Here comes a new year, the great do-over. The clean slate. The opportunity to feel good about yourself for about two weeks until you shatter your New Year's resolutions like a glass vase dropped off the top of the Transamerica Pyramid.
Sometimes, however, change is necessary. In my case, I'm going old-school with my 2013 resolution and doing the fitness thing. I'm not picking a specific weight goal or strength goal, because that might not be realistic, or go far enough.
Basically, I want you to see me on the street and say, "My, that's a handsome man who could, no doubt, hold his own in a bar fight with Sam Elliott."
Right. I've resolved to become Batman. Or, if not Batman, at least someone who can go out and get the mail without sounding like Darth Vader with bronchitis by the time he gets back.
This great big do-over every January is a wonderful thing. For starters, pledging to get healthier in the new year gives you full permission to have a tremendously gluttonous December. So now that December is just about over, I have to face some hard facts. Such as: I have to take down the Christmas lights before Easter.
I mean it ...
I also have to start taking this health thing seriously. I'm getting older. I have diabetes. My blood pressure isn't great. I have this thing on my lip that won't go away. I'm not going to be young and naturally sexy forever.
So I'm going public and doing something I have to do. I'm going to turn myself over to Mike, the incredibly cheery man (you'd be cheery, too, if you were built like him) who owns the wonderful health club I won't name (Countrywood Fitness) near the border of Concord and Walnut Creek. I'm going to do what he says. And I probably won't like it, as my motto has always been "No pain, no -- hey, are you going to finish that burrito?"
The root of this resolution thing goes back to early August, when I was at the beach with my kids. Yes, a couple of fishermen did throw harpoons at me, but I'm kind of used to it, so no big deal.
Then came the boogie board incident.
My girls are old enough to boogie board, and because I'm not the brightest bulb, I went out there with them. And once the sharks figured out I wasn't an elephant seal, they went away and everyone went back into the water.
And, as I had last done this about 17 years and 30 pounds ago, I didn't think twice about belly flopping onto the board and trying to ride a wave.
Slap. That was the sound made as I hit the board.
Actually, it was more like SLAP.
It was neither a good sound nor a good sensation. I had a blazing boogie board-shaped red spot on my stomach when I got out. Seagulls were laughing. It was embarrassing.
I decided right then and there that there would be no Slap That Shook Santa Cruz next year. I might not be getting younger, but there's no reason why a 45-year-old man can't play with his kids in the ocean. I've been hearing that slap in my head for nearly five months. It's terribly motivating -- I hope.
It starts Jan. 1. OK, Jan. 3. I'll need a couple of days of mental preparation -- plus I'll be at Disneyland over New Year's, and people get weird when you drop to the pavement and start doing push-ups while in line for Space Mountain.
Hopefully, though, that slap will keep bouncing around in my head long enough keep me motivated.
Consider it my 2013 Bat Signal.