Dec 26, 2012


     The New Year's Resolution. Why?
     Don't let the confetti distract you. It's a subversive plot.
     Oh yes, yes it is. Have a seat.

     Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there were two agents of Misery. Stress and Strife were their names, and they were very good at their jobs. Times were simpler. They broke the flint knives of hunters/gatherers, back-drafted hearth fires filling caves with smoke, and propagated mildew on food stores, but it was a simpler time and they were not overworked. They enjoyed a comfortable run for a long time.
     Our world grew and evolved though, and Stress and Strife had to organize and recruit assistance or give up earned vacation time. They formed a networking effort of global proportions and employed covert agents everywhere. The agents headed their own departments and were charged with specific tasks. One agent, for example, oversaw havoc in the medical field. This encompassed everything from lowering the accepted age of colonoscopies to flossing to HDL/LDL imbalance. Another was charged with retailing, and instructed underlings to periodically and without warning alter measurements of clothing industry size standards. Yet another was responsible for the financial world and their subordinates hid fees and bounced checks.
     The departments worked like a well-oiled machine to year-end culmination of widespread unhappiness, hypertension, and insomnia. December. The most glorious time of the year for Stress and Strife.
     Except ... it all ended every year at midnight on Christmas Day. Christmas night demarcates the DMZ (de-miseried zone), and Stress and Strife's archenemies, Peace and Relaxation, take over. The entire week between Christmas and New Year's Eve belongs to them, and Stress and Strife must watch from the sidelines. Joy, Mirth, and Unflappable assist Peace and Relaxation to hold the enemy at bay. All week, year after year, decade after decade.

     This week had long been a thorn in Stress and Strife's side. They sought to reclaim this lost territory and the subject came up often. Emergency meetings were frequently called with only the one item on the agenda (which was good, because Robert hated Stress and Strife and forbade them to use his rules).
     At one such meeting the department heads mulled the same old ideas. The December 26th sales never managed to pack the wallop as Black Friday. Impatient suggested having the stores open at midnight, but that tactic was back-firing on Thanksgiving, and Hesitation was reluctant to go there.
     They puzzled and discussed but a solution continued to elude them. Just as the consensus was reached again they'd have to accept defeat this one week a year, Anxiety had a brilliant idea.
     "What if," she proposed, thinking aloud, "what if, somehow, we got people worrying about things that hadn't even gone wrong yet?"
     "What do you mean?" asked Suspicion and Skepticism simultaneously.
     "Well .. we can't make them participate in the misery of life this week, but maybe we can get them worrying about next week. .. make people think about it, and by just thinking about it, in fact, screw up their week .....yes! Yes! With the right marketing we can even get them to look forward to it! Plan to participate in said misery!" Anxiety was so excited she could hardly get the idea out.
     Well, everyone around the table was speechless (in fact, Rumor has it Anxiety got a big promotion that day).
     Obsessed was quick to see where Anxiety was headed and began making lists.
     Fret had logistical concerns. A lot.
     Clutter saw the marketing opportunities; noisemakers, champagne, dumb hats. Balls, pennies, and shoes dropping all at the same time.
     Resolve jumped in and asked, "Yeah, but how do we get them to do it?"
     "That's your department," Lazy said.
     And the New Year's Resolution was born.

original post 12-31-2010