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The Dorsal View – 8 January 2015

Resolving to forget about New Year’s resolutions

Another year, another slew of patients crossing the threshold of your surgery, struggling with their doomed New Year’s resolutions. The urge to drop bad habits or pick up good ones is laudable but people would do well to balance this with a sense of realism and practicality.

With that in mind, The Dorsal View is happy to offer a few philosophical musings on the whole concept of the New Year’s resolution, some of which may strike a chord.

Author Bill Vaughan, for instance, offers this one: “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old one leaves.”

Vaughan offers another slice of his particular brand of wisdom: “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.”

The Irish heritage of satirist PJ O’Rourke may betray him when he postulates: “The proper behaviour all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year’s Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you’re married to.”

A more philosophical line is taken by author and columnist Eric Zorn, who states: “Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self-assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.”

As you might expect, Oscar Wilde had his own singular view on this time of year: “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”

Mark Twain was equally cynical on the subject: “New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, friendly calls and humbug resolutions.”

Twain again: “New Year’s Day now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

And one that may resonate, from diarist James Agate: “New Year’s Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.”

A happy and healthy New Year to one and all.

Can-do attitude

As another year of trying to stem the tide of obesity begins, one man put his health on the line to demonstrate the hazards of sugary drinks and encourage people to stop and think.

LA man George Prior temporarily put his normally healthy lifestyle on hold to spend one month drinking 10 cans of Coca Cola each day. In those 30 days, the 50-year-old lost his sculpted physique and developed a large pot belly, piling on two stone in weight during that time.

He tried to stick to a healthy diet of nuts and berries during the month but found himself too bloated from the Coke to eat at mealtimes. In addition, his blood pressure went up from 129/77 at the beginning, to 145/96 when the month was up.

“I’d like to see controls on the lobbying and spending of big corporations who sell sugar and don’t want the government to tell people how bad it is,” said Prior, who also took aim at juice products targeted at children.

“Kids shouldn’t drink Cokes. But then kids shouldn’t drink juices, either, and that’s going to be a very hard sell to parents who believe that juice is ‘natural’ or even ‘organic’. It’s sugar, and not only do kids not need it, it’s bad for them.

“I think there are a lot of people suffering health problems like diabetes and heart disease, who aren’t aware they could help themselves by just stopping sugar.” A sweet idea.

A nose for crime

In a segue from one type of Coke to another, a police dog in California was rushed to a veterinary hospital recently after snorting an undetermined amount of cocaine during a routine drugs search.

This was always going to be an occupational hazard for sniffer dogs but Koda the German shepherd got a little more than he bargained for when, during a routine search of a car, he accidentally sucked the cocaine straight up his nose. Thankfully, Koda made a full recovery and is back at work.

“While every effort is made to ensure the safety of the canines, the discovery of suspected drugs can lead to this situation,” said a police spokesperson.

Despite the fact that Koda had snorted the evidence, LA police were still able to prosecute the driver.

Pecking order

Some of us who work in a multidisciplinary team might like this joke a reader kindly sent to me.

A man walks into a pet shop and asks the price of a particular parrot. “€2,ooo,” replies the shopkeeper. “Why so expensive?” the man asks.

“Because he can type 60 words a minute.”

“What about this other one?”

“He’s €5,000,” comes the reply, “he can type and answer the phone.”

“And this last one?” the exasperated man asks.

“Oh, he’s €10,000.”

“You’re kidding,” says our customer, “What does he do?”

“We’re not sure,” says the shopkeeper, “but the other two call him ‘boss’.”

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