January, 2016 – Resolutions, of a Sort


Cantankerously Yours

Resolutions, of a Sort

By Wendell Abern

Dear Readers,

This is kind of new territory for me. I mean, resolutions are made by people who intend to somehow reform. And who would I be kidding? I mean, c’mon, am I really going to give up hot fudge and the pursuit of Jennifer Anniston?

If I actually made a resolution, it would be to become even crankier than I already am, and to offend as many people as possible.

To that end, I have made a list of certain things I do intend to change, fix, improve upon or eliminate this year.

1 – Eating fish.

I will do so once this year. I had fish twice in 2015. The second time it left such a bad taste in my mouth I ate a steak immediately afterwards.

2 – Eating red meat.

I keep hearing how unhealthy it is to eat as much red meat as I do. So I am cutting back to only twice a day.

3 – Ending my, “There’s no fool like an old fool” reign.

Okay, this one is kind of embarrassing to admit. This year, my intentions obviously dishonorable, I did ask several women I judged to be somewhere in their thirties, “Are you aware that 82 years old is the new 37?”

This year, I’ll be 83, and I am tired of being laughed at and scorned. I will make sure all women I approach are least 40.

4 – Save the Children.

          I’ve always read that one could support a child overseas through this wonderful organization – for only $15 a month. So I called my son and daughter-in-law and suggested they send my grandchildren to Bulgaria for ten years. But they didn’t think it was such a good idea. Well, I tried.

5 – Acrylic Painting.

I’ve been trying this for about two years now, and still haven’t improved much. I started out painting abstracts. Pathetic. So I tried copying a photograph of a dog, a beautiful sleeping Beagle. By the time I’d finished, it looked like a pregnant porcupine.

I switched back to abstracts. Quite proud of one, I showed it to a neighbor. He said, “Nice Rohrschact test!”

6 – The upcoming presidential election.

In 1968, I wasted my vote by sending a write-in vote for Richard Nixon as dog-catcher for Lake County, Illinois. I am giving serious consideration to doing the same thing this coming year, but so far I haven’t found anyone deserving.

7 – Ignore all new technology!

Okay, granted, I come from a generation in which a curser meant someone who swore a lot, a cloud was a white fluffy thing in the sky, and a mouse was a little furry creature whose sudden appearance made my mother jump into the kitchen sink.

My only concessions to co-existing peacefully with this new world are my computer, my DVR and my dumbphone.

I simply cannot keep up with the I-phones, the app’s, the wizzes, the zingos, the barumbas, or whatever those funny names are for all the gadgetry now dominating our lifestyles. I need an updated dictionary to explain all the new words that have cropped up, and a live-in eight-year old to explain them all to me.

8 – New names.

From now on, I think many professional football players should be called misogynistic bullies instead of athletes; most movie comedies should be labeled, “Sophomoric humor only,” and all emergency rooms should be called, “Waiting rooms.”

9 – Getting rid of Brian.

I thought I’d seen the last of him. He had not showed up for a few years, but made a reappearance when I went to see the movie, “The Intern.” (For those of you who may not have been privy to my previous complaints about Brian, that is the name I’ve given to the six-foot seven guy who has been sitting in front of me in movies since I was eight.)

10 – Putting a clamp on my mojuth.

I’ve been trying to do this one for about 70 years. Somehow, I always have something to say. Half the time it’s wrong. Or dumb. This is especially true whenever I get in trouble. That’s when I always say something to make matters worse.

I can still remember the first time. I was seven. “The new kid,” in a new school. My first day. Second grade bully at recess, looking for a fight.

“Whatchername?” he asked.


“You’re lyin’!”

I couldn’t just let it go. As usual, my mouth started going before my brain kicked into gear.

“So what?” I said. “You’re ugly.”

Big fight.

Haven’t learned since. In fact, to this day, some of my favorite bridge partners call me Cannonmouth.

11 – People Magazine.

They continue to deserve my wrath. Never have they named me as one of the 100 most beautiful people in the world. And they’ve never even considered me for, “Sexiest Man Alive.” I don’t get it. Don’t love handles the size of elephant ears count for anything any more?

12 – Wal-Mart Pharmacy.

I was a customer, waiting in line. Only two people in front of me. Four people were working behind the counter, but no one was waiting on us.

“Help!” I yelled. “Help! Help!”

This caught the attention of one of the pharmacy assistants.

“What’s wrong?” she yelled.

“I’m not sure,” I yelled back. “I mean, you’ve got us outnumbered, four to three, but no one is waiting on us.”

My fellow customers grinned.

A security guard appeared from nowhere. He crossed his arms and gave me a dirty look. “What’s your name?” he asked.

My response was automatic. “Rumplestiltskin,” I said.

He escorted me out after I picked up my prescription.

Some day, before I reach 90 years old, I’m going to learn to keep my mouth shut.

Cantankerously Yours,

Wendell Abern


Wendell Abern can be reached at .