It’s the time of the year to make New Year’s Resolutions.
Most of these things don’t work, primarily because people pick hard stuff. Quit
smoking, lose weight, fix the country’s health care system… Y’know, stuff
that’s both good and important and yet is likely to fail.
One of the things I used to tell the kids when I taught the
research and thesis class was that if you wanted to have successful research,
you needed to have several hypotheses. The first one is the “Water is Wet
Hypothesis.” Basically, you are simply applying logic and theory to a set
of data that, unless you ended up sneaking into Bizzaroland, should work pretty
easily. The second one is the “Let’s Extend the Game Hypothesis.” In that case,
you’re stretching a bit, looking for a new way to apply the theory or moving
the theory into a new area or applying the theory to a new population. It’s new
and expansive while being fairly safe. The third one is the “If Wishes Were
Horses Hypothesis.” This is where, if the world were full of win and unicorns
and ice cream grew on trees and didn’t make you fat, you would substantially
augment/alter the theory through your findings on this hypothesis. In short,
don’t count on this panning out, but if it does, that’d be awesomesauce.
The problem with most of the resolutions is that they fit
into the third category. If you have been chain-smoking Luckies without the
filter for 40 years, chances are the calendar turning over to a new year isn’t
likely to be the key ingredient to helping you quit. If you’re thinking that
telling the Whopper guy to hold the mayo is going to help you drop from a size
80 to a size 8, you’re either Jared from Subway or you’re delusional. If you’re
trying to fix health care without popular president and a majority in congress
and… Uh… Wait… Yeah, OK…
The point is with this year, I’m applying the simple premise
of my research class to help me feel like I’m doing better on the resolutions. Tick
a few items off the list and I won’t be feeling like a failure if I don’t hit
the trifecta. Below is a list of the resolutions I’m making, using those three
key categories. Feel free to use the comment portion to add your own grouping
WATER IS WET:
– No neck tattoo of the name of my baby mama
– Avoid translating Sponge Bob Square Pants into Latin for
– Use movie scenes to more fully explicate concepts to my
students. “Guys, it’s just like in “The Hangover” when they went through the
clues of that night to figure things out. That’s research!”
– Spend more time thinking, working, praying and gawking as
it pertains to the Classic. How long until spring?
– Be less obnoxious than Dick Cheney when explaining to the
kids in the newsroom how “things used to be when I was at the ol’ student
paper.” Seriously. Dude. You’re done. Go home. Catch an episode or two of “The
Price is Right.”Watching him do stuff like this is like having someone commit
a rape, knock the victim up and then spend the next dozen years explaining to
her that she could be a better parent if she did a few things he’d suggested.
EXTEND THE GAME
– Spend more time with my kid that doesn’t involve her
watching TV. I’m being a really shitty parent, especially right now. Still, I
think her watching Sponge Bob is likely to help lower her IQ and keep me ever
so slightly ahead of her in our games of logic.(I will, however, parent her better thanthis jagoff…)
– Be less sarcastic in public. This is a borderline “Wishes
Were Horses” thing, but that’s why I added the “in public.” When you find
yourself wanderingthe aisles of Walmart on a weekend, you need a serious,
serious filter to keep from getting your ass kicked.
to Taylor Swift. In other words, I’m destroying my car radio with a crowbar…
– Stop putting off until tomorrow what I can do today. This
is exceptionally important when it comes to grading stuff. However, to be fair,
I think that if I graded stuff before it was even completed, I’d still have
kids bitching about not getting their grades fast enough.
– I will try to be more hip. This might be closer to a
“water is wet” one, as The Missus has often pointed out my complete lack of
knowledge of anything of pop culture value that happened post 1994. That said,
even I knew enough to know the underlying reality ofthis correction from WaPo.
– Get into better shape. Notice I didn’t say lose weight. I
can do that by just forgetting to eat, which is always a given during a
semester at a student newsroom. I’m talking about doing more to make what’s on
me jiggle less and make it easier to get up the stairs without wheezing when I
hear The Midget jumping on her bed during nap time.
WISHES WERE HORSES
– Stop overreacting to every thing The Missus buys. This is
a real difficulty, given that we’re on a budget that we’re not following and
I’m one of those psychotic people who practically lives in mortal fear of not
being able to pay off the credit card in full each month. Each time a package
arrived on the porch for Christmas, I practically convulsed. Gotta stop that,
as it’s turning out to be something of an issue at Casa Doc.
– Curse less. This might be like theKobayashi Maru
simulation, but I’m giving it a go. My first real job was in garage. I grew up
in a newsroom during college. Cussing just happens, almost to the point of not
realizing that “goddammned” isn’t an adjective. It’s getting bad around the
house. I told my wife not to buy “crap bread,” referring to the loaf of lousy
store-brand white bread. When I asked The Midget later that day if she’d like a
PBJ sandwich, she said, “Yes, but not on your nut bread. I need it on the crap
bread.” Can “Please pass the fucking crayons” in K4 be far behind? Not if I
don’t dial it back a notch.
– Try to listen to Glenn Beck. I don’t get this guy. I never
got this guy. In fact, I hope I never get this guy. However, I had three
students in one of my classes last semester reading his books like my
mother-in-law reads Nora Roberts. All three were smart kids and they all had
above average grades. They weren’t the screamy pundit kids. They all made
sense. Then again, I’m sure McCarthy made sense at some point as well. Still,
it’s on the list…
– Balance the asshole/decent guy sides of The Force. I think
I’m practically bipolar in the way that I have no compunction against failing
kids who do shitty work and yet I often find myself feeling bad about this. I
also react too fast and jump too quick when things poke me the wrong way. I
also drag my feet and wring my hands too much when I’m afraid of making a
mistake. I doubt this will be fixable, let alone in a single year, but it’s
more probable than deciphering Glenn Beck.
Hope you have a good start to 2010. Catch you next week.