Like I do every year around this time, I resolve to dedicate the new year to living more like William Wordsworth suggested. Specifically, I will read this sonnet on occasion and try to make the world less with me. If I can't do that, at least, maybe I can accomplish some things on my list below.
1. Block everyone on Linked In who posts a poll. Not only are they stupid, they're stupid. And their stupidity annoys me.
2. Continue to boycott all Fox networks and encourage others to do the same. By watching Fox, in any form, you are giving money to the people who attempted the coup on January 6, 2021 and who propagate hateful sexist, racist and anti-environment lies. If agencies really cared, as they so often claim, about making the world better, how can we send our money to crypto-fascists.
3. Ask for proof when lies are uttered. When some agency wins their 48th "Agency of the Year" award, I'll ask to see some of the ads they did. Not for Scrabble, Lego or KFC with chicken pieces substituted as exhaust or hamburgers growing fungus.
4. Shut off the TV. 99 percent is insipid and by many measures pornographic. As Mrs. Chapin, my tenth grade English teacher once coupletted for me: "If praise from me you wish to brook/Go stick your nose inside a book."
5. Walk. Back to Wordsworth for a moment. It's been said he walked 175,000 miles in his lifetime. Considering he died at just 70, that's 6.85 miles a day for 70 years. It did ok for his creativity. Walking loosens your thoughts much more readily than carpet-squares and ceiling tiles.
6. Talk. I lost my closest friend in 2021. I wish I had him to talk to. Though we talked a lot in our half-century together, we didn't talk enough. I have to be better at this.
7. Squawk. When I see something dumb or hear something said that's backed with no evidence, I'm going to say something.
8. Calibrate. Back in the early 90s, when I was just a half-a-dozen years in the business, I did something smart: I pegged my salary demands to the major league baseball minimum. Today, I'm three decades smarter. I charge hourly what Fred Smith Plumbing charges.
9. Write. I've written every day for 15 years. It makes me a better writer and de-positions everyone else as a dilettante. It's my competitive edge. No one is beating the bushes looking for an old, fat, Jewish man with no interest in popular culture to write their ads. But somehow, I stay in demand. It's because I work at the writers' trade. And as I've been told, there are never enough good writers.
10. Don't work with people I don't like. As the t-shirt says: "Life's too short to work with assholes."
11. Be strict. I will not party. Or send an invite. I will go to parties and send invitations. I realize English is a living, changing language. But I have my standards--as outdated as they are--and I will stick to them.
12. Avoid instant replay. My aforementioned best friend of 50 years loved watching sports on TV and hated the concept of the instant replay. I never understood until now. Too many people think life, like TV-sports, comes with an instant replay. That they can do something heinous and get a "do-over." No. Life and our actions have consequences. There's no instant replay.
13. No jargon. Explain things clearly. Be kind to your readers even when you're challenging them. Or as Eric Arthur Blair wrote:14. Laugh. And be funny. Especially when it's inappropriate. That's usually when laughter is needed most. The world would be more tolerable if we didn't take ourselves so seriously all the time.