A short list of hopes

I’m not big on resolutions. Actually, I’m not big on keeping resolutions, but I do think of January as a chance to start fresh. Whether it’s losing weight, trying to lose some weight, or thinking about trying to lose some weight, the New Year is always a good time to get moving in a new direction.

So I’ve compiled a short list of my hopes for 2012. Some are heartfelt; some are personal. Some are little more than silly. But each is offered in the spirit of renewal that the New Year represents.

To begin with, I hope this wretched economy improves. A lot of people have been out of work for a long time, and there’s been precious little in the way of good news. Folks that do have jobs are working harder and longer for what seems like little or less. I hope that this is the year things start to turn around.

I hope we don’t get too carried away with presidential politics in 2012. We should take November’s election seriously, but not too seriously. Unless you’re paid to do it, nothing good ever comes from arguing over politics.

I hope that the Church continues its healing and recovery this year. A great many people took delight in our troubles and used them as an excuse to try to minimize the Church’s voice in the public square. We must not let that happen. The world needs the Catholic Church to be a consistent witness for life and human dignity.

I hope that whatever it is they’ve done to car headlights can be undone this year. I can’t see any more while driving at night. Have the car companies fallen in with the same do-gooders that forced the compact fluorescent corkscrew bulb into my reading lamp at home? I don’t like it one bit.

(Before moving on, let me say that my own car has these headlights. Oncoming drivers are constantly flickering at me. “Hey turkey, your high beams are on!” They do this even when my high beams aren’t on. These infernal diodes are driving me crazy.)

Is there any good reason to check your cell phone while you drive? I see people doing it all the time, even with kids in the car. I hope you don’t do it. If you do, I hope this is the year you realize that the world isn’t going to end if you don’t text back right away.

I hope the post office survives 2012. I say this not because I like the postal service so much, or because I think it’s so charmingly run, but because I like getting Christmas cards. For the same reason, I hope that none of my favorite newspapers or magazines go away this year. I hate spending money on wrapping paper.

I’d love it if my daughter’s new goldfish, Rainbow, lived for more than just a few weeks. Rainbow is actually a Betta, which is a heartier breed than the common goldfish. I was surprised to learn from the fellow at the fish store that Bettas thrive in the rain puddles and rice paddies of Vietnam. I hope our fancy New Canaan water doesn’t turn Rainbow into a prima donna. We don’t need any drama in our house this year.

Is there any chance they can start putting conditioner into a bottle that looks noticeably different from the one that the shampoo comes in? If I had a nickel for every time I mistakenly lathered up with my wife’s conditioner, I’d pay to have the barber wash my hair.

I’d prefer it if Microsoft didn’t come out with any new versions of Word or Excel in the next year. I’ve only just mastered the last version, which came out in 2010. I also hope that nothing breaks in our house. I can’t fix iPods, e-readers, printers, or plasma TVs, and I can’t afford to have them patched up by professionals either.  Is it too much to ask to get through one whole year with all our electronic devices intact?

Finally, I’d like to stay healthy this year. No coughs, no colds, no bad Indian food. That goes double for my family. It goes triple for yours. With any luck, we’ll all be spared illness and suffering this year.

I know it’s a long shot, but what good is a wish list without a few long shots? Happy New Year

From the January 2012 issue of Fairfield County Catholic, the monthly newspaper of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

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