I’m not making one. I never do.
Back in December of 2005 or 2006, I don’t remember which, I decided to attend a local Toastmasters meeting. I thought it might be interesting, a chance to meet new people, I’m good at public speaking… I decided not to join the organization—there are very few groups to which I pay dues or give donations and one more just didn’t seem practical. Still, it gave me a good story to tell.
The people there were very open and friendly and let me sit through the meeting as an observer. Well, they would have let me be an observer if the MC for the evening hadn’t recognized me (thus, the reason why I think this happened back around when Beauty and the Geek had been on the air). Instead of knowing I was on TV, she thought I was a member of the group, so she called on me to give a quick speech.
I went up to the front of the room and there were maybe a dozen pairs of eyes looking back at me. They asked me a question and I had to give them an answer on the spot. Someone had a timer with lights on it: the speech was supposed to be between 1:00-1:30 long, so I think it was yellow for the first minute, we could stop when it turned green for thirty seconds, then absolutely had to stop if it turned red. (I don’t think anyone survived that long.) There was also someone with a pad of paper counting how many times you said “um”, “uh”, etc.
My question? “What is your new year’s resolution?”
There were a few highlights of my answer that lasted one minute, eight seconds. When I started talking, I started rolling up my sleeves at the same time. I reached a point when I needed a moment to think, so I very deliberately leaned toward the mistake counter and said “UM.” And finally, the answer itself was telling them that I don’t make new year’s resolutions.
Why not? I’m not entirely sure, but whatever the reason, I said that I usually fail to uphold my resolution, then I feel shame—I remember using that word specifically—and making resolutions isn’t supposed to make me feel bad about myself. I may make an effort to change something, but it’s never a resolution. I don’t want to be ashamed if I fall off the proverbial wagon.
I was one of four or five people who had to give a spontaneous presentation, then everyone voted on who gave the best speech. After the meeting, the MC apologized for calling on me since she thought I was a member, then added that I got a few votes from people. Sometimes I wonder if I would have earned more votes by leaving my sleeves alone while talking; most times, I don’t care that much.
Like I said, it’s a fun story to tell. And even though it’s probably taken you longer than one minute, eight seconds to read this blog entry, you should still have an idea of why I’m not making a new year’s resolution. Sure, I’ll try to eat better, get more exercise and what not, but as for some pledge to myself that I’d likely break within the first two weeks of January… better safe than shameful.
ADDENDUM: As it turns out, I wrote about this Toastmasters meeting and not making resolutions two years ago. Well, the story is just that good, dammit! And while I’m not making any promises, I’ll try not to repeat stuff like this in future blog entries. Even if they’re good stories, dammit!