Thursday, January 12, 2012

Column: You call that an excuse?

Research shows that 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are broken by Valentine’s Day, possibly more if one of your resolutions was not to forget Valentine’s Day. And when we break them, we invariably fall back on the same tired, old excuses as to why we couldn’t follow through. Which can only mean one thing: We as a society need to buckle down and, working together, come up with better excuses.

With that in mind, I’ve taken 10 of the most popular resolutions and formulated new, improved justifications to use with our friends and neighbors after we inevitably fail miserably sometime between now and Feb. 14, if not sooner. Use these and you may not become thinner, healthier and wealthier, but you also might not feel quite as bad about it.

1) Lose weight. Previous excuse: My schedule just didn’t allow for healthy food choices. What previous excuse meant: I was hungry. New, improved excuse: With people starving in Africa, who am I to stop eating Ring Dings?

2) Quit smoking.Previous excuse: I wanted to, but I’m addicted and I can’t help myself. What previous excuse meant: Without cigarettes how am I supposed to get through my days surrounded by all these morons? New, improved excuse: They discovered nicotine is good for you — seriously, I’ll send you the link.

3) Learn something new. Previous excuse: I just didn’t have the time or money to take classes. What previous excuse meant: “Dancing With The Stars” was on. New, improved excuse: It turns out I already know everything.

4) Get out of debt. Previous excuse: I tried, but everything’s so expensive it’s impossible to keep up in this economy. What previous excuse meant: I needed a TV that would take up an entire wall. New, improved excuse: It’s the 1 percent’s fault!

5) Spend more time with family. Previous excuse: It’s impossible to have much family time when work places such demands on me. What previous excuse meant: Leave me alone, I’m watching the giant TV I charged at Best Buy last week. New, improved excuse: My family is dead to me! It’s a long story.

6) Travel to new places. Previous excuse: I had too many obligations at home. What previous excuse meant: Who needs travel when you’ve got a giant TV? New, improved excuse: Taking off my shoes at the airport means letting the terrorists win.

7) Be less stressed. Previous excuse: I’m a very important person with a lot of demands on me, so it’s tough to de-stress. What previous excuse meant: I’m not actually that stressed, I’m just pretending to be so everyone will think I’m important. New, improved excuse: You’d be stressed too if you knew what I knew about the gaps in our national security. But I’ve already said too much.

8) Volunteer. Previous excuse: I can’t seem to find the right volunteer opportunity to fit my background and schedule. What previous excuse meant: Poor people make me uncomfortable. New, improved excuse: I couldn’t pass the background check. It’s a long story.

9) Get a better job. Previous excuse: There are just no good jobs out there in this economy. What previous excuse meant: If I had to ask any of my previous supervisors for a recommendation they would just laugh until tears poured down their cheeks. New, improved excuse: It’s the 1 percent’s fault!

10) Drink less. Previous excuse: I’m a very important person with a lot of demands on me, so I need a drink now and again to unwind. What previous excuse meant: “I love you, man!! BLEAGHGHGHGH!” New, improved excuse: They discovered alcohol is good for you — seriously, I’ll send you the BLEAGHGHGHGH!

Peter Chianca is editor in chief for GateHouse Media New England’s north-of-Boston newspapers and websites. Follow him on Twitter at

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