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GUEST COLUMN: Here comes 2018, ready or not

Mike Ragland -Cotton in my Blood

Mike Ragland, Guest Columnist

As 2018 draws nigh it’s time for resolutions. So what is a resolution you ask? The dictionary (remember them?) tells us it’s a firm decision to do or not do something, or the action of solving a problem, dispute or contentious matter. You know, like Congress does.

Actually we find that 90 percent of all our resolutions don’t last long. But maybe the 10 percent that do are worth the effort to keep trying. The most common are to lose weight, and regulate our finances. That makes sense, because since Thanksgiving we’ve over indulged, over eaten, and maxed out several credit cards. Now it’s time to hit the gym and be frugal.

Not going to happen. We’re wired for short haul. We’re not going to stick to something that doesn’t bring us pleasure. For most of human history, survival has been a day to day affair. We wake up, find food, avoid predators and secure shelter. We’re looking for the short time pleasure, not the long time harm. That’s why sweet potato pie will win out over a three mile jog 90 percent of the time.

It’s hard to convince ourselves that we’re going to do something we’ve already failed to do 15 years in a row. So, what we have to do is fool our brain. Ask yourself, do I want to work out to look good, or live longer? See, that wasn’t too hard. Now you got to motivate yourself to accomplish your decision.

I have found out after years of study that the fairer sex of our race gets a lot of intrinsic pleasure in going to Florida, baking in the sun, sitting in sand, and staring at water. They will erect a small tent after the first day, or put up an umbrella. Then they revert to the hypnotic trance of sitting back in the sand and staring at the water.

I know they do this, although I don’t know why. And to the enjoyment of the men folks they drag along, the younger the women the smaller the bikini.

Ladies, since going to the beach is a goal, tape a picture of the water you stare at when there to your favorite piece of gym torture equipment. See, it motivates and gives you a positive reason to hit the gym regularly. Wouldn’t you like to lose a few pounds, and fit in a smaller size swim suit?

Now let’s address the guys. She’s going to drag you with her as much as she can, you know that. There are certain things you need to remember. Lewis Grizzard said you could always tell the New England Yankee’s by the way they dress. They wear a lot of Bermuda shorts with palm trees on them, along with sandals and black socks.

Don’t wear Bermuda shorts with palm trees on them, or black socks. Folks will think you’re a New England Yankee. Sandals are fine. But go to Goodwill and find some that are worn out. Don’t go strutting down the beach to get under the little lady’s umbrella with brand new sandals. And get swim trunks if over age 40, Speedo’s and beer bellies don’t go together.

While the women folk stare at the water, there is a lot of other pretty good attractions on the beach to see. You need to stop at one of the many sunglass shops and buy you a pair of those with mirrors for lenses. Then no one can tell where your eyes are focused. Now you can judge bikini’s, or look for sharks.

However, if wife or girlfriend also is wearing them, be assured she ain’t looking at the water like she’s supposed to be.

Preparing to do things you look forward to is a sure fired way to keep your resolutions. The beach trip may help you get in shape, but probably won’t do much for your finances.

On a quick look back, I had a good year in 2017. I mean I made it to 2018 in pretty good shape.

The country is in a mess, never seen so much hate and discontent. I can pray for it, like the book says. Other than that and vote, I’m going to ride a wide circle this year.

Another resolution is to try to complete some small bucket list items I’ve carried for years. Simple stuff like a Braves Spring training game, make that Gettysburg trip I’ve been putting off, and one more Key West visit.

I’m three books behind, maybe more. I need to stay off FB and camp out in the writing cave.

All of those are doable, it’s just easier to get a Klondike bar out of the freezer and play with Lucy than do sentence construction.

Here’s a final warning. If your wife or girl friend is watching you and your mirror lens sunglasses, other than the water, it’s time to get something in your eye and go get a cold drink. Don’t take a chance, there’s always tomorrow. You don’t need a communication failure.

Mike Ragland is a Cave Spring city councilman and a retired Rome police major. His most recent book is “Living with Lucy.” Readers may contact him at or