Saturday, January 03, 2009


Every new year I'm faced with a serious problem.

Well, maybe not a serious problem, but it's something that nags at me more than I'd like. And it's this: I totally obsess over writing the correct year whenever I fill out the date.

You know how you write a check sometime in January and accidentally put the previous year in the date field? Well, about 15 years ago I got the bright idea to try and be consciously aware of doing that whenever I write the date. It took about eight years before I managed to get through the entire year without ONCE filling in the wrong year.

Since then, I've had about four or five perfect years, including the last two. You can't possibly imagine the pressure I endure when December rolls around and I know I've only got one more month to make it through! There are times when I nearly wrote the wrong year because I was trying so hard NOT to write the wrong year!

The first time you try to do it, you might get through January before screwing up; unless of course you're one of those wackos who does everything right the first time, no matter what!

In that case, you can't possibly relate to this. No, I'm speaking to YOU, the one who has a bunch of canceled checks with the year scribbled out/clumsily erased/written over. YOU'RE the one who can identify with me, not that "Perfect Pete" over there!

After a few tries, you'll find you can get to March or April before messing up. You should be prepared to throw a mini-tantrum when that happens, because you'll be very upset with yourself. But be sure to resolve to try harder the following year, and you'll eventually be rewarded with success. Once you get close to New Year's Eve, you should set your checkbook aside and leave any bills unpaid until after the First. Because screwing it up in December is brutal, just brutal. Trust me.

Believe me, the first time you manage to do it, you'll feel like you accomplished something amazing. Something that means absolutely nothing beyond the satisfaction of personal accomplishment (unless your job is doing something like putting expiration dates on foods or medicines; then you'll probably enjoy it because you get to stay employed!) But personal satisfaction is often it's own reward.

I sometimes wonder if the Romans ever had that problem. Like, when they accidentally chiseled CCXIII rather than CCXIV into a tablet? I bet they were pissed when they did that, because you can't erase or backspace over chisel marks.

Anyway, that pretty much wraps it up. I hope you have a very Happy MMIX!

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