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Ask Anyone

you say you want a resolution?

I’ve never had much luck sticking to New Year’s resolutions. How about you? Do you experts have any advice on how I can make a permanent change to my life starting January first?


The Straight Skinny says: You could cut off your arm.

Save the Date says: If your resolution has anything to do with eating healthier or drinking less, you’re shit out of luck. This is Buffalo, a city abundant with delicious food and cheap drink temptations. If it’s about anything else, the trick is to stick with it for 21 days. Or maybe it’s a month? Or you’re supposed to say “Beetlejuice” three times? One of those things will make the habit stick.

The Gay Perspective: A significant and permanent change can seldom be made through the resolution of the moment. Think of anyone who has tried to quit smoking in response to a momentous life event. Resolve, instead, to be more introspective and work on self-improvement throughout the year.

Gentle Ben says: What’s this? You must change your life? Listen to me, Rilke: Resolutions are conversation pieces for suckers. They’re instruments of self-flagellation. They’re built to fail.

Here’s a better approach to self-improvement: Make a list of things you really, really love to do, and do often—drinking, for example, or calling in sick to work. (Or making resolutions, if that’s waht floats your boat.)

Now make a list of things you wish you would do more often, like exercising or writing novels.

Now all you need to do is make a bargain: I will only get loaded on a one-to-one ratio with my workout schedule. I will blow off work today, but spend one hour working on my post-modern pastiche of Ivanhoe.

Make self-improvement a transaction, with costs and rewards.

dirty laundry

I live with four other roommates, and they leave their laundry in the washer expecting that the next person will move their clothes into the dryer for them. I am the only roommate who disagrees. I feel that I am responsible for my own laundry and no one else’s. What do you think?

—Lone Wolf

The Practical Cogitator says: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”—Hillel.

This can be applied to so many of life’s questions. Yes, you are responsible for your own laundry. But to think that you would “be only for yourself”…and not transfer laundry into the drier for your roommate, even!

What do you do? Leave it in a wet heap in a basket to mildew? Is that transfer to the basket any easier than tossing the clothes into the drier? What kind of person are you? And if you do not put it in the drier directly from the washer, then when exactly will those clothes make it into the drier—as your newly washed clothes will displace the laundry-time-space-continuum?

Help your roommate out. Dry the clothes. Now folding, that’s a whole different matter.

The Gay Perspective: What’s the big deal? Roommates share responsibilities and if you all help with the washer-to dryer-transfer, you all save a trip. If, for personal reasons, this is too irksome, move.

I would argue, however that each of you should be cleaning the kitchen after you use it—and the same for the bathroom. While one load of clean laundry is pretty much like another, the disarray caused in a kitchen or bath is more personal and individual. And if you find that you are the only person picking up clutter and running the vacuum cleaner in the living room, you’ve got a legitimate complaint.

Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Please send your questions for our panel of experts to

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