Oh, the New Year! How I adore the barrage of inspirational clichés, sappy memes and cheeseball psychologies to motivate us through the hellish labyrinths of our yearly resolutions.
Most of these New Year inspirationals fall under recurring categories such as the unfathomable Everything-is-Possible category, the nightmarish You-Can't-Win-If-You-Don't-Play series and the ever-nauseating Hey-It's-A-New-Year-And-It-Is-Somehow-Going-To-Be-Better-Than-Last-Year-Even-Though-Misery-Doesn't-Acknowledge-Clocks-Or-Calendars kind of quotes.
Take this inspirational ditty by Anu Khanna that a friend shared on my Facebook page and which I instantly deleted: "A new year is on the way, and the possibilities are endless."
"Why did you remove my post?" asked the friend.
"I don't want to give anyone false hope," I said. "Possibilities most certainly have endings. They are called impossibilities. Besides, even if possibilities are endless, why are they only endless in the New Year? Were they not also endless in 2015? Or 2014? Or 700 A.D. for that matter?"
It's like I told another friend who tagged me on a quote by Charles Lamb which I instantly removed on the count of it being blubbering nonsense: "No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all peoples date their time..."
What, hey, huh? Nobody is indifferent about the First of January? Not the Chinese? Not Koreans? Not Orthodox Jews or Muslims? I know a couple of Zoroastrians who would sooner chew on barn splinters than spin a single rattle on New Year's Eve.
Admittedly, not all of these inspirationals are inherently evil. Some are clever and useful and I don't want to murder them in the face too much. But it's always the ones that are overtly simplistic, nauseatingly flowery and/or just plain incorrect that seem to flood my inbox. Such as we see in the Huffington Post article, "12 Beautiful Quotes To Inspire You In 2016" with the subtitle "Meditate on these words as you celebrate New Year's Eve"—neither of which will ever be retweeted, shared or liked on any of my social pages because the words "beautiful" and "meditate" are in the title instead of "retch-fest" and "puke-o-rama."
Take for instance this partially regurgitated sausage chunk by Pope Frank: "Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow..."
The HuffPo article also includes a meme with the picture of—oh fer chrissake—a butterfly emerging from a cocoon with the following quote from Goethe: "We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves..."
And this bit of metaphorical misconduct by Swami Vivekananda: "...those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch [the wind] and go on their way, but those which have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of the wind? We make our own destiny."
Flowers and weeds? Butterflies and caterpillars? Wind and sails. Can these metaphors be more cliché? It's bad enough that the tone and intellect is comparable to poetry written by a 12-year-old girl on a lollipop bench in Gumdrop Glade, but the wind and sails metaphor is a hot mess.
Yes, of course, those who do not put up The Sails of Preparation will not catch The Winds of Opportunity and thus be doomed to bob in the Sea of Defeat (unless of course you happen to have The 375 Horsepower Twin Inboard Engines of Inherited Wealth).
However, what about all those times we put up our sails but no wind comes? The Swami conveniently left that part out because, no matter how thoroughly we prepare, we cannot ensure our destinies will turn out to be the destinies we want them to be. That's why it's called destiny.
Wow. What a bunch of useless, flowery, feel-goody fallacies among a million just like them, and you know what? I believe we deserve better. I believe we deserve a frank, non-hyperbolic, honest and useful list of motivational quotes for the New Year and beyond. And so I've taken it upon myself to provide one.
12 Real, True, Though Not Necessarily Beautiful, Useful, Inspirational Quotes That Do Not Require Meditation
· Although a person's life is a land full of thorns and weeds that won't grow nuthin', there is always a place where you can buy fruits and veggies.
· Be forgiving and don't start no shit. However, don't take crap from no fuckrods either.
· Call your mother once in a while, wouldya?
· Put your Christmas decorations away. It's bad enough you hung them up in September.
· That you attract more flies with honey than you do vinegar is exactly why you should never use honey to solve a fly problem.
· Wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Hangovers are proof that God is a huckster douchebag.
· When in a new relationship, don't fart for three months.
· Early to bed, early to rise is a tragic waste of all that health, wealth and wisdom.
· Pick up a check every now and then wouldya?
· Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to reverse the exhaust pipe on my neighbor's leaf blower so that it blows back on his face, and the wisdom to blame it on his hooligan son.
· A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single oil check.
· Burn more calories than you consume. That's how it works. That's all it is.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Edwin Decker blogs at www.edwindecker.com. Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.
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