I resolve to help others change to benefit me

Lead singer Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes performs during the "mtvU Woodie Awards" at Roseland Ballroom Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006 in New York.

The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 1:43 p.m.

As I sat watching hip-hop artist Travie McCoy perform on Fox’s New Year’s Eve Live — incapacitated by an illness I contracted earlier in the week — I couldn’t help but wish that he had more talent. And that he would leave the stage immediately. And that he would never make music again.

The melody to his ubiquitous song, “Billionaire,” throbbed in my congested head, and it occurred to me that the one thing we never ask for as the year comes to a close is for other people to change.

It goes without saying that Jan. 1 is a date for reflection on the ways we’ve fallen short over the past year and an opportunity to right whatever transgressions we may have committed. We dutifully make lists of possible improvements, and we try to better our lives by bettering ourselves.

What we don’t do is try to better our lives by asking those around us to better themselves.

But why not? Of all the times I’ve been aggravated, inconvenienced or disappointed over the past 12 months, someone else has almost always been the cause. Life would be going perfectly for me now if not for the previous 365 days of near-comical bungling by those around me.

If that sounds egotistical, let me assure you that it’s not. I made a resolution last year to be more humble and selfless, and I did an excellent job of sticking to it. (Maybe you should resolve to be a little less judgmental from now on.)

Still, because I’m such a humble and selfless person, I won’t use this public space to berate my friends and family into being better people for my benefit.

I did that during the Airing of Grievances at our Festivus celebration a few weeks ago, and I’m not sure they’ve fully recovered.

Instead, I’ll offer my suggested resolutions to the celebrities and elected officials who sometimes make their ways into my columns. After all, they affect all of our lives in one way or another by contributing to the zeitgeist, and I feel it’s my responsibility to improve society by giving them constructive and/or destructive criticism.

You’re welcome, by the way.

1. Sarah Palin: If you ever hope to run for president, you’re going to have to resolve to be more American. You know who enjoys hiking, camping and enjoying Alaska’s splendor? Tourists. Appreciating nature is for hippies and Europeans. Less wide-eyed wonder, more shooting wolves from helicopters.

Also, mentioning how close you live to Russia just makes you sound like a Marxist.

2. Jay Leno: Ratings are about controversy, and you’re just not seen as a divisive figure. Resolve to start some kind of feud with a rival talk show host. It did wonders for Conan O’Brien.

3. Justin Timberlake: I’m just not sure singing is your thing anymore. You should resolve to abruptly abandon show business and devote yourself entirely to epic poetry. Why relegate the groundbreaking sentiments of “Love Stoned/I Think She Knows (Interlude)” to a seven-and-a-half-minute pop song when it could be on par with “The Illiad”?

Resolve to learn Greek, too. Ladies love that.

4. Lindsay Lohan: You’re perfect. Please don’t ever change.

5. Miley Cyrus: Resolve to be more like Lindsay Lohan.

If the above celebrities add my resolutions to their personal lists, I think we’ll all have a happy new year.

Contact John Houder at

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