Do you know what I’ve discovered? According to all the leading news media, the #1 New Year’s resolution of Americans is to “lose weight,” quickly followed by exercise more, drink less alcohol, get out of debt, and quit smoking. If 50% of us conquered these resolutions every year, we’d be the skinniest, most smoke-free, wealthiest, healthiest, and potentially the most boring people on the face of the planet because we
wouldn’t have time for anything else.
Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes|image from fastatforty.blogspot.com
It is well known, and the fodder of many comedians, that our mostly superficial resolutions don’t usually last past the second week of January. Just recently it was brought to my attention that most of our top five resolutions rarely include something that is magnificent—like “become heroes.” If we’re honest with ourselves, our temporary resolves are mostly external and mean a great deal to us because they give us the short-term illusion that we’re “WINNING!” at the game of life of being popular especially when our traveling stadium of friends, relatives, and co-workers enviously applaud our triumphs—no matter how short-lived. At least that is what my “sorry ass” told me when I was on the treadmill attempting to shred it of its copious “jelly” while trying not to think about how hungry I was after six days of strenuous dieting, 60 minutes of daily treadmill walking, 55 minutes of alternate-day Zumba dancing, and 30 minutes of three times a week Kettle Bell swinging that had almost put one of my eyes out.
Cartoon by Mark Parisi|image from offthemark.com
My iPod blared one of my favorite workout songs (“Holding Out for a Hero” by Dean Pitchford from the film Footloose) as I jogged the third 6.0 incline on the treadmill and felt very smug and superior about myself and my top two resolutions—lose weight and exercise more.
“Holding Out For A Hero”
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong, he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure, he’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life, larger than life
Writer/s: PITCHFORD, DEAN / STEINMAN, JIM
Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Just as I started to harmonize with Bonnie Tyler at the top of my lungs on the lyric, “AND HE’S GOTTA BE LARGER THAN LIFE, LARGER THAN LIIIIIIIIIIIIIFE,” I heard someone say: “Feed me, bitch!” Thinking it was my husband (WW) who must have suddenly lost his mind and morphed into a Tyler Perry Madea-like voice, I shouted toward the basement ceiling so that the sound would carry to the upstairs bedroom.
ME: WW, DID YOU SUDDENLY WAKE UP WITH A DEATH WISH?
MY ASS: Your man ain’t here. He went to the sto’ to get some eats which you failed to buy us yesterday when you hauled me (your chunky “sorry ass”) through Whole Foods lookin’ for kale and tofu. White and Wonderful (WW) is as tired of eatin’ that crap as I am of eliminatin’ it. (For the record Bitch: what self-respecting black woman eats kale and tofu?) I’m so hungry I’m about to detach myself from your body, crawl up your back, grab your car keys, and drive your ass to the grocery sto’! You better hope yo’ man brings home somethin’ chocolate and deep fried or else you and your sorry ass are gonna’ be on the 6 o’clock news ‘cause I plan on havin’ me a throw-down.
ME: (Mumbling to myself) This is not real . . . my ass can’t be talking to me . . . this must be a hallucination brought on by dehydration or lack of fat in my diet. WW warned me to drink more water. Besides, nothing is going to make me break my diet and exercise resolutions this year—absolutely nothing! And just in case it’s a demon, I’ll cast it out for good measure: “Get behind me Satan!”
MY ASS: Girl, you’re a bigger fool than I thought. My name ain’t Satan, it’s “Sorry-ass” and I’m already behind you because I belong to you. Long as we been livin’ together, you don’t know yo’ own ass? I’m tired of your shit—DO YOU HEAR ME? An ass cannot live by bein’ a traveling bootie-chair alone! Heifer, you been puttin’ me through this starvation routine for over sixty years and it’s always the same. You starve me practically to death and whittle my ass almost into oblivion until I almost fall off, but then as soon as you take a gulp of air or can’t maintain your gerbil exercise routine, the fat comes right back and plumps yo’ ass into fluffy-nutter status, baby! Just ask my best girl (Oprah’s sorry-ass)—we will always, always return—Dr. Oz or no Dr. Oz. Now I told you befo’: FEED ME, BITCH—I’M ABOUT TO FAINT DEAD AWAY!
ME: La-la-la-la, I’m not listening to you. Besides, your argument isn’t really fair! I’ve gone years when I’ve made you disappear, and I did it by not giving into temptation. So go away!
MY ASS: Yeah, but I always came back, didn’t I? Sometimes you’d make me disappear for 4 or 5 years at a time, but then I’d just bide my sweet ol’ time, and six partyin’ months later of weekly vodka gimlets and rib eye steaks, and whoop, there I am! Your lady lumps and me would show up larger than life at the end of your most die-hard resolutions. Lord Jesus, I have no idea how I got stuck with you because you’re really not very bright, girlfriend. You think you’d learn after all these years to make resolutions that weren’t so fly-by-night. Why don’t you stop torturin’ my ass and decide to do something that will make you an asset (you like my pun: asset?) to the human race? I heard you singin’ about “holdin’ out for a hero who is larger than life.” Instead of you waitin’ for someone else to become a hero, why don’t you become someone’s hero?
ME: Shut up, shut the fuck up! There is no way I’m going to start out 2013 by being lectured to by my ass. If I start out this way, Lord knows where I’ll end up at the end of the year—probably flushed down some proverbial toilet. Besides, my 5th resolution is, “Become a better person,” Miss Chubby-ass Know-it-all.
MY ASS: What the fuck does that mean: “Become a better person”? All you humans write that crazy shit at some point in your lives, but it’s only done to make you feel better about yo’selves—rarely does any y’all follow through. I’ve been chattin’ it up with some of the other sorry asses throughout the land and they agree all y’all are pretty much the same. You’ll promise the moon as long as it doesn’t cost you nothin’. You’ll say “I love you,” but make choices to hide parts of your heart and soul from each other. Become a better person? Become a better person, how? You forget that you sit on me when you say your prayers rather than kneelin’, you lazy heifer, so I hear everythin’ you afraid of. I know your greatest fear is dyin’ without makin’ a difference in the world.
ME: Well, that’s cold! And what do you mean you’ve been communicating with other asses? How is that even possible?
MY ASS: What you humans don’t know about life I could fill an ocean with. All the sorry-asses of the world have a communication system downstairs that would make the servants’ quarters of Downton Abbey seem like child’s play. (Giiiiiirrrrl, don’t you just love that show?) Annnyyyhoo, you may think the upstairs head and heart controls yo’ destiny but y’all humans are just an intestinal flu, a severe food poisoning, or auto-immune disease away from singing with Jesus. All I gots to do is run a coup on you with kidney and liver, and your heart would collapse before you could say, “help me Jesus, help, help me Jesus!” That’s how precarious ya’ll lives are, and since that is the case, why don’t more of you make your #1 New Year’s resolution something more profound—like ”become a hero”? Debi Mazar’s ass, which is quite lovely I might add, told me the other day that Debi says:
“A hero is somebody who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people. A hero to me is someone who saves people and who really deeply cares.”
But if the truth be known, me and the rest of the sorry-asses have found most of y’all humans to be pretty self-centered. You’re like Scrat, the saber-tooth squirrel, from Ice Age who is so fixated on findin’ and keepin’ his own acorns (this is like y’all humans clingin’ to your own shit—be it anything from a couple of dollars to an empire), that he barely gives up his stash to fall in love with Scrattee, the female saber-tooth squirrel (the only bitch that really “gets him” through all the ages by the way). And even though he loves his woman, he abandons Scrattee in the end to the dangerous world of dinosaurs who will probably trample her ass in a New York minute. And why does Scrat do that? So that he can chase after his self-centered acorn addiction. And what does his selfish, anti-hero choices get him: A world of hurt and constant crazy-ass mayhem. All I gots to say is that humans are a lot like Scrat and you are one sorry-ass race of people! Now feed me, goddamnit!
Scrat an Scratte from Ice Age|image from freewallpaper-picture.net
ME: (At that moment, the front door is heard opening and closing upstairs.) WW, is that you, honey?
WW: Of course it’s me. Who else would it be—you and I are the only ones who live here. Have you finished exercising?
ME: No, I’ve had enough of this torture today, because I think I might be hallucinating from lack of fat in my diet. In fact, why don’t we go to Ben’s Chili Bowl for lunch for a mouth-watering “half-smoke” and some cheese fries?
WW: I’m up for that. But I don’t want to hear one word next week about your ass looking too fat in your jeans. Deal?
I am discovering that our calling in life is to be heroes—it’s what being human is all about, and if you believe in God, I think it is what he expects of us. I also am discovering that the core of a hero’s heart is love, and the single most deterrent to becoming a hero is self-centeredness. What if our #1 New Year’s resolution was to become heroes to the people we say we love (if we can’t do this for people we love, then screw the ones we despise) which would mean our raison d’etre would be to let go of anything that would bring our loved ones harm and to walk alongside them to help them become all they were created to be. Of course it would mean that we’d all have to give up something that was a “right” or an “obsessive need” in order for those we love to succeed, because sometimes what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.
And if 53% of us became heroes to our families (no one cheated on their spouses, no one lied to their friends, no one abused their children, no one was dismissive to the needy amongst us, no one was dishonest about their hopes and fears, and no one was slow to ask and give forgiveness when we screwed up), can you imagine what would happen to America as the sparks of heroism in our families morphed together and spread across the land forming safe-havens of our towns, our cities, our countryside, and our governing bodies? There wouldn’t be a stalmate about gun control in our country, there would only be the collective resolve to become heroes to our country’s children to do whatever was necessary so that they’d grow up and become heroes themselves. Rape, murder, and mayhem would cease to exist in our neighborhoods, and racial hatred and homophobia would become a thing of the past because we’d all be heroes looking for ways to “lay down our lives” (euphemistically speaking ) when it came to our self-centered desires over the genuine needs of our fellow man .
But I suppose the reason we rarely make our #1 New Year’s resolution to “become heroes” is because the world is much too populated with sorry-ass Scrats who just can’t let go of their lust for acorns.
Pic from Google Images
“How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.”—Benjamin Franklin
“My Dad is my hero. He’s 85 now and he is in great health. He is handsome and strong. He has an incredible moral and ethical backbone. I couldn’t have been luckier with my parents.”—Harry Connick, Jr.
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”—Christopher Reeve
“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.”—E. W. Howe
“The thing about a hero, is even when it doesn’t look like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s going to keep digging, he’s going to keep trying to do right and make up for what’s gone before, just because that’s who he is.”—Joss Whedon
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