January Letters to Jim: It Could Be a Happy New Year
Welcome to another new year. There is no better cure for a New Year’s hangover than reading what I have to say in response to my fans’ questions. It will either take your mind off your headache or cause you to turn to alcohol to forget what I say.
What are the primary concerns you have as we begin a new year? How do we know where to begin when it seems there are so many challenges we face? I am relying on you to help jump start me toward the best year of my life.
Dear Truly Desperate,
You must be in a bad way if you are relying on me to turn your life around. If you want to be a source of change, I suggest you begin with the one thing you have the greatest control over — you. Make a list of all the things in your life you have control over and begin making decisions that maximize your results. Start with the simplest and keep working your way through your list. You will be surprised at just how many people you can have a positive effect on when you get your S&^t together.
As for my primary concerns this year, I suppose it has to do with making the transition from life here in California to a new life in Tennessee. If all goes well, we will move to the Volunteer state this spring. Once there, it means wholesale changes to more things than I care to actually think about.
I need your help in the worst way possible. My 16-year-old son is trying to kill me. The other day, I caught him and his loser girlfriend smoking pot in his bedroom. On top of this, I am pretty sure the two are having sex and it is just a matter of time before he gets her knocked up. I lay awake at night worrying the two of them will be living in this house and raising a baby while I slave away and pay the bills. What should I do?
In Over My Head
I feel pretty confident when I tell you your son is having sex with his girlfriend. However, all is not lost. You can scream at him all you want, but he is probably so baked he doesn’t comprehend a word you are saying so you need to try a different tact.
My suggestion is you remind him of the house rules that there is no smoking any pot. Then shock him by handing him a gift of some potent marijuana gummies. While you are at it, also provide him with an extra-large box of condoms. Finally, try sampling a few of the gummies and see what they do for your temperament. You might find the next few years living with him more enjoyable. Good luck.
I am wondering why you did not provide us with your thoughts on the recent World Cup in Qatar. As far as World Cups go, this one was filled with some exciting matches while having no shortage of storylines.
Disappointed Soccer Fan
Get over it. Here is what you need to know about this year’s World Cup:
- Brazil did not win.
- The U.S. squad was lacking in a quality striker which led to their demise.
- Argentina won which is like having to watch the Raiders or Cowboys win the Super Bowl.
- Messi went out a champ which is nice except that he plays for Argentina.
- Brazil did not win.
- The U.S. needs to move on from their current coach.
- France had the best player in the world in Kylian Mbappe and he is only twenty-three.
- Brazil did not win.
- Expanding the Cup to forty-eight teams in 2026 won’t make for a better tournament, but will line the pockets of FIFA with more money and that is all they care about.
- Too many teams arrived with too many players injured or banged up which affected the quality of play.
- What on earth has happened to the Germans?
- And finally, Brazil did not win and I am not happy about it.
Are you sure you want to leave California? In a recent study, six of the top ten happiest places to live in the nation are in California. Seventeen of the top fifty were from the Golden State. Not one was from Tennessee, which is where you say you plan to move. Why on earth leave such a great state?
I saw the study you are referring to and could not help but notice the emphasis money played. Let’s face it, money makes Americans happier and if you can afford to live in the California cities listed, you are bound to be happy. However, there are millions in this state that cannot afford housing or are able to pay their monthly bills. It doesn’t matter where you live in America, if you are short on money you are going to be stressed out and left wanting what others enjoy.
In my case, moving is not about money or the state’s politics. My wife and I enjoy the idea of living where you can be surrounded by nature, closer to people who are in less of a hurry, and still near enough to cities with all the modern offerings our crowded cities have in California. I am happy in this state and assume that happiness will follow me to Tennessee.
Who would you select as your biggest idiot of 2022? I am curious to know if it is a politician or someone famous like a musician or movie star.
First off, anyone I select has to have done something pretty outrageous to supplant me from such an award. How many people pass out while answering the door when a package gets dropped off and cracks open their forehead and gets a concussion? How many do that while sober and then go through a couple of months of tests to find out doctors can’t provide an answer other than I should have had my wife answer the door?
I can think of one person who out did me on almost a daily basis because his idiocy was performed on a national level rather than kept at home where he should not be allowed to venture from.
Since there can only be one Idiot of the Year award, I have to vote for Herschel Walker.
Will next year be the year we can finally put away all these stupid face masks and see COVID in our rear view mirror? I am no longer sure what my friends and family look like?
Dear Mask Hater,
I get it, but I also hate to tell you to hang on to your masks. In fact, you may want to load up on toilet paper now so you are not left wanting when our nation and the rest of the world are hit with waves of new variants now that China has ended their zero COVID policy.
A billion and a half Chinese are already overflowing hospitals in China just weeks after their policy ended. With so many sick, it is inevitable there will be new variants and they will undoubtedly escape China’s borders and sweep the planet.
Be thankful this past year seemed mild compared to the previous two, but you are mistaken to think ditching face masks beats getting sick. COVID is here to stay and until it gets downgraded to nothing more than a flu or cold, plan on saving money on make-up or anything else to do with the lower half of your face.
In the past, you have mentioned you do not make New Year’s resolutions. Is this the case for 2023 or have you made any?
No. I do not have any specific resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions usually do not work. Just look at how crowded gyms are in January and then compare them to how empty they are in March. People set themselves up for failure more than success because they tend to select things that test their will power.
If you put on fifteen pounds last year, it is most likely the result of a slow and continuous change in your life and not from a sudden event. Consequently, you have to work for equally the amount of time to change that negative behavior into a positive one. Along the way, you are constantly tested and often made to feel like a failure when you come up short, unless you never step on a scale.
While I can control how much I eat or exercise, I cannot control certain events that unfold. If I break my leg and am laid up for a few months, I may need to set aside my weight loss or exercise goal and go easy on myself as a result. At the same time, if I am happy with myself and my doctor tells me I need to drop some weight and exercise or risk a heart attack or stroke, I may be forced into a lifestyle change I did not plan on.
Consequently, I try to change on the fly rather than wait for a new year. However, each year, I set out to be a better human than the year before, but rather than selecting a specific trait or goal, I prefer to allow outside circumstances to help nudge me in the direction I need improvement in.
What is something that if you live to be 100 years old will still baffle you? For me, it is the sheer amount of tax dollars we spend on our military. Surely there must be something you will never understand. Thanks.
While I agree with you and your feelings about our military spending, I am more boggled by something else. I will never understand how a woman’s vagina has become referred to as the va jay jay. First off, there is no letter J in the word vagina so it seems to me it would be nicknamed the va gee gee. On top of this, it is supposed to be the home of what was once known as the G spot. Can we all agree the va jay jay makes about as much sense as spending close to a trillion dollars a year on our military?
If you could select the two candidates who square off for the presidential election in 2024, who would you select to represent each party and why?
Anxious for 24
For the Democrats, I would select Joe Biden and for the GOP I would select Donald Trump. The reason is simple. I like the job Biden is doing.
However, the reality is neither may be up to the task for different reasons. I think President Biden is playing a waiting game. He is watching the polls to see how things shape up over the next year between Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and is curious to find out if anyone else emerges from the GOP as a threat.
My guess is he would rather not run, but if he feels he has to in order to deliver for Democrats he will. The problem on his end is if he waits too long, he runs the risk of his party failing to introduce a candidate or candidates to the nation who are more than capable of defeating anyone the GOP offers.
The reality is, the Democratic Party has plenty of talented candidates who are better suited to move the nation forward and provide far more energy to the job than Joe has. I think rather than waiting to see what the polls have to say, the nation would be better served if he chose not to run by March to allow his party to prepare for the primaries.
The GOP has enough challenges of their own to sort through and the sooner Biden steps aside, the better the odds are for his party to remain in power.
To answer your question, in the end, all I want are two capable candidates to select from.
Okay, that’s all the mail you get for now. Enjoy the start of a new year. May you all remain healthy and warm. Keep your enemies close, your loved ones closer, and be sure to wear deodorant unless you do not want anyone near you.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.