Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

January 2003

New Year's Resolutions

It's good to have goals, don't you think?

Each New Year begs resolutions, fresh starts, new beginnings and all that each either implying or stating a goal. Some people set their sights high, as in "Whup Saddam Hussein," while others have more modest goals dealing with weight (reduce it); debt (reduce it); golf handicap (rather than reduce it, play to it.)

Here are a few goals I'm aiming at.

First, I'd like to solve a problem. Not the kind of problem recently posed on Car Talk having to do with why someone making a round-trip of 120 miles each way averaging 40 mph out and 60 mph back didn't average 50 mph for the entire 240-mile trip. (The trip took five hours, but if you drove for five hours at 50 mph you would have gone 250 miles, not 240, which means the average speed was less than 50, or 48 mph to be precise. It takes three hours to go 120 miles at 40 mph and two hours to go 120 miles at 60 mph. Three hours plus two hours equals five hours, and 240 miles divided by five hours equals 48 mph. I'm right, of course, but so were thousands of other people, so someone else got a Car Talk T-shirt.)

I'm searching for a non-algebraic problem to solve, but nothing as important as a Mideast solution although I hope that goal is on a lot of lists nor any other really important and difficult problem (world hunger, health care costs, sustainable economies or turning around my investment portfolio performance.)

For instance, I would like to know how to dispose of a worn-out recycle box.

Second, I'd like to feel better once I reached a goal. Take something simple like a New York Times crossword puzzle, a progressively more difficult and challenging task as the week goes along. Monday's are a snap but by Thursday I can't get finished. Sunday, well, I can't even start. If I were ever able to actually do a week's worth, I'm afraid I would feel less energized than I do now when I finally crap out on Thursday's. Therefore, my second goal is to learn to value results over process (although now that I have stated the goal, I feel less fulfilled than when I was searching for a way to articulate it ... oh, well.)

Third, I want more T-shirts tie-dyed, logoed, witty bumper–stickism ones, white, red, green, blue, puce, whatever.

Of course, my goal is to go from XXL to XL.

And I'd like to learn to hit a lob wedge. And I'd like my property taxes, prescription drug prices and fuel prices to go down. And I'd like my bank accounts, IRAs and stock portfolio to go up.

It's good when your New Year's resolutions evolve into next year's Christmas list. So there.