A New Year makeover, starting with a to-do list

Monday, December 31, 2007 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:28 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Instead of making a wish list for the new year, I decided I needed a complete makeover, and I decided to write a need-to-do list to accomplish that. For years, certain of my personal deficiencies have made me stand out among some people like a broken arm.

I looked around at the kind of individuals the world seems to favor and found these are some of the things I need to do to become a tad more socially acceptable.

For instance, I am going to make a concentrated effort to recognize celebrities such as actors, sports figures and rich people.

As it is, I couldn’t identify a photograph of Brad Pitt if it were hidden in a crowd of two. People who stay in tune with the stars look at me as if I should be committed when I admit that.

So I’m going to try to admire people who earn more money in a two-minute walk across a stage than I do in a year. Even more important, I’m going to figure out why I should.

This year I’m going to use an ATM. Some people seem to feel you’re un-American if you don’t.

I’m going to get in my car and drive into the parking lot of the bank and go right up to the machine and do whatever it takes to make the money come out, whether I need it or not. I can tell everyone that I’m late for the appointment because I had to stop and use the ATM.

I’m going to pay someone to call on my cell phone when I’m eating in an expensive restaurant. That way I can talk loudly enough to annoy the people at the next table when they are trying to enjoy the steak they have paid an arm and a leg for.

I notice that the people who behave this way seem to have a lot of friends; otherwise, they wouldn’t be getting calls all the time.

I’m really tired of people assuming I’m visiting from another planet because I think it’s stupid to drive, talk on the phone and drink coffee at the same time. When I say there ought to be a law against that kind of behavior, some folks literally glare at me.

Evidently, I’m going to have to make a lot of changes if I’m going to fit in with the popular set. One thing I know for sure: It’s going to be difficult for me to get up, get dressed, drive to a department store and stand in line for an early sale.

In fact, there’s something about the idea of standing in line for hours to hand somebody my money, whether it is to attend an event or purchase an item, that sours my stomach. Since most of our goods are manufactured in China, I think merchants should pay me to shop, considering that occasionally I’m taking my life in my hands when I purchase their merchandise.

I once worked for an organization where my boss, who was younger than my son, told me that his goal was to transform me into a perfect employee. He failed, but he gave it a good try.

If I knew where he was today, I’d call him for assistance. In this case, I really think my heart is in the right place but my spirit is holding me back. However, I’m determined to press on.

The reason I decided to turn over a new leaf again is because I hear the presidential candidates talk about what the average American wants, hopes, thinks or feels, and I’m not one of them.

That obviously means I need to make some amends. I’m supposed to have somebody representing me who shares my viewpoints, and that doesn’t seem to be happening. And since I’ve always believed that people act their way into thinking as often as they think their way into acting, I thought I would begin my mission with the little things.

Finally, I need to become more tolerant of individuals who refuse to apologize when they cut in front of me in the check-out line, invade somebody else’s country in my name, or turn loose of their grocery cart and allow it to roll into the trunk of my car.

Accepting the fact that it’s all about people getting what they want by any means necessary, being polite is a waste of valuable time.

I guess I have always been an outsider, the one who marched to a different drummer. But maybe, before I fix myself, I need to consider all the other things that go along with my new lifestyle.

Does this mean I’ll have to eat fast food, visit chat rooms, watch reality TV, play videogames or text-message my next-door neighbor?

In that case, on second thought, maybe being a hermit is not all bad.

Perhaps I should wait until next year to make a big change. After all, isn’t there some kind of caution about biting off more than one can chew?

Same person, different year. Have a happy one.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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