Epic failure of New Year’s resolution

Well, I might as well tell you all that I’m going to hell because someone stole my bucket of tools. I am not proud of it, but it can’t be helped.

Let me explain my epic failure.

This time of year is always special to me, mostly because I get to start a new year with the hope that this year I’m going to stick to my resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, swear less, and become a good person.

I take this annual task seriously and I have dutifully written my goals and aspirations and proudly posted them to remind me daily that it’s all about forming good habits.

Good habits are the building blocks of a meaningful life where people, including the undertaker, are really sad when you die and say good things about you at your funeral.

I mean, how am I going to be Citizen of the Year if I can’t even make it one day trying to be a good, decent, well-behaved person who serves others selflessly.

As is my custom, the week before January 1 I’ve pondered and thought of the lofty aspirations I know I should work toward.

Using Benjamin Franklin’s formula for being perfect, I make my list of virtues and a little table so I can check each day when I was successful in practicing and then, theoretically, obtaining a given virtue.

Given enough practice I would personify these virtues, so much so that when people said “kind” or “patient” they would think of the Cave Guy – almost synonymously.

But NO! January 1, 2021 and I am up early ready to start practicing my plan to become perfect. I head to my office, read my list of virtues, and almost pop a button that I have such a comprehensive list. But I catch myself before I let pride shipwreck my first virtue, which is “be humble.”

I have an inspiring picture that I plan to hang in a prominent place in my office so I’ll be able to open each day soaring among the clouds. I can feel it. This is going to be the year I finally become a better person.

To hang my picture I need my level and hammer, so I go to find my tool bucket which has all my tools I treasure and need when it comes to being a handyman.

This tool bucket has helped me remodel nine houses. I have used it almost every day whether I’m on my way to help a neighbor, remodel my house, or work on my honey-do list.

Each tool has been worn smooth with use, each in their proper place to do exactly what they were designed and intended to do. My tools are an extension of me.

My dad, rest his soul, ingrained the proper care and use of tools into my head when I was young. My dad didn’t believe much in sin, but not caring for your tools would have been #11 on the big list.

His tools brought order to life, they gave him power to fix and repair, they made it possible to serve others, they were a means to an end.

He became more than just a man. He became the capable hands of God going on an errand to fix something for someone who needed help.

So, I go to find my tool bucket. To my surprise and dismay, it’s not in its place. I look all over the place. I tear apart the shop. I tear apart the garage, then the house, and I even go in and accuse my too-kind-and-loving wife – which might be the single most ludicrous thing I have ever done.

We have a pact. I never go into the kitchen and start organizing anything and she stays out of my shop. This is the secret to a long, happy marriage.

She is too kind and loving so of course she drops what she’s doing to help me tear apart everything else and revisit everywhere I’ve already looked. I have a long history of not being able to see things in plain sight – she claims.

After an exhaustive search, I go to a very dark place in my brain and conclude that someone stole my tool bucket.

I start with the usual suspects: son-in-law, neighbor, the Bishop, and in-laws. I use words and vows that would make any sailor blush and repent.

I curse humanity. I curse the neighbor’s dog. I curse COVID.

Mark Twain said it best: “Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”

Oh, I am getting plenty of relief. Relief is coming my way like fireworks at a New Year’s Eve celebration.

So, all this takes place before 8 a.m. on January 1. I had started the morning determined to work on being perfect, and suddenly I let a lost tool bucket stop my heavenly progress.

I admit, I have a long history of never completing all (or any) of my new year’s resolutions. I’ve been at it for 61 years and never got it done yet.

So, it’s not that I am surprised I didn’t become perfect, but breaking all of my resolutions by 8 a.m. on the first day is a record, even for me.

There. Now you know why I’m going to hell. I let one lost tool bucket – maybe a couple hundred dollars of old used tools – stand between me and being Citizen of the Year or heaven, whichever might have happened first.

Oh, by the way, I found my tool bucket.

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