New Year's Resolutions: An Elegy
We are fourteen days into 1678, and, as of yesterday morning, I have irrevocably broken all five of my New Year's resolutions. Nonetheless, though I am a man who looks to the future, I recognize the importance of burying my dead—so I shall take a brief moment to commemorate the short, sad lives of my good intentions for this year before I move on with my own life. Here, then, are my five resolutions for 1678 (in no particular order), and the tragic tales of their demise:
1. Give up drinking.
Born: First of January, 1678 at 9 o'clock a.m., amidst overwhelming nausea and a splitting headache.
Died: First of January, 1678 at five minutes past 9 o'clock a.m., following the discovery of a half finished bottle of ale by my bedside.
2. Be more tolerant of Sean.
Born: Thirty-first of December, 1677 at half past 11 o'clock p.m. (after the pair of us had more or less cleaned out my wine cellar) and immediately forgotten until three days later when Sean boasted of it in front of guests at a luncheon, claiming that he might eat my slice of plum pudding without fear of recrimination.
Died: Third of January 1678 at 1 o'clock p.m., during a luncheon in which Sean received a slice of plum pudding—traveling at high velocity—upon his new linen shirt.
3. Allow Patrick to finish his sentences before interrupting (or leaving the premises).
Born: First of January, 1678 at 10 o'clock a.m., when Patrick asked me to listen to his latest groundbreaking discovery about auto-regenerative healing capabilities within the phylum Nematoda.
Died: First of January, 1678 at 10 o'clock a.m., when Patrick continued speaking on this subject.
4. Read more academic literature.
Born: First of January, 1678 at five past 10 o'clock a.m., when Patrick accused me of being "an ill-informed, uneducated dunce who wouldn't know a brilliant idea from a swift smack across your pompous face."
Died: Eighth of January, 1678 at 7 o'clock p.m., after a brief encounter with Isaac Newton's Method of Fluxions, which Patrick had lent me and which, I must admit, is almost exactly as entertaining as a sharp blow to the head.
5. Attend church services on Sundays with my mother-in-law.
Born: Thirty-first of December, 1677 at 3 o'clock p.m., when Sean reminded me that, however much I may dislike the woman, I am all that she has in this world (which could translate into a sizeable inheritance for me if I play my cards right). I actually made good on this resolution last Sunday—accompanying her to three services and inviting her home to dine with me that evening.
Died: Thirteenth of January, 1678 at 5 o'clock a.m., when, struck by a recollection of the torments I had endured the previous Sunday, I sent my manservant George over to the woman's home to inform her that I had left the country forever in order to teach the Gospel to savages in the Far East.