- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 31, 2005

Just hours ago, the nation traded one year for another. In the caterwaul of the countdown, glittered hats at a jaunty angle and noisemakers whirling, 2005 became 2006.

In the aftermath, revelers collectively assess the situation, and it goes something like this:

Gee. 2006. 2006? How did that happen? Wasn’t it 1994 about 20 minutes ago? Wasn’t the world supposed to end in 2006? I feel like eating Cheez Doodles. Why did I wear these shoes? Honey, get off my foot. Your brother is a weasel. I feel fat.

Oh, it’s excruciating, all right. Once the great shining hubbub wanes at 12:01 a.m., New Year’s Eve drops the saucy “eve” part and becomes plain old New Year’s Day, which is all about business.

2006 has arrived, and now we have to decide what to do with it.

There are 100 million Americans — give or take a few thousand who haven’t gotten up yet — with the oath of resolutions upon their Cheez Doodle-stained lips.

Resolutions.

Yes, resolutions. These are doled out by the Resolution Fairy, who wears a sensible tweed suit and penny loafers. She carries little chits with “Lose Weight” and “Save Money” written on them in plain black type, correctly folded on the score mark and placed with silent efficiency on the front hall table.

Calories and dollars: They are at the core of the most popular resolutions made in the first bleak but virtuous moments of every new year, according to all the resolutions experts out there. Of course, between 37 percent and 92 percent of us will break those promises, depending on which expert is consulted.

Indeed, resolution-breaking has become a whole cottage industry for therapists who claim we forget our goals because we’re depressed, didn’t get picked for dodge ball or perhaps once were traumatized by Cheez Doodles.

But the Resolution Fairy knows.

In neatly printed letters upon a plain white index card, she notes when we secretly indulge in that bacon sandwich on Wonder Bread with lots of mayonnaise. She checks off the box indicating that yes, we were spotted there with the snarling throng by the Cinnabon counter and again in the ice cream aisle at Giant.

She has an in at the bank, too, probably with that one mean teller on the end. What’s this? Withdrew how much? Wrote a check for what? The Resolution Fairy has a special card for that, too.

That could leave us, for the most part, chubby and broke.

But imagine what the specter of maintaining resolutions must mean among the elite, the famous, the infamous. Imagine the big rap sheets the Resolution Fairy must have for them.

King Kong — Male, age 29. Resolution: Lose weight. Status: Failed.

Notes: Ate nine bananas, several citrus items and a millet biscuit from the parrot bin at the National Zoo last Monday. Dined at the Outback Steakhouse with friends (declined to share Bloomin’ Onion). Consumed top layer of Whitman’s Sampler while talking on cellular phone at 9:35 p.m. Had a Ding Dong at midnight.

Poor Mr. Kong. We have it on good authority that he always kept his resolutions while living on Skull Island and blames his current failure to attain his desired goals on his father, Elvis Kong, now managing his son’s business affairs from a Manhattan office.

“Dad just doesn’t understand me anymore,” Mr. Kong told the New York Post, which published the first accounts of his resolution-keeping failure in a recent edition.

The Resolution Fairy could not be reached to confirm or deny the reports, according to the Post.

We know she’s out there, though, treading lightly in her loafers, the perfectly ironed collar of her white blouse like a crisp Necco wafer against her blazer. She’s watching, watching — waiting for those latent infractions that lurk in the hearts of all resolution makers.

Yipes. It’s a good thing she is not authorized to issue fines, though this might not be a bad idea when NASA decides to send another probe to Saturn. It could be funded by Kong’s taste for chocolate-covered cherries alone.

Meanwhile, there are some out there who pay no attention to the Resolution Fairy, resolution angst or resolution failure. (Elvis Kong, call your office.)

“My advice to everyone this year is to resolve not to set New Year’s resolutions,” says Stephen R. Covey, the Utah-based author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

We set too many resolutions, he says, and whimper in the aftermath. In addition, researchers at Yale University are frowning on resolutions, deeming them “unproductive” because they can prove deceptive and tricky.

Oh goody. We now have permission to skip resolutions — or at least retool them into manageable form — like only eating Ding Dongs on Monday and Friday or squirreling away $5 a week in a shoe box marked “New Tires Fund.” Who knows? It might even warrant a nice gold star from the Resolution Fairy.

Jennifer Harper covers media, politics and King Kong for the Washington Times’ national desk. Reach her at jharper@washington times.com or 202/636-3085.

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