash value on them, but aside from it being a shitty gift that clearly nobody thought enough about you to buy you something tangible, we tend to waste that money. "Oh, I NEED this rubber spatula that also has a kitchen timer on it!" The only type of gift card I'd want is a gas card. "Oh, so a gas card is thoughtful, but one to LL Bean isn't?" Ah, yes -- actually. I can use a gas card. Gas is expensive, yo, and what the fuck am I going to buy at LL Bean, goulashes? (Yes, I had to spell check that word -- eat it.) I would never set foot in an LL Bean unless someone gave me an LL Bean gift card. At least if you got me a gas card, I wouldn't feel my ass hurting when I went to fill up my tank.
So if you can sell that gift card for cash, do it. I don't care if you sell it for half of its value. Studies (somewhere, Google it) show that we tend to think more critically about purchases when we use cash. So put that cash in your pocket and make it rain!
Resolution 3: Go to the gym in February.
We all want to look better, feel better, and have more self esteem, right? If you don't feel good, you don't even feel like leaving your bed in the morning. I mean, I'm self-loathing to a point, which is why I would never set foot in a gym because I don't want to be judged. Thankfully, I don't need to go to a gym, but if you do, or want to, and this is something you've thought about so you can finally squeeze into that zero piece bathing suit, stay home during the month of January, do some pushups, and begin your gym resolution in February.
By the way, I commend your commitment to being healthier.
Now, I know what you're saying. "Why, Chris? Why not start in January and get my free month on the elliptical?" Well, you can obviously, but people are going to know that your resolution is to go to the gym to lose weight and tone up that ass. If the people at the gym are like me, they're judgmental. While I'm doing my 3.6 on the treadmill (BUT A STEEEEEEP INCLINE), I'd be thinking, "Okay, definitely has a resolution. Not sure about you. You? Yes! I KNOW IT!" Stay home for the month and that way when February 1 comes around, you'd have lost poundage and basically be immune to this whole problem.
The guessing at the gym as to who has a resolution and who doesn't is almost like during the following days after Christmas, guessing which stranger's clothes were gifts and which clothes weren't. Any jacket you see immediately after Christmas, you know it was a gift. Gloves, too. I try and hold off on wearing any new shit for a least a week, or a stain, whichever comes first.
Resolution 4: Be more pleasant.
I have no experience with this and can't offer any guidance on it. But be more pleasant. If you really can't stomach the sight of someone, pretend. We're all in this together.
Resolution 5: Stop using your phone to pay for your coffee.
That's it. I don't want to get into it. People that know me, know this is a thing with me. The scanner never reads the phone, and it just f's things up. If you do have to use your phone, just make sure I'm not behind you in line.
Number 6: Be a better lover.
If you do it exactly how I wrote it, your partner will never leave your side. No, really.
Resolution 7: Break your resolutions.
Nobody cares about them or adheres to them, so why even make them? We always break our resolutions and then feel crappy about ourselves, so why not feel GOOD about yourself and make a resolution that you're going to break your resolution. You'll have accomplished something, right? Even if it's a placebo effect. It's the little things in life.