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New Years Resolutions Popular in ’24

It’s New Year’s Resolution season again but don’t despair, this is not one of those stupid resolution columns. It’s a stupid chronological resolution column. Although documented episodes of out with the old, in with the new proclamations exist throughout the annals of history, perhaps no year better exemplifies these tragic attempts to get back on track than the 24th year of each century. Conveniently enough, this enlightened harvest of historically linked passages arrived in our cognizant copy basket on New Year’s Eve. While we realize that there are a multitude of vows and pledges that have had far more impact on mankind, we have chosen to focus on resolutions that were actually kept. Despite other images that this piece may conjure up, it is apparent that the elements, the planets, and the gods have always looked favorably on 24th year resolution makers. It’s kind of a quarter century-eleventh hour thing. Long after Guana, an attractive Neanderthal princess, inhabiting Asia Minor in about 4000 BC, started her New Year by promising that she would get her family out of “this drafty old cave and into something modular”

St. Augustine continued the promises. Curiously enough it was January 1 in the 24th Year of the 6th Century. The stodgy bandwagon moralist had promised Pope Gregory he would convert Britain to Christianity. Two months later he baptized a leading antagonist, Ethelbert of Kent. Ethelbert would go on to become one of the most abrasive lounge singer/performers in Canterbury. Seeing what he had done, Augustine made a second resolution in which he promised never to discuss religion or politics. He then retired to a remote monastery to write his memoirs, which include the popular tune “Let’s Spend the Blight Together”.

Highlights of other maintained resolutions quite possibly include:

624 AD: Marauding Arabs, searching for the legendary oil reserves described by the Roman poet, Sinclair, sack Carthage mistaking it for suburban Byzantium. Their leader, Caliph Abdelmelik III, makes a New Year’s Resolution to start carrying a decent map into battle.

724 AD: Byzantine Empress Irene overthrows her son, Constantine, blinds him, and assumes sole power. She then proposes to marry Charlemagne. After repeated rejections of that conjugal arrangement, Irene promises to quite chasing men and to stop blinding people. Despite her sinful behavior she was later canonized by the Greek Church.

824: After a string of architectural disasters, early electrical contractor, Alfonso III, resolves only to wire castles built with drywall. Saracens, looking for an open service station, get into a gas war with Bulgarians. In January they make a resolution to put the the Holy Land on the market in order to pay for further military excursions into Europe.

924: On December 31 Danes promise to stop sacking the Irish Coast but they don’t say anything about rape and/or pillage. The Sultan of Ghanzi resolves to send his gums to the dentist once a year. Gondola operators in Venice pledge to go on strike until tips improve. A dramatic population explosion in China gives birth to the concept of 1/2 orders on sweet and sour pork. The Chinese guarantee effective birth control methods and dynasty-subsidized egg roll distribution by 926.

1024: The Cid takes Valentia from the Moors and promises to return it when he’s finished with his Christian remodel. Unfortunately it is mislabeled as a present to his precocious offspring who break it the day after Christmas.

1124: An assortment of holy men, including St Anthony of Padua and Chinese philosopher, Chu-Hsi promised to stop talking to the sky in public.

1224: Scots defeat British at Stirling Bridge and then again at Chevy Chase. King Edward I of England’s New Year’s Resolution is to refrain from playing his bagpipes before dawn. He instructs his troops to avoid looking up the kilts worn by anyone related to Robert Bruce.

1324: The Duke of Gloucester vows to stick to his diet in 1325 but is murdered before he can properly push himself away from his dining room table.

1424: Lucretia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI, shocks the Vatican by divorcing Giovanni Sforza and running off with the marginally elegant Alfonso of Naples. Her New Year’s Resolution: Don’t unpack until the ring is paid for. Michelangelo sculpts “Bacchus” and pledges to stop using profane language during his next project .

1524: Vasco de Gama rounds the Cape of Good Hope under the flag of Lisbon. However, after the check bounced, the explorer resolves that further business dealings with the Portuguese would be on a COD (not the fish) basis. The Second Spanish Armada is scattered by storms in the Atlantic. Spanish King Phillip II makes a resolution to start watching the Weather Channel in 1525. He further pledges to move out of mom and dad’s basement by summer.

1624: Peter the Great’s luggage is once again lost during a journey through Prussia, Holland, England and Vienna. He makes the trek disguised as Peter Michailoff in order to study European ways. In January of 1625 he vows to travel with only a carry on.

1724: Casanova drops dead moments after vowing to stop chasing young women. After taking Vienna, Napoleon resolves to keep an extra pair of dry socks in his pack. He then exhorts his tired soldiers to “let the good times roll”. Headhunters in New Guinea make their first New Year’s Resolution: To eat only vegetarians. Court of Versailles promises to clean its Venetian blinds once a month.

1824: The citizens of Savage Basin, Colorado pledge to stop carousing and staying up late. That temperate climate hangs over the town to this day, especially on January 1. Old Man Roberts, proprietor of Tuller and Roberts Grocery vows to stop bitching and chewing tobacco when he has to cut up a chicken. Mrs. Williams, a cook at the Victor Restaurant in Ophir, promises to stop burning her husband’s toast. “Shorty” Bridgeman, “the racker salesman” resolves to stop spitting while during conversations. Dr. Copp, a Durango dentist vows to stop drinking before oral surgery. The United States government promises to uphold all future treaties with the Ute Nation since most of the latter have already been relocated to Utah anyway.

1924: World leaders, including Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin make a New Year’s Resolution to hold their collective breaths until world peace is achieved.

2024 World leaders attend a Conference on Global Warming, leaving their stretch limousines running so as to make an effective escape if someone smells a fossilized rat in the proceedings.

Kevin Haley, a drugstore historian of ample note, resides in Antioquia, Colombia and summers in downtown Colona where he watches live political soap operas unfold, and publishes the His New Year’s Resolution is to visit the United States often to tend to his lavish cannabis digs and breed miniature paso finos.