Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Before Gulliver, there were New Year's Resolutions

Looks like it’s time for “New Year’s Resolutions.”  But we’re not the first.  Before he wrote Gulliver’s Travels, a 32-year-old Jonathan Swift wrote some resolutions that he titled, “When I come to be old.”

Here are some selections from his 1699 list, [[refreshed for 2014]]:

Not to marry a young Woman.
     [[A “trophy wife” might seem like a good 
        idea.  But, no.]]

Not to keep young Company unless they reely desire it.
     [[Refrain from saying “totes,” “cray-cray,” or asking for “the deets."]]

Not to scorn present Ways, or Wits, or Fashions, or Men, or War, &c.
     [[Your grandparents were scandalized by Elvis, your parents banned you from The Sex Pistols, and you have to deal with Miley Cyrus.  You can unpucker.]]

Not to tell the same story over and over to the same People.
     [[If you write it and put it out there, you’ll never have to repeat yourself.]]

Not to neglect decency, or cleenlyness, for fear of falling into Nastyness.
     [[Turning your underwear inside out to stretch to a second day is not a good

Not to be over severe with young People, but give Allowances for their youthfull follyes and weaknesses.
     [[We were all 18 once and had it all figured out.]]

Not to be influenced by, or give ear to knavish tatling servants, or others.
     [[Limit your time on Facebook and Twitter.]]

Not to be too free of advise, nor trouble any but those that desire it.

To desire some good Friends to inform me wch of these Resolutions I break, or neglect, and wherein; and reform accordingly.
     [[Have buddies who’ll call you on your shit.]]

Not to talk much, nor of my self.
     [[It’s not all about you, Hasselhoff.]]

Not to boast of my former beauty, or strength, or favor with Ladyes, &c.
     [[Nobody cares what you weighed in high school.]]

Not to hearken to Flatteryes, nor conceive I can be beloved by a young woman, et eos qui hereditatem captant, odisse ac vitare.
     [[Hugh Hefner is surrounded by Barbis and Bambis and twins named Mandy and Sandy. Why? If you're an old man with a pile of cheddar, watch out for hungry mice.]]

Not to sett up for observing all these Rules; for fear I should observe none.
      [[New Year’s Resolutions?  Really?  C’mon, dude....]]

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