Coastal Commuter

A little resolve

I’ve always been amused by the concept of New Year’s resolutions. That whole charade where people use the turn of the calendar as an excuse or a line in the metaphorical sand to really, finally, for sure, no doubt, make a change in their lives. No more cigarettes! No more fatty foods! No more reckless one-night stands! And they generally fail in their efforts.

Then I thought, “What the hell! I can be a better person. Maybe this resolution thing isn’t such a bad or ridiculous idea.” So that’s a hearty, hopeful “yes” to the idea of New Year’s goals, vows, and self-aggrandizing decrees. The Coastal Commuter has been reflecting on his foibles, regardless of what city he’s calling home this week, and he’s cobbled together a dozen random resolutions that should improve his quality of life.

Resolution #1: Stop referring to yourself in the third person, the title of your column notwithstanding.

Resolution #2: Cut back on the endless bragging about how San Francisco is more beautiful than (fill in the blank with any random city name).

Resolution #3: Avoid telling people that you live part-time in the Entertainment Capital of the World, and quit answering your phone “Hooray for Hollywood” when you’re in L.A. It comes off a little arrogant.

Resolution #4: Don’t try to rationalize or figure out why the mole sauce at Puerto Allegre and the grilled chicken burritos at Pancho Villa in San Francisco’s Mission district taste better than the mole sauce at Loteria in the Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles and virtually any burrito in the L.A. area, even though L.A. is considerably closer to Mexico than the Bay Area. It just must be one of those geophysical mysteries of nature.

Resolution #5: Speaking of tasty, addictive food, give up the onion rings unless the beer used in the batter is artisan or craft-brewed. You may be clogging your arteries, but you still have to maintain some standards.

Resolution #6: Be a little more understanding if people refuse to answer their phones when you call or fail to respond to e-mails you send, and only return your text messages. On one hand, they may be deaf and/or dumb; on the other, they may be rude and/or postliterate. On a third hand, isn’t this conversation-snuffing digital shorthand getting a little out of hand?

Resolution #7: Don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about loving Taylor Swift’s infectious, downright rollicking “Shake It Off,” despite hearing it what seems like billions and billions of times (especially since it ear-wormed into your head and won’t leave).

Resolution #8: Simply accept the fact than hipsters — rich or poor, male or female, young, middle-aged, or old — are going to be smug a-holes, and revel in your feelings of superiority when they act particularly douche-like.

Resolution #9: Refrain from taunting your L.A. sports-fan friends about the current World Champion San Francisco Giants having won three World Series titles in five seasons, while the hated Dodger dogs have won … none since 1988 — which was the last time they were even in the finals.

Resolution #10: Find a new behind-the-wheel mantra to achieve calm when confronted by incompetent drivers. “Move the #&@% out of the way, you #&@%+*$! isn’t helping much.

Resolution #11: Show a tad more decorum while at your favorite watering holes in Los Angeles when a beautiful, famous actress enters and lights up the room. The older you get, the more your neck makes a squeaking sound when you rapidly swivel it around. Then, there’s that loud boing that happens as your eyes pop out of your head like a wolf in a Tex Avery cartoon. Very unbecoming.

Resolution #12: Finally, try harder to make sure that each column on this page deals with substantive issues that are relevant to all Californians, specifically citizens of those two great cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles — instead of cranking out some trivial list in a fruitless attempt at humor.

No one said that any of above would be easy to achieve, and I assume I will have already given up on most of these objectives by the time you read this. Still, I plan to continue adhering to my primary edict — one that I have no need to declare on an annual basis, nor consciously think about: Live life to the fullest! That’s a resolution I can get behind, and you’re welcome to join me.

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Michael Snyder is a print and broadcast journalist who covers pop culture on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's "David Feldman Show" and "Thom Hartmann Show" and on "Michael Snyder's Culture Blast," available online at and YouTube. You can follow Michael on Twitter: @cultureblaster