Monday, January 4th, 2010
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Alex Balk's New Year's Resolution

Me, this yearI was walking over to The Awl offices this morning and I passed by a dad and his little boy who were walking in the opposite direction. The boy, who couldn't have been more than four or five, was jumping up and down and yelling, "School day! School day!"

My first thought was, "Oh, you poor thing. That'll change." My second, almost simultaneous thought, was, "Jesus Christ, you cynical sonofabitch, give it a rest. When's the last time you were that excited about anything? When's the last time any of your joys were so uncomplicated, so direct, so purely expressed?"

I am not a big believer in New Year's Resolutions or the like. I think that after a certain point you are pretty much locked into who you are, and any attempt at self improvement is both misguided and dangerously self-indulgent. But you know what? I'm going to try to make 2010 the year where I'm a lot more like that little boy than not. I mean, sure, we all know that life is really a tireless slog to the tomb where the very brief pleasures we take upon the way are illusory moments of bliss meant to blind us to the meaningless struggle of existence, but even with all that, I'm going to try to pretend otherwise. Because who knows, maybe once or twice it'll actually work. Anyway, Happy New Etc. It's gotta be better than the last one, right?

35 Comments / Post A Comment

And a Happy New Etc. to you too!

Call me a foolish optimist, but I believe that this coming etc. may just be the best one ever.

kneetoe (#1,881)

Nice post. You're off to a bad start. Happy New Year.

I believe in constant self-improvement. Relentless Forward Progress as we say down at the plant. But New Year's Resolutions? Those are for tramps and dogs. Are you one of those? And optimism? Optimism is for people who are wrong but want to forget it. Are you one of those?

My Resolution is to watch Season Five of the Wire before I lose contact with my DVR. That is resolving you can believe in, pooch.

Rod T (#33)

Stop meta-enabling that child.

dado (#102)

Maybe he was saying "snow day".

I hope this means you will be writing about puppies and bunnies a lot this year. And more bears.

LondonLee (#922)

I don't want to say I'm quitting but I haven't had a cigarette for a week.

Skittle, anyone?

kneetoe (#1,881)

That's misguided and dangerously self-indulgent (I refer, of course, to the eating of skittles). Good luck!

jetztinberlin (#392)

I was redonculously happy that your first post of the year started with the words "I was walking…".

That said, completely concur.

Vulpes (#946)

The return of Balk Walks in New York and Learns A Valuable Life Lesson. You seriously should pitch that as a book.

Anyway, I say resolve to drink more bourbon (maybe you can break a record! Get the Guinness people on it!). It's a goal easily and pleasurably obtained, and will boost your confidence to take on greater challenges.

Exene (#2,244)

"I think that after a certain point you are pretty much locked into who you are, and any attempt at self improvement is both misguided and dangerously self-indulgent."

Early contender for most cynical sentence of the decade.

I am pretty sure Freudians agree with this concept. I think 35 is the drop dead date for any major changes in personality.

mathnet (#27)

You just gave me uncomplicated joy.

barnhouse (#1,326)

Well, I'll be.

Remember the night BEFORE school? Before 8th grade, even? I don't think I've the same unique levels of anxiety and exhilaration since (in that same way). Better to verge towards the latter, right?

mathnet (#27)

The night before the SECOND day back is when it sucked.

garge (#736)

I used to have major Sunday anxiety as a kid, pacing with dread in my bedroom. Related, the realization that who we are may be formed (and locked into?) when we are but children is both horrifying and relieving to me ..

I still get a vague, uneasy sense of dread at about 5pm on Sundays, even if I'm out with friends having a lovely time. I'm free of it only in the summer months.

Warped for life by primary school, but fortunately gin is such an effective antidote.

slinkimalinki (#182)

even the existence of sunday did it for me. saturday dawned in all its glory, and then…oh. sunday. my stomach used to knot in fear.

HiredGoons (#603)

At the very least you might get laid more? Maybe that should be your resolution, to get laid more.

jolie (#16)

I would have admired him a lot more if he'd just written: Alex Balk's New Year's Resolutions – Get More Blowjobs.

The image would still work!

That little boy will grow up and every time he sells a swaps contract to the govt. of Burkinafaso, he's going to jump up and down and yell "School day, school day!"

Maybe he was happy to get away from his family.

gregorg (#30)

After three utterly unproductive weeks cooped up that little monkey, I'm sure the dad was just as excited. But he kept it inside.

Alex Balk (#4)

Haha, no, actually, he was all, "I know, buddy, isn't it GREAT?"

Oh, my OVARIES!

Jane Donuts (#2,857)

If 2010 is not better than 2009, I'm in serious, serious trouble. That said, my main resolution for 2010 is to get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. That's reasonable, right?

hanna (#644)

This is a good idea, and a resolution similar to my own. But here's what's been nagging me: What happens to one's sense of humor when the joy muscle gets flexed regularly? Is there a funny that isn't black? If I try to start regularly consuming non-black funny, will it taste like aspartame?

katiebakes (#32)

It will taste like Shouts and Murmurs.

Bittersweet (#765)

Maybe it'll taste more like sugar, and you'll realize how much you'd gotten used to the weird taste of black funny.

["2010 - it's gotta be better than 2009!"]

theverbald (#1,748)

Dear Mr. Balk,

If indeed you are serious in your goal for this new year, may I suggest that you bookmark this video, and return to it each day you feel your enthusiasm waning.

Very Truly Yours

A hopefully soon to be lapsed cynic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kuj-PGC8rE

Granger Danger (#2,831)

.35

Granger Danger (#2,831)

Sigh, this was in response to Tulletilsynet. My stupid browser somehow posted it as a separate thread.

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