News Columns & Blogs

No resolutions, just a moment of clarity

A few years ago, I bought a used roadster and probably paid too much for it. It was 12-years-old then and there were soon some unexpected and expensive repairs. Even an oil change on that car is not cheap.

But you know what? There are no regrets. In fact, that purchase is looking smarter all the time.

Here’s why: we cashed out of the stock market and used the proceeds to buy the car. My wife was very tolerant, allowing me to satisfy this late middle age crisis.

Back then, the stock market was soaring, but as per our usual — as the worst investors in the universe — it seemed our little portfolio was shrinking a little more everytime we looked at it.

In the old days, they used to say, buy stocks, and put them in a drawer and forget about them. These days, that’s a sure prescription for economic ruin.

If we had kept those stocks and not bought that over-priced roadster, we’d probably have $1.98 in stock value right now.

So, what would I rather have, a car that I enjoy driving or $1.98 in stocks that make me weep when I look at them? The answer is pretty clear.

I’m not recommending that anyone do what we did, because we did get lucky in that one instance. Just don’t ask me about my 401K. I don’t know what’s left in there, and I’m too afraid to look.

With all that said, 2009 is just a few days away.

It’s customary this time of the year to make a resolution or two.

Except I don’t do that anymore.

The last time I seriously tried to look to the horizon with meaningful resolutions was in 2003. A year later, I returned to look at what I had written and gagged. The resolutions were so preposterous that anyone would have thought that they had been written under the influence.

At this point, I’m not certain that I could, in good faith, make a resolution to take off five pounds. The expectations that I could deliver on such a resolution are low.

There are lots of things that I might wish for: people being nicer to one another, to be more considerate, to stop bickering, to stop being prejudiced, or to have more tolerance, peace and understanding. We can wish for all that. We can pray for that. We can’t resolve to make it so.

So, no New Year’s resolutions for me.

But there is a moment of clarity that I want to share that could make your life easier and won’t cost you a nickle.

It’s called an S-hook, and my wife came up with the idea. She was watching me struggle while trying to put up Christmas lights at the highest point of our front porch.

It’s not a pretty sight, watching a guy who’s scared of heights standing on a too-short ladder reaching up as high as he can to attach some of those store-bought clips to hang a string of lights.

Miss Kim cut up a wire coat hanger and twisted the pieces into the shape of an “S.”

Those S-hooks were perfect for hanging lights and kept me from having so far to reach the rain gutter.

And they were far better than the store-bought hangers.