A few days ago, I woke up at a little after 3 a.m.
It was one of those middle of the night “wake ups” where your brain starts churning through random thoughts with the occasional worry thrown in to make things so jumbled and jittery that you just know you’re not ever going back to sleep.
And so, instead of watching the clock for hours, I got up, dressed quietly so as not to wake my wife, went downstairs, put the coffee on, got the paper, built a fire, took my ever growing number of now-required pills, and sat down to put together a column for New Year’s Day.
The television was on in the background — mostly to find out what kind of weather to expect that day. As it happened, there was also a little more information on the recent train derailment combined with talk about a chance of snow. On the national level, I gathered that the North Koreans hadn’t yet landed at Cape Flattery and that “our betters” on both sides of the aisle in D.C. still hadn’t figured a way to fool all of the people all of the time — though they seem to be diligently working toward that goal.
On that last, my political beliefs have finally come down to agreeing with whomever said “Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to just change the locks.”
Anyway, then being fully awake, I began thinking about resolutions I should be making for 2018 even though most of them would likely end up in the same dark closet that holds most of my past resolutions.
For one, I promised myself that I would only once mention the latest irritant that has me struggling to repress the urge to heave things at the television. This would be television news reporters who constantly use the term “impact” to describe any (and every) situation that might have deleterious consequences.
As an example, let’s say that a meteor “strikes” the earth. Such an event would produce “effects” (not “impacts”) that would “affect” (not “impact”) us all. To television news reporters everywhere: Please give the word “impact” a breather.
Back to resolutions.
This year, I will also try to talk less, listen more, and pay attention to what’s happening around me. This, because I’ve found that the more I watch, the more I listen, and the more I pay attention, the more I’m reassured that this country is still inhabited by generous, considerate, compassionate and thoughtful people.
I say this because — despite all of the negative news out there — I still see good things being done. Daily. Things that make us who we are as a people. A people who open doors for others. A people who pull over to help a stranded motorist. A people who donate blood regularly. A people who wave a car into line ahead of them. A people who have, keep and enjoy friends even if those friends hold opinions divergent from their own. A people who teach their kids in the best possible way — by example. A people who volunteer their time and contribute their money to charitable organizations.
I could go on, but I think you get the drift.
We all have enough on our plates — individually and as a nation. Endless scandals involving sex or finances. Politicians of both stripes who make you cringe. Family members and friends who are ill. Money that never seems to go far enough. Cars that are getting older. Homes that need repair. And worries that tend to wake us up at odd hours of the night.
What’s not needed is another voice adding to that list.
So, my main resolution is that I won’t be the one to do that — though minor rants (See: “impact,” above) may crop up here and there.
Rather, in 2018, what I’m going to try to do is point out that “it ain’t as bad as they’d have us believe” and that there’s more that unites rather than divides us as a people.
By the way. In the news stories regarding that train derailment, did you notice the reports describing how many people jumped in to help the injured — even before the first responders arrived? People who just got out of their cars and ran to see if there was any way they could help.
Reassuring, isn’t it? Kind of makes my point, too.
Have a happy and prosperous New Year!
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.