Do not become excited, these are not government resolutions. It is that time of year, amid Christmastide, when many determine that they have not served themselves well in 2013. Perhaps it is time to feign purpose and motivation that they will be a better model of themselves than in the past. The mariner, it goes without saying, was as fine a model of himself as he will ever be in 2013. At a certain age, older folks get a pass on resolutions.

In lieu of trying to make himself finer than he can be, the mariner looked about to see what resolutions others should make – if not to be finer, at least to be prepared.

Government is easy. Just say “government.” We’ll all understand. The Country is closer to revolution than resolution. The mariner supposes we should make a resolution to stand our ground not against people wearing hoodies or walking in public places but against further damage by compromised and incompetent Federal, State and Local governments.

The other day, a friend of the mariner resolved to assist the South in seceding a second time. Several years ago, another friend said the US would be better off if the northern boundary of the western United States (49th parallel) just continued straight on to the Atlantic Ocean, implying that such a solution would lop off most of New England. As accepting as he always is, the mariner agreed it would be a good move – not only would the US not lose any territory, it would gain a great chunk of Canada including the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and half of Newfoundland. The mariner received little gratitude for helping. Another friend actually sent emails to all her Federal, State and Local representatives asking them to pass one-term limits for all elected officials.

How does one construct a resolution for government? Probing rational solutions requires walking through a dark wood as frightening as any horror film. Every kind of lurking and vicious creature lies in wait for one who dares tread this mindless darkness of elected creatures and citizen creatures. Some, like lobbyist creatures, are more like the Sirens of Greek mythology who lured sailors to their death on the rocky shore. In Government Land, however, one dies of depression and hopelessness.

The mariner’s recommended resolution: Have your passport ready and your duffel packed. The ship sails any day for better ports.

One is not supposed to talk about politics so we’ll talk about religion. One just as easily could say “religion.” We’ll all understand. There’s little difference. The dark wood is replaced by a wood invisible in dense fog. Some nasty creatures lie in wait – especially those that also lie in wait in the dark wood of politics.

It is more difficult to suggest a resolution about religion. Politics has boundaries similar to a twenty-ton boulder coming down the mountainside to visit you. For many, perhaps the boulder already has arrived. Either way, one can see the shape of the boulder. Religion, on the other hand, is like being lost in an endless swamp in Louisiana. There are so many circular paths that one will never leave the swamp.

Over the centuries, the integration of the Old and New Testament into one Bible at Nicaea has caused the most confusion. The Jews have a special place for the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – the Pentateuch). The mariner doesn’t intend to be too skeptical but he suspects that’s as far as most Jewish children are taught in religion class – at least that’s the case with Christian children who are taught the Jewish Pentateuch in religion class (on Sundays). Except for the Christmas and Easter stories, the New Testament is unknown to Christian children until they are forced to take a world religions class in college.

Meanwhile, debates about the origin of our species have raged endlessly for more than 150 years. The Christian part, the New Testament, never mentions the issue. Adult Christians should read all of the Pentateuch, which promotes a few severe practices reminiscent of other Middle East religions. One is to stone rebellious children to death but I will not say more in fear of giving away the plot. It is widely known that one cannot eat pig, but gecko? That’s going too far.

Perhaps the resolution for Christians is to start reading the Bible at Luke or Matthew instead of starting at Genesis. There is some important stuff in the New Testament that has nothing to do with creation or stoning children or not eating geckos.

If one cannot talk about politics or religion, then one might try talking about sexual practices or, if the reader is a US citizen, talk about one’s annual income or net worth. The mariner doubts any of these conversations will last long enough to formulate a resolution.

What’s left is gossip. The reader can always resolve to gossip better than in 2013.

Ancient Mariner


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