‘Up the Resolution’

I learned I won’t make any New Year’s resolutions. It wouldn’t do any good anyway. I’m just not that resolute. Fact is, I don’t need to make any resolutions. Not because I’m already perfect … but because Her Royal Highness Princess Wife is … she makes all my resolutions for me. She has a list.

At the top of her list for 2018 are my fingernails. To her, trimmed fingernails are more than an aesthetic. She sees long nails as a brutish, primitive and unsophisticated sort of thing. And for one to chew on a fingernail … to have enough fingernail to chew on … why that’s just barbaric.

Now, one may think, if trimming my fingernails makes Her Royal Highness Princess Wife happy … just trim the darn fingernails. But such an act has far reaching ramifications. It is a matter of liberty and power. If I trim my nails, playing poker will become difficult because without a thumbnail I won’t be able to slyly lift the corners of my hole cards from the felt and peak at them. Vast territories inside my nose and bellybutton will go unexplored, the pop-tops of beer cans will go un-popped and I will need to buy a screwdriver, which is nothing more than a prosthetic fingernail, to change the battery in my clock. None of these things matter. The resolution has been made.

Her Royal Highness Princess Wife has declared that in 2018 I will be a completely frugal person. Now, on the surface, this sounds fine. But it is subterfuge. She began covertly working toward this end some time ago. Her plan was and remains that I make zero purchases … none … zilch … her warped version of what it means for me to be frugal.

It began with cotton swabs. So there I was, two years ago, in the cotton swab aisle of the Walmart. There is a box of 1,000 swabs selling for around $3. But for $1 more, I can get 50 swabs that come in this neat little plastic dispenser. It was when I chose the 50 swabs in the neat little plastic dispenser over the 1,000 swabs in a box she decided I shouldn’t be allowed to shop … ever. Now, to her, me being frugal doesn’t mean I can’t go shopping. I can … when accompanied by an adult … namely her. I am allowed to push the cart. But to even think about putting anything in the cart, why, that would just be silly.

Her Royal Highness Princess Wife has resolved that in 2018 I become a “prepper.” Not the kind of prepper who stockpiles food and ammunition in preparation to rise above the hungry hoards at the onset of the apocalypse, but the sort of prepper who is ready for that dreaded day when we would run out of toilet paper. You see, up until two months ago, Her Royal Highness Princess Wife had no idea what Costco or Sam’s Club was. And we were happy. Now that she has discovered Costco and Sam’s Club, I know that from 2018 on to eternity … I will be a prepper.

She, being the sly little thing she is, began prepping me to be a prepper about a year ago. My first lesson was in curry … the spice … curry. The little jars or packages of curry just weren’t practical, just weren’t frugal. She felt we should be buying it by the kilo. I didn’t understand.

“Habebe!” I say. “A kilo is 2.2 pounds. Isn’t that like a lifetime worth of curry?”

She scoffs. “No Habebe! We need two kilos for one year … and about one kilo of cumin and a kilo of tumeric, a half kilo of anise and about as much cardamom, cloves, etc.”

And I wondered … “What hath God wrought?”

She found a place online where she could buy curry by the kilo. I stood my ground and put my foot down at two kilos. I had to rearrange a cabinet to hold her spices.

Since then, she began buying Basmati rice by the 50 pound bag, brown rice and black rice by the 25 pound bag. Then she discovered Costco and I have discovered I will pass the days of 2018 making room in the pantry and closets, removing the stuff that can be stored out in the shed, meaning my stuff, to make room for two years of toilet paper, two years of paper towels, a pallet of Irish Spring, enough coffee filters to last a lifetime, almonds, peanuts and walnuts up the ying-yang, enough canned vegetables to feed the hungry hoards a full year into the apocalypse … even though I have never known her to use canned vegetables … ever!

If the apocalypse should begin tomorrow, come to my house. You will find a truly prepared prepper because Her Royal Highness Princess Wife has resolved as much for me.

Resolutions smesolutions! I make no resolutions for 2018. Such things have been made for me. Come this time tomorrow I will be a spend-thrift who doesn’t play poker or explore bellybuttons or pop tops, has neat fingernails and enough food and toilet paper stored up for several years. Damn you, 2018! This is all I have learned today.


James Wares lives in Marshalltown and can be reached at whatjimhaslearnedtoday@yahoo.com