I made a resolution last year: that resolution was to write about the proceeding year’s resolution about one week into the year thereby making me look slow and dim-witted and lacking anything interesting or original to write about thereby lulling any readers who might still be around into a false sense of security thereby facilitating their hunting down and subsequent incarceration as amusements in my as-then yet-to-be-completed undersea theme park, Mark’s Undersea Theme Park Land Amusement Land Park.
I kept last year’s resolution when I started writing this paragraph which includes not only exciting details of this year’s resolution (as promised) in the sentence one after this, but also a sad excuse of an apology for not finishing Mark’s Undersea Theme Park Land Amusement Land Park in time. I’m very sorry for not finishing Mark’s Undersea Theme Park Land Amusement Land Park in time but negotiations with the heavy lifter crabs broke down in the Summer and picket lines have slowed progress on the main attraction, the Mark’s Undersea Theme Park Land Amusement Land Park "World O’ Discarded Condoms" Canteen. Fear not, though, because I can distract you from these setbacks with the exciting details of this year’s resolution: 2005 is the year of living healthily!!! More healthily!!! Not quite as badly anyway!!! Maybe!!!
I am not drinking any alcohol during January (although I plan to make up for it on Superbowl Sunday in early February) just to make sure I’m not an alcoholic and hope to cut down my intake considerably thereafter too! I realise I can be thrown out of the half-Irish club for this heinous crime against humanity but there you have it. It’s done, I’m doing it.
What does this mean in real terms? Well, even my mouthwash is now alcohol-free. It also tastes like cloves. And it blocks up my sink meaning I either have to keep a Mr Muscle Sink Unblocker Bomb handy or swallow the mouthwash or spit out down the toilet bowl. I have chosen the latter of these three options because:
- like Derren Brown I am able to read people’s minds from watching how their eyebrows twitch and have discovered that purchasing Mr Muscle Sink Unblocker Bombs in the quantities required causes shop staff to suspect I must spend every waking minute on tiptoes with my privates in the sink feeling the cool, cool porcelain on my Jacobs and ignoring the pubic hairs escaping to freedom down the plughole until such time as the water starts backing up,
- if mouthwash works the way I think it works then swallowing it will cause my future stomach ulcer to have bad breath and this will impede its chances of ever getting a girlfriend,
- I have theorised that mouthwash, sewer faeces, and the open sea, coupled with anthropogenic global temperature increases are the perfect breeding environment for a new superspecies to succeed humans and I want to be revered as their progenitor.
It’s been barely a week of alcohol-abstinence and I’ve already noticed some changes. For a start you’re all far more ugly than I realised and you annoy me immensely. More importantly, Herman the giraffe-spider who sat on my steering wheel and told me who to drive into turns out to have been a byproduct of bourbon just like the nazi stick insect said all along. Which reminds me: where has Kommandant Twiggy gone?
Waking up in the morning is far easier. I am now able to throw back the duvet and leap naked into the middle of the bedroom, deftly avoiding slapping my erection into one of the four posts, singing "Oh What A Beautiful Morning!" as soon as the alarm goes off. Able, but as yet unwilling and thus far have continued to press the Snooze button and cry gently cursing God because I still haven’t won the lottery.
Exercise: the very word is like ethereal fingernails on the metaphysical chalkboard of my soul. But a resolution’s a resolution (except where vetoed by the Americans) and so …
Every day I have, am, will, and some other tense conjugation of the verb "to be" engaged in the e-word. It’s not much because I have confirmed a long-held suspicion that exercising sends me into my painful place where only curling up like a baby and weeping violently opens the door to escape. However, my exercise regime – which must naturally take place in the comfort of my own house lest I am forced to eradicate any witnesses to my suffering – includes:
- stomach crunches until the sight of my waistline compressing and then sliding off to each side causes convulsions of laughter and/or disgust,
- shadow-boxing for several rounds or until I lose by technical knockout, whichever comes first,
- jogging and stretching to music for the aerobic qualities and because I have an excuse for taping Aerobics: Oz Style every day,
- surfing the internet, because surfing is an extreme sport, the internet is closely connected with my employment, and it is important not to neglect one’s clicking finger and mousing wrist when sculpting a new you.
My stamina has increased ten-fold in just a few short days and I can now walk up twenty steps before all the stars appear at the edge of my vision and the roaring sound reaches a crescendo in my ears.
In what many scholars of the year 3000 will come to call "The Madness Of King Mark" I have also made the all-important decision to accompany my alcohol-reduction programme and mission to stave off a cardiac arrest through the power of excessive movement by additionally cutting back on my food intake and replacing some of the things I eat and drink with other things less enthralling to my tastebuds.
I have not become a member of a fat club. I have not subscribed to some miracle plan. I have not even purchased a pamphlet with a photo of some emaciated woman standing in one leg of a giant pair of trousers. I have used my mind and come up with a diet suitable for me with no spiritual or physical extra cost. I couldn’t come up with a catchy name so decided to call it the "Eat Slightly Less Of Everything But Especially Stop Eating Bread Like It’s Going Out Of Fashion, Restrict Your Intake Of Peanut Butter You Muppet, And Buy Some Bloody Fruit And Vegetables Occasionally Slimming Solution" and you’re all welcome to join up for a low, low introductory price.
At the supermarket this week I stood in front of a pack of pears for over a minute; look out for the security video of the event from Sainsburys on next week’s You’ve Been Framed! They were red pears. I remember eating green pears when I was young but never a red pear. I was trying to work out if they would be softer than green pears based on their colouring and squatter appearance but, in the end, couldn’t take the risk that they might be harder and might require some ripening time. Eddie Izzard fans know that the ripening time for a pear is precisely when you’re not looking at them and I just couldn’t take the chance that I’d be buying fruit just to fill up the trash for the dustbin men. Ultimately, I settled for bananas. I know that, as fruit go, they’re not the best because they have a high energy content and an elevated risk of imported poisonous arachnids in every bite but I consider it an important first step.
I have changed my hot beverage drinking habits as well. Coffee and Tetley tea are no more! I never take sugar anyway but that milk was pure cow fat in liquid form and had to be stricken down! Instead, say hello to Earl Grey with a hint of vanilla! Yes, I now drink tea like posh people and starship captains. And, I have to admit it: Earl Grey is really, really … foul. But I’m going to stick with it. Nothing else I’m doing feels good so why should this be any different? is my considered thought on the matter. I had been looking forward to telling people "Earl Grey, hot, make it so, engage!" when asked what I wanted to drink even though I knew it would lead to arguably justifiable attacks on my person but now I’ll just quietly sip my funny-smelling, hot water in relative privacy.
So, am I any thinner after one week? Well, I have noticed fewer occasions when a fold of belly skin hanging over the top of my jeans has touched a metal stud and caused me to spill funny-smelling, hot water over my manbreasts. And the noise I expel when bending over to pick up the cats’ bowls doesn’t send them scurrying quite so far to avoid an apparent owner explosion scenario. This is all good. It does still take me four attempts to get out of the recliner in the evening but I suppose it’s all still early days in the year of the more healthyisher me; should have that down to three by Spring.