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Resolutions: folders, wisdom and Tabasco

This article appears in the issue February 2009 [Volume 18, Issue 2]


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Ah, ’tis the season to lie to yourself, and, if standing under mistletoe, to others. (Am I getting those traditions right?) Yes, it’s time to resolve to be a better person, to do things right, and to not learn from one’s experience that New Year’s resolutions are nothing but a way to start off fresh with a big pile of bad faith promises on one’s shoulders. So, here goes.

I’m going to come up with a rational scheme for organizing my folders. Except that doesn’t work. I have lots of rational schemes, but organizing by date doesn’t help if you want to search by keyword, and organizing by keyword doesn’t help if you want to search by recipient. Since I can’t anticipate all the ways I’ll want to search, my resolution is to write out a list of all the different searches I’ll make this year, and organize my files along those lines. Then I’ll confine myself to those searches. Sure, that’s pretty restrictive, but it’s the only way I can be sure that my organizational system is optimized.

I am going to exercise every day. No matter what. But first I’m going to set up a committee to come up with a working definition of "exercise," and then specify best practices. Finally, I’ll submit the document to an industry standards body and wait for it to be adopted. That should keep me off the ol’ treadmill until late September.

I am going to try to stop shuddering visibly every time I hear a businessperson talk about moving from knowledge to wisdom. How many genuinely wise people have you met in your life? How many of them had "vice president" or higher on their business cards? We should not ramp up our expectations all the way to wisdom. But, that’s exactly what I’m going to not reflexively say each time I hear the word.

I’m going to stop being a language snob. In particular, I’m going to stop using "between" and "among" correctly—it’s between two people and among three or more—because nobody appreciates my correctness. In fact, no one even notices. So, screw it. Between you, me and the lamppost, I give up.

I am going to give Windows one more chance. I switched to a Mac a couple of years ago after a lifetime of servicing my family’s various Windows machines. And while I am no fan of Vista, I have the audacity to hope that Windows 7—doesn’t it seem like they really should be at a higher number by now?—is going to be just freaking fantastic. Really.

I pledge to continue sharing files in open standards, especially when I know that my recipient doesn’t have the software needed to open them. And when you complain that you can’t read the attachment, I’m going to send you some snippy comment about how your insistence on using proprietary software is cutting you off from the Commons. I may even refer to you as "dude," especially if you’re a woman, just because I know it will annoy you. Oh wait, that was on my list of things not to do. Sorry.

I have other resolutions as well. For example, I am going to stop worrying about time travel. If it were possible, don’t you think things would be better by now? Besides, how many Keanu Reeves do you think one universe could possibly hold without imploding?

And I’m going to stop dressing as if I’m at summer camp, in a colorful t-shirt and sneakers. Also, no more thinking that adding more Tabasco than I want makes me seem more manly, no more RSS feeds for all things Lohan, and no more secret trips for the CIA.

Also, I may try to keep secrets better.

Happy New Year to us all!


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