I resolve to never again introduce my son Christian as "Chilmark," something I did at a party the other evening, to the immense amusement (tinged with alarm) of the family. In my defense, I was in the middle of a conversation about affordable housing (my lot in life, I suppose, when everyone else is discussing the future of Miss USA) and focusing on the prospects for Chilmark's Middle Line Road proposal, when Christian hove alongside. This synapse closed and that one, the wrong one as it turned out, opened, and, well, he looked at the Old Man (which is what he calls me) aghast, before he became hysterical. But, never mind, no excuses. Henceforth, it's Christian exclusively.
This is the season for resolutions, and naturally I've made them before with indifferent success. I remember some of the resolutions I made in the eighties, and I'm still working on them. Many others, some more ancient than those and some more recent, I've forgotten altogether. Just as well, because they may be no longer needed. It happens. Life intervenes. For example, there was the one in which I swore off trans fats way before they were banned in NYC and will be soon in Boston. That work's been done for me, I am pleased to report. Or, how about the one where I resolved to send a letter to President Nixon telling him it was time for him to go? I never sent the letter, but he must have got my vibe, and he did the right thing.
I've discovered that it is more useful to dream up resolutions for others to make. So, my chief resolution this year, as it has been annually for a while, is to help others, particularly our elected and appointed leaders, as well as assorted newsmakers whose names may not be well known. All of these eminences have trouble conceiving their own resolutions for 2007. Or, at least they have trouble conceiving the right resolutions. That's what I can help with.
So, herewith the resolutions that these folks ought to make but probably won't, or in some cases resolutions I suspect they've already made but shouldn't have. (Naturally, in these latter cases, all I can do is reveal them to you for the mistakes they are, praying, no doubt in vain, that the light of day will move their makers to reform.)
And right away, in the latter category, it's too late for Tisbury selectmen Tristan Israel and Tom Pachico, who have resolved to ease the burden on their constituents by filling themselves all the important, appointed offices in town government. That way, according to their thinking, they can bring their preeminent understanding of all things to bear on municipal issues without inconveniencing the multitude of Tisbury residents who have extensive experience in business, finance, tourism, and public service, and who might wish to lend their talents. A tragic blunder.
As for the odd man out in Tisbury, Denys Wortman ought to resolve to say what's right and damn the consequences. He doesn't want to be the follower when his colleagues toddle off the cliff, does he?
As for the members of the Martha's Vineyard Commission, piously unaware of their failings, they've made no resolutions for 2007. They thought none were needed. I have another view. I resolve that they ought to have resolved to study why Islanders with any sort of building or business plans run shrieking from the possibility that their project will have to submit to a development of regional impact review. Islanders prefer colonoscopy to the MVC.
And, for the Chilmark selectmen: Resolved that, in penance for our unspeakable sins of referral, we promise to buy all the Girl Scout Cookies consigned for sale by Vineyard scouts. And, we further resolve to buy these cookies with our own, not the town's, money.
For the members of the Dukes County Charter Study Commission, two resolutions: First, resolved that whenever someone tells us that county government is necessary because there are so many important services it can perform to the six Island towns, we shall ask that someone to name one; and second, resolved that whenever someone names an important function, now neglected, that county government may in the future perform for the six towns, we shall poll voters in the towns to see if they are up for it, and if they haven't had enough of county blundering already.
For Oak Bluffs selectman Kerry Scott: Resolved that whenever it occurs to me to say something, I shall restrict myself to no more than 50 words, no matter the subject, and further that I will clear my intended remarks with someone sensible among my colleague selectmen.
Finally for the blessed Land Bank commission: Resolved that we shall hunt every opportunity to find the private, special places from which Islanders have been so long excluded and for which no preservation plans have been ordained by private landowners, no matter their pretensions; and further, that we shall use whatever means promise success to acquire such delights for the enjoyment of Islanders and their neighbors and visitors; and even further that we shall guarantee that our public stewardship shall be, as it has been throughout the Land Bank's existence, more thoughtful and environmentally conscientious than the stewardship pretended to by the sanctimonious private owners.