I celebrated the New Year by looking at my horoscope - Susan Miller advised me to figure out which bad habit was always cropping up to set me back. Peering into the lights of the Christmas tree (as much as one can peer into a strand of twelve budget lights on a misshapen pine branch), I thought for a while.
"Self-sabotage. That's my worst habit." I remembered all the incidents of self-inflicted ill-timing (Norwich stage dive anyone?), strings broken at key moments mid-show and me with no spare G or D. Relationships I knew were only going to lead straight to the sackcloth, or the therapist's couch, often embarked on just as I had a new record out. Split-second decisions made almost in defiance of good judgment and the resulting fallout that constitutes, if not the entire thing, then at least major portions of my adult life.
I blame a lot of it on being half-Irish. Who is more willfully negative and fatalistic than an Irishman or woman? Things are bound to mess up anyway, so having a hand in the disaster at least lends a sense of control.
But how to change something so ingrained, so much a part of my makeup? It would be like asking someone to have their dodgy eyes exchanged for a better pair. The new ones would help you see better, but all the adapting you'd learned, the odd perspective you'd grown up with and adjusted your behavior to, would have to go out the window. Leaving you more effective, possibly, but in a cold Children Of The Corn kind of way.
No, I decided that maybe the best course of action was to work with the bad habit. To embrace my contrariness. By cannily planning to do the opposite of what I should be doing, surely I might succeed about 50% of the time, due to ingrained bloody-mindedness and the law of averages?
So here are my new year's resolutions:
Drink more - one or two glasses of wine a night is not nearly enough. Why not aim for a whole bottle?
Why bother trying to maintain some kind of an artistic profile? Putting out records, busting my ass booking and playing shows, maintaining websites, trying to get promoters to put my name on the poster - why? Embrace obscurity. Demand to play in a darkened corner of the stage, wearing a hood, with my back to the audience. Become a "whatever happened to?", another Bobbie Gentry.
Accept that I may have already said everything I need to say. Exalt in the emptiness.
All my journals over the years sing the same sad refrain: "I need to make more money." "How can I make more money?" "There must be some way to make more money." Never seems to work. This year my goal is to earn less. Or nothing.
Stop worrying about getting in better shape. So what if my clothes no longer fit - that's what those big sweatpants they sell at the market in Chalus are for.
I have yet to begin investigating all the canned and frozen, heavily-processed food I see in the French supermarkets. Why fret about making balanced meals with fresh ingredients when there's a wealth of already-prepared exotic crap with high sugar and salt content to choose from?
Spend more time on the internet. There's probably a very good reason why I need to know what other movies the guy who plays Matthew McConaughey's buddy in "Failure To Launch" has been in. And while I'm checking that out, might as well take a look at Terry Bradshaw's bare ass scene from the same movie. Which reminds me, how have the Steelers done this year? Better check and see...
And on and on. By resolving to do worse, any promise I fail to keep will at very least keep me right back here at square one.