Peter Shelton

You Say You Want a Resolution

Posted in Watch columns by pshelton on December 31, 2009

You know that clunking noise the old Saab makes? The one in the front end that sounds as if there’s a bolt loose, or a missing bushing or something? And every little bump in the road transmits the rattle, unless you’re going fast enough and you have the stereo cranked up to 11 so that nothing penetrates your rock ‘n’ roll bubble?

I really should get that looked at (listened to) again, even though that one guy who purported to be a foreign car specialist said he’d finally figured it out, but it was OK because it’s just this thing, and it makes a noise, and it isn’t crucial or anything.

Saab is soon to be no more, if you believe General Motors. So, I resolve this New Year’s, before the replacement parts for all 1997 Saabs with 298K miles on them disappear into capitalist extinction, to find these parts and get them installed. Because I don’t totally trust this guy, and loyal “Footsie” (Malagasy for “white girl”; we name all our cars) needs to keep running for a good while longer since we aren’t exactly in a position to pony up for a new vehicle right now.

And while we’re on resolutions, I resolve to refrain from telling those innocent Jehovah’s Witnesses who come to the door that we are French Symbolists. This causes them to squnch up their faces and rather quickly go away. It’s effective, but it’s a tiny bit mean since French Symbolists is just something I made up on the spot one time when I also happened to have a kitchen knife in my hand when I went to answer the knock.

I’m not really mean, and so I hereby resolve not to yell at the cat in 2010. He’s old. He’s getting kitty dementia. He yells at me sometimes for no reason. Just stands there and mrrowls at me with his most piercing voice over and over until I can’t stand it any longer. And I yell back. Which is completely infantile. He’s a cat, for Christ’s sake.

I also resolve not to look at the Alta website every day of the winter, even though they got 42 inches storm total out of that last system and we only got five. I find myself wishing for the truly great, the exceptional, when the very good is actually enough. Life, and snow sliding, is good right here.

Speaking of the Internet, I’m going to take my newfound Zen empathy skills (see cats and Witnesses above) and resolve not to be part of the extreme polarization of America this year. I’m going to broaden my media intake. I’m going to check out Glen Beck and National Review Online. And not just go knee-jerk every day to Salon and the Huffington Post. Yeah. Right.

But I am going to give up one media grudge I’ve held for years. I think I’ll forgive Colorado Public Radio for stiffing me and my book on the 10th Mountain Division in favor of some other clown (from Delaware!) who wrote a 10th book that same year. This was so terrible. I had contacted CPR’s producers for an interview on “Colorado Matters.” They asked me to send them a book, which I did. They sounded excited. Then I waited. And waited. And one day I was driving my Dad to the airport in Grand Junction, and here on “Colorado Matters” was this extensive interview with the other guy who’s going on about Camp Hale and Riva Ridge and the rest. And my dad kept saying, why is he on the radio? And I had no answer. We listened to the whole thing. It was mortifying. CPR never called me back.

I think I’m capable of forgiving them. Maybe. I feel completely capable of forgiving Tiger Woods, for example, and the Broncos, for being human. I can resolve to do that. To forgive is divine. Shall I also resolve to forgive George “America Does Not Torture” Bush? Dick “Torture is Legal” Cheney? Joe “I’m Willing to Single-handedly Bring the Whole Bill Down” Lieberman, that power-mad little scum-sucking pipsqueak hypocrite?

This may be asking too much. Even for a newly resolved Zen master.

Oh, yeah. While I’m at it, I think I’ll forgive myself for not following through on a resolution I made last year, and the year before that. I hereby resolve that this winter, really, seriously, I’m going to clean out the scum water from my Camelbak instead of just leaving it in there growing God-knows-what until next mountain-bike riding season.

Happy New Year!

One Response

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  1. I wanted to let you know some exciting news about the 10th Mountain Division, in case you ever want to write a sequel to Climb to Conquer (which I have sitting on my desk as I type). And no, I don’t have the other guy’s book! Thanks to the Eagle Valley Library District, the 10th Mountain Division newspapers (The Camp Hale SkiZette and The Blizzard) are now available online. You can access them at no charge in the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection ( Let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!

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