Saralee Perel

Award-winning columnist, Saralee Perel, can be reached at 

Her novel, Raw Nerves, is now available as a paperback and an e-book on

New Year, New You, New Hogwash

Every New Year’s Day, as a community of humanity, we all wake up pondering the prior night’s resolutions. Then in a collective consciousness of togetherness, we utter these profound words: “Why the hell did I say that?”

Resolutions are a set-up for failure. If we haven’t followed through with something during the last 365 days, why should today be any different?

I say, “Ban the resolutions!” I’m not going to blame myself for falling short of them any more. I’m going to do the mature thing. Blame someone else.

“You’ll help me lose those last stubborn pounds, won’t you?” I said to my husband Bob.

“Happy New Year to you too, sweetheart,” he said, getting out of bed while I was looking at the lumpy chunk under my waist commonly known as a stomach.

I continued, “From now on, every time I reach for the butter I want you to say, ‘You shouldn’t have that. You know you’re a little heavy.’ Then I’ll turn to you and say, ‘Thank you, honey. You’re so good to me.’ It’ll work out just fine, don’t you think?”

He laughed so loud the dog and I jumped. “Here’s what will happen,” he said. “You’ll reach for the tub of butter. I’ll try to stop you. You’ll put your hand around the back of my neck and mash my face into the tub.”

“Please help me,” I said. “Have you seen this thing?” I held up the sheet and pointed to the mound.

“If I agree your stomach’s big,” he said, “you’ll go ballistic.”

“I won’t. I promise. We’re best pals!”

He looked at my ode to Mount Vesuvius and said, “Well, you could take a couple inches off that thing.”

“Oh yeah? Maybe I’ll find something you could lose a couple inches from.”

“That’s it,” he said, walking away. “I’ve made a resolution myself.”

“What is it?”

“I’m not going to be the fall guy for your weight problems, the way I am for every single problem you complain about. This is your issue. Not mine.”

So, I realized I had to take charge of my quest. After all, it was the only fair thing to do.

“I’m not eating any more carbohydrates,” I vowed loud enough for Bob to hear. “That means you can’t have pizza. And say good-bye to bread. It’s evil. The FDA’s taking it off the market you know.”

“Bread isn’t the problem,” he said, wiping our counters with the super absorbent dishtowels I got him for Christmas.

“Oh no? So, tell me. Since you obviously know more than all the weight loss experts. Why can’t I lose weight?”

“Because you eat too much.” 

“Hah! You are so out of the loop. It’s bread. The staff of death.”

“And another resolution,” he said, “is that I’m no longer agreeing to be the patsy for all your articles. We went to four parties last month. And everybody patted my shoulder and said, ‘So you’re Bob. What a good sport.’”

“Everyone loves you. People fawn over you. Nobody even said, ‘Hi Saralee’. They said, ‘Where’s Bob?’ If I stop writing about you, all of America will protest.”

And so, we’ve scrapped the resolutions. I can write about Bob. And bread is back on the menu. But he did add one thing.

“Well, you could make me out to be a little less peculiar,” he said.

“That’s one resolution you can count on me keeping,” I vowed.

And he gave me a hug, put on his lace-trimmed gingham apron and tenderly took this morning’s quiche out of the oven.

And so, New Year’s Eve and Dorothy’s ruby slippers have something in common. They only have potency because of our will to make things work. As the good witch said, “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.” Our resolutions don’t depend on a particular day. We’ve been wearing those ruby slippers all year long.

Happy New Year.