3 Tips for Crafting the Perfect New Year’s Resolution

New Years is a bittersweet time of year for us teens: it’s sweet to celebrate and bitter to realize that we have only a few days until we have to go back to school; it’s sweet to appreciate that we’ve survived another year but bitter to know we have only one year left until the end of the world; some of the food at the parties may be in a sweet and sour sauce, leaving a sweet first impression but ultimately a bitter taste in our mouths; etc.

One of the great things about New Years Eve, though, is the sense of hope that we, as a young generation, have. It’s a hope of a better year, and improved future, and a whole new, fresh, untarnished year for us to procrastinate through, all the way until the end of the next semester. If you want to avoid this procrastination, then you should either create a New Year’s resolution or pick up a brain at Walmart (or a pack of sixty brains at Costco wholesale).

The thing about resolutions, though, is that you actually have to have the self-discipline to carry them out.  To fix that, I’ve got some tips on how you should create your resolutions.  This allows you to feel good without actually accomplishing anything, a feeling that is usually only otherwise achieved by massages/stretching or using government controlled substances (like drugs, alcohol, or gum). Just be careful that you don’t become addicted to creating New Years Resolutions, or you might never accomplish anything in your whole life, even after you turn 20.

Tip #1: Weak Wording

One way to avoid the stress associated with these resolutions is to create a weakly-worded resolution in the first place.

For example, let’s say that you’ve got this sample resolution:
I will stop instinctually throwing off a bridge anyone who mentions Justin Bieber in a favorable, neutral, or only mildly derogatory way.

That’s a serious resolution.  That means that even if you come upon a 20-pound 1 year old who is singing (it’s a 1 year old prodigy) a Justin Bieber song on a bridge that is only 3″ wide and you accidentally brush against them trying to cross the bridge, causing them to fall off and plummet to the water below, you will have ruined your chances to uphold this resolution.

To avoid that (because let’s admit it: we all cross narrow bridges with little children at least as often as we clean our rooms, and we all know that ‘my room is clean, mom, so can I go out now?’) you need to water down the language; the example becomes:

I will maybe probably give some effort to trying to stop instinctually throwing anyone off a bridge that is higher than two miles above whatever is below it who mentions Justin Bieber in a favorable, neutral, or only mildly derogatory way, if it is Tuesday and between the time when I eat lunch and dinner*.

*Just a quick note: this last part is pretty genius, and you should try to include it in every one of your resolutions. Since teens eat so much, just define two different snacks, or even two different bites, as “lunch” and “dinner,” limiting the time when this resolution could possibly affect you.  Or, for those of you who are super-genius (relative to other teens, of course, so for those of you who remember what day of the week it is even when school isn’t in session) you could define “lunch” as the common term for a meal at noon-ish, and “dinner” as the old English term for what is now lunch, thus making this resolution pretty much never affect you.

Tip #2: Use Scientific Truths

Let’s say that your weak wording somehow still leaves room for the resolution to apply to you, even for only a second.  It would be bad to mess up, because this is your last chance to uphold a New Years resolution assuming the world ends in 2012.  So, make your resolution physically impossible to  go against.

In the example’s case, just append something brilliant like: “….although if they do get thrown off a bridge, I resolve that they will fall down as per gravity and not up, horizontally, or at some odd degree between the two.”

Tip #3: Presentation

The whole point of having to make a resolution is for you and others to admire your resolve.  But with our current example, you would need at least 40 seconds to actually tell the resolution, and we all know teens can’t focus for more than ten seconds on anything.*

In this case, you need to use the “…,” or ellipses punctuation, verbally, to make your resolution sound great.  As far as the example is concerned, you can just say: “I will….stop throwing anyone off a bridge…who mentions Justin Bieber.”

And there you have it; the best system ever for creating New Year’s resolutions.  I’d love to write more about this, but “I will…work on…writing shorter blog posts…that are just as funny but…take less time to read.”

*Except gum, when the time rises to a 15 second focus period.  However, I once witnessed someone choke/suffocate to death after they asked for gum every 15 seconds from one particularly generous person who had a lot of gum; the gum built up in their mouth and ultimately cut off their windpipe, as they kept forgetting that they had gum in their mouth already. I still get shivers just thinking about that.

2011: A Year in Review (Teen Edition)

A revolution in the young stages

click to zoom

As the final days of December are used up like the last bits of toilet paper on the roll, we begin to wonder what impact the past year had on our lives (just as seriously as we’d begin to wonder if we had any more toilet paper under the counter, or if we were completely out).  This leads us to the point where we realize that I should not try to create metaphors, ever.

But what were the major events of this year, ones that specifically impacted teens? I’m not sure. Neither is Time Magazine, apparently, as their list for “Person of the Year” leaves many unanswered questions. However, the good news for me, you, and Time magazine is: the internet is still around to tell us all the answers.

So, thanks to myself and the internet (but mostly a coffee-table book of every issue of the New York Times published in 2000), I give you a wrap-up of 2011, which will make sure you know everything about the year 2011 before the next one starts (because we all know the majority of this year was spent on Facebook, talking about how you spend too much time on Facebook).

Social Media Revolutions

These were also known as the “Arab Spring,” but spring has too many definitions, meaning that I would definitely have made a bad joke if I used that reference instead (such as: the remember that toilet paper metaphor? Well, an improved version of the little spring inside the holder that keeps the toilet paper holder against the frame was massively marketed on an infomercial campaign that launched this year, which used only middle-eastern actors. And if you believe that, then it is really a shame you are not a teacher, especially my teacher).

Actually, a Tunisian vendor started the whole thing by lighting himself on fire.  This spread to the neighboring Arab nations.  In Syria, for instance, the government is using tanks to put down the protesters, which, for some reason, is getting only as much coverage as the Kardashians (and I’m pretty sure turning tanks on the Kardashians would receive a higher TV rating than either their current show or news footage of the Syrian military).  In Egypt, the protesters, dubbed by Obama to be an “inspiration to people around the world” (presumably for establishing democratic government) have continued in the spirit of the burning Tunisian vendor by…burning the flag of the only democracy in the Middle East (Israel).

For teens, this means that we can now not only market ourselves to adults as expert social media marketers and instructors, but also as expert revolutionaries.  After all, many of these protests were organized on Twitter or Facebook, with messages like “lost a bet, now I hafta live in Tahrir square for a wee, #sucks. Wanna join me?” being retweeted massively.

Other Protests

For lack of a better word, and in order to keep this short, “other protests” (which I can not in any way possibly tie in to the toilet roll metaphor) also happened this year.  There was Occupy Wall Street, where groups of people decided to block traffic and hurt business everywhere in order to improve the economy for everyone (scientists are more baffled by this theory than that of the neutrino discovery). Lockouts occurred in both the NFL and NBA, because the players needed to protest the fact that they were only making enough money to, to put in ‘occupy’ terms, be in the 99% of the top 1%.

So, the next time your parents tell you that you complain too much, just remind them to be thankful that you are not opting to chain yourself to your stairwell, blocking off the upstairs, in protest.

Politics

With an upcoming presidential election, political news is never ending. As a teen, you should at least vaguely know what’s going on in the world, so you don’t make the mistake of assuming that Africa is a country (we all know it’s a city in Russia somewhere, or maybe in China).  The highlights are:

  • Congressional Resignations; those of Anthony Wiener, David Wu, and Chris Lee.  If you anagram those names, you get: “They said, ‘Chew no vile, rude NW rain.”’ I’m pretty sure that’s a secret message for something, but I guess I’ll just have to wait for another “National Treasure” movie to come out to find out what.
  • The Republicans appear to be out of presidential candidates of any quality above the rating “Walmart quality assurance” (which falls just above ‘made in china’ on the presidential candidate scale; essentially, that means that they can’t legally run).
  • Europe’s economy begins to collapse, probably because a few hundred years ago rowdy US colonists decided to stop sending over ships full of money.  Also, they dumped a lot of tea into the ocean, meaning the manufacturers took a loss (and tea is the only product anyone in the US could think of that was made in the UK, then Britain, aside from the queen.  If we’d thrown her in the harbor, though, there might not have been any royal wedding this year to spend money on).
  • Other political names you should be vaguely aware of: Hillary “Not Bill” Clinton, Nicholas “whatshisname” Sarkozy, Kim-Jung “I’m not sick” Il, Moammar “How do you spell his last name” Ghkqadhafei, Vladimir “V-man” Putin, and Osama “We Got ‘im” Bin Laden.

Mother Nature

Contrary to numerous conspiracy theorists (you know you are one of these if you have already formulated a meaning for “They said, ‘Chew no vile, rude NW rain,’” and haven’t even finished reading this yet) telling us that the world would end, it actually didn’t.  Surprise there; I thought the 403rd prediction of the world ending would be correct.

Otherwise, you have a few major events.  A tsunami/earthquake hit Japan, causing problems with their nuclear power plants (along with the rest of their society). A hurricane code-named ‘Irene’ by, as I recall, the CIA, hits the east coast.  Thirdly, various other weather events occurred, including tornadoes, snowstorms, rain, hail, thunderstorms, ‘overcast,’ and sun.

Science/Tech

The major scientific discovery this year was that of the neutrino particle’s property of moving faster than light.  All possible jokes on this subject have already been made, so let’s just say that if you could figure out how to make a gum that never lost the taste it has in the first five seconds of chewing using these particles, then you would not only be the hero of every teen, you would also probably be investigated by the FDA.

In tech news, Apple and Google occupy center stage (with Internet Explorer playing the part of a spotlight-it makes them both look good). Steve Jobs died, meaning we literally have no more “Jobs” in the US anymore, and Apple unveiled SIRI, the main purpose of which is to allow teens to be even lazier than before, when we actually had to press the screen of our phones to do anything or learn anything (“back in my day we had to plant a tree, care for it as it grew, cut it down, chop it up, build a ladder, and climb to the top shelf of your great-grandaddy’s bookshelf, where he kept the encyclopedias. Then we had to learn Latin so we could understand it.”). Google created Google+ and continued working towards world domination

Teens

Teens are largely overlooked in the news, so here are some major events:

  • Sleep studies show teens, like the bumblebee, should not be able to fly, which has been verified by dropping teens off the Grand Canyon viewing platform.  These studies also show that teens are pretty much doomed because of how little sleep they get.
  • Google opened up a social network, but to prevent teens from using it they opted for an 18+ age limit.  And this is why we need a Facebook “dislike” button.
  • High School Humor Blog (this blog) is created in February (not this month) to provide entertainment (like laughing, misinformation, and outright lies that you should laugh at while becoming more misinformed) to teens of all ages (between the primary high school ages).

Aaaaannnndd…..that’s it.  I’m sure I missed a gazillion other events, including the fact that one boa constrictor escaped from a zoo and could be on a plane right now (‘could be,’ except that they found it). Otherwise, I recommend you read gum-labels to get any information that I missed.

3 Things About the Holidays that I (and You) Won’t Miss

A smashed radioSo far, those of you following this blog have probably determined that Holidays = family (-) + presents (+) + no school (++) + sleep (++++).  If you add that all up, you’ll see that the holidays are pretty happy. That is, assuming you don’t have to watch your 3 year old cousin for more than twelve seconds.

There are bad things about this time of year as well, though, and so, in hopes of making everyone ‘thankful’ for the next six months as we suffer through bitter weather, 5-school-day-weeks, and just enough sleep every night to keep our brains from accidentally (or possibly purposefully) killing us, I’m going to go over those things right now.  Also, we all know teens love to complain, and, well, what am I? (Hint: not a vegetable or mineral).

Commercials

Yes, you knew this would be first on my list.  I mean, first of all, I rarely see any teens in any holiday commercials.  I see perfectly groomed “roughly-shaven” 25-year-olds with their “natural yet perfect-looking” wives getting cars, beautiful-yet-harried parents shopping for toys, and young children who, coincidentally, also look to be unusually perfect.

I suppose this is because teens fall under ‘animal,’ as in you need to credit an animal trainer in the commercial at some point.  And we all know that there is no more room at the bottom of the screen for any more small white/semi-invisible words to do so, as that room is already occupied by things such as “Professional driver on a closed course,” “Restrictions apply,” “Never take commercials as financial advice,” “Professional talking one year old actor in a closed crib with unrestricted access to financial planning,” etc.

Additionally, none of these commercials are realistic.  Sure, that couple can afford a new Lexus every year even though neither one has a sign of being employed. If that’s true, then why isn’t there a group of people “occupying” their driveway?  And there just happen to be no cars on the road…and of course children love getting clothes for presents.  Okay, so maybe you could believe the absence of traffic-maybe there was a tsunami warning and it’s a coastal road-but the clothes part.

Songs

Now don’t get me wrong.  I like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Winter Wonderland” as much as the next person.

However, I don’t enjoy getting into a car, turning on the radio, hearing “Jingle Bell Rock” played nonstop (except, of course, for the interruption by the Radio announcer interrupting the song every ten minutes to let you know, “We’re playing songs with no interruptions for the next three hours!”), getting out of the car, buying food at a supermarket while “Jingle Bell Rock” plays over the PA system, getting back in the car, listening to some more “Jingle Bell Rock,” getting stuck in traffic and fed up with ‘JBR’ (and thus turning the radio off, and then having to hear the combined “JBR”s playing in every single car around the one I’m in (each three beats behind the next)), finally getting home, taking a sledgehammer to my car’s radio, which somehow turned back on, and then walking across the street to get the mail, while listening to “Jingle Bell Rock” played by a neighbor’s inflatable decoration.  To relax after that horrific ordeal, I generally turn on the TV, only to hear some JBR overlaid with happy shoppers in stores that are no doubt playing JBR on the PA system during a commercial break.  And all of that has been going on since November. Enough said. (Not enough said? Maybe you should know that I have gone through sixteen car radios in the past seven days alone-and three sledgehammers).

IF YOU DISAGREE and love the songs, READ THIS: “Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock; jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring…” Repeat until your feet involuntarily start tapping and the song gets stuck in your head for the next six years.

The Crowds

Yes, even us teens have to do some shopping once in a while.  And that brings you to: the crowds.  The masses of people mobbing the stores for only one reason: to prolong your exit from the songs blasting from the ceiling.

Actually, the crowds are also annoying because crowds = long lines. Which means that if you are buying something, you might need to stand on top of shelves to hold your place in line.  Shelves that, conveniently, have little toy elves that dance and sing “Jingle Bell Rock” when they sense motion.  Coincidentally, a few of these elves appear to be victims of a sledgehammer.

But enough about the bad, let’s focus on the good of the holidays: the presents, the sleep, and the absence of school.  Mostly the presents, although you need to watch out for parents who give cards that say “restrictions apply” in small white on white print at the bottom.

How to Deal with Annoying Family During the Holidays (And A Present for You)

(See Bottom For Your Gift)

just a funny pictureNo matter how involved corporate America gets in the winter holiday season, there is one thing that hasn’t changed: family.  It is still traditional for families to gather together this time of year in an effort to maintain emotional stability: presents make one happy, and family can get on one’s nerves.

And so, this leads to the inevitable; you are forced to deal with those family members whom you can’t stand.  It happens to all of us, except the Neanderthal on the Geico Commercials (because he’s the one his family can’t stand; so there’s no one to annoy him).  Here’s a rundown of the common culprits.

Ages 1-5

Sure, they may be ‘cute’, but these cousins (hopefully they aren’t your uncles or aunts) are innocent bits of trouble.  As teens, it is usually our job to ‘watch the [little monsters] and keep them out of trouble.’  You probably said, “Sure, mom.  I will,” while thinking ‘what could go wrong?’

Just the fact that you were thinking ‘what could go wrong?’ should be an indicator that something is going to go terribly wrong.  And it will.  You see, these little kids are absolutely terrific at finding ways to make trouble, because, believe it or not, they have less common sense than yourself.

For example, let’s say you are sitting in an unused room with just one 3 year old in the center of a sofa.  They can’t hurt themselves on the soft sofa, and they aren’t close to the edge.  But wait-they are about to spit up on the pillow, which was a gift from Great Aunt Mildred, who will be arriving tomorrow night.  So, you quickly grab the kid and run him over to the garbage can-crisis averted, right?

Wrong. It was fake! Instead of spitting up, he/she burps, and then picks up something disgusting from the garbage to put in his/her mouth.  Only your quick reflexes allow you to grab the piece of trash and toss it back in the can.  While you are preoccupied, though, the kid spits up on the $4,000 Oriental rug.  You put them back on the center of the sofa and run for paper towels, just in time to watch the kid fall off the sofa and hit their arm, which makes them start crying.

You try to ‘shush’ them, but you haven’t yet wiped up the rug.  So, you drag the kid over to the rug while you clean it up.  Then, though, they start chewing on the rug, so you try to get them to stop.  This causes more screaming, and then they fall on their arm again.  This time, the arm falls off, and you aren’t sure what to do.  They spit up again, and bite your finger.  Their arm starts crawling towards the garbage can. They scream.  Your parents walk in and see a dismembered, innocent little kid being abused by their teenage child.  Needless to say, guess who gets in trouble? (Hint: it isn’t the rug).

Ages 6-12

These kids are also troublemakers, but the difference is the trouble is intentional.  They still have the “Bambi Eyes” face mastered, so they can get away with anything (remember those unsolved “Jack the Ripper” murders?).

You need to stay away from these kids at all costs.  Actually, you need to build a cement cage in your yard and keep these kids in it, if you want to survive the holidays.  After all, that’s the only way to cope with kids like these: pretend to be playing along and breaking the ‘rules.’

“Alright, listen up.  Mom and Dad don’t want us to play prisoner, but we will anyway.  Just stay quiet about it so we don’t get in trouble.  I’m gonna lock you up in the cage in the backyard and bring you meals three times a day.  I will also give you a spoon, which you will use to dig yourself out.  If you don’t dig yourself out in time for tomorrow, though, I get all your presents.”

Ages 13-19

I shouldn’t have to tell you how to deal with other teens, as you deal with them everyday at school.  Please ignore the fact that teens enrolled in school have one of the highest depression rates.

Ages 20-35

These relatives are just plain ‘cool,’ and, thus, you won’t need to deal with them.

Ages 36-55

These relatives can be ‘cool,’ but more often than not they are stricter, nosier ‘parents.’ They demand perfect performance in school, social life, and extracurricular activities.  If you’re lucky, though, they’ll spend more time trying to get their kid out of the cement cage in the backyard than talking to you.

The good news is that they are great for signing forms you need a parent signature on that your parent’s won’t give: “Yes, Uncle George, it’s fine if you sign it.  It just gives me permission to go on the Las Vegas field trip unchaperoned, meaning I will learn more about the…culture…than if I was in a parent-controlled environment. And I know how much my education means to you.”

Ages 56-Beyond

Whether they are an older uncle or Grandparent, these relatives can be fun to talk to.  They realize the ridiculousness of certain things that your parents don’t and so, even if your 80 year old Grandpa doesn’t know “what the big deal is between an A and a C-I didn’t even bother with college. Heck, in my day, I dropped out of school when I was seven and went to work in a type machine factory.  Look’et these nice scars…” he’ll certainly find it funny that your parents care.

All in all, or none in all, or all in none, or all for one and one for all, or to infinity and beyond-sorry, I’m getting sidetracked-there are very few ways to deal with annoying visiting family members.  However, just remember to be thankful that you have these precious moments; sixty years from now you’ll be fondly nostalgic of cleaning up cousin Kimmie’s spit.  At least, that’s what I’ve been told.

Happy Holidays: A Present

In honor of the holidays, and on the topic of this post, I would like to offer you our ebook bonus content. Titled “10 Skills for Coping with Annoying Family Members,” this is the year-round advice for coping (after all, even cement cages deteriorate eventually). It has 2,000 words and 4 pictures.

It was originally created to be coupled with our ebook, “50 Skills Every Teen Must Have,” which you can pick up for free here (and so you wouldn’t normally even know about it without first getting our ebook).  For a limited time, you can get it without having to get the ebook and enter an e-mail address (if this offer’s expired, just pick up the ebook-the link to this content is at the end of that).

Just click on this button to get your gift (details of what will occur are below).

UPDATE: as of today (12-25-11) this offer has expired.  Sorry.  You can still get your hands ‘on’ a (digital) copy by getting our ebook, though.  Pick up our ebook here.

(You can’t see this button in a feed reader-this will take you to the post).

All you need to do is tweet or facebook share the message “Just picked up ‘10 Skills for Coping with Annoying Family Members’ from High School Humor Blog-for free! [link to content]” (using the “share to get” button) and then download your copy from the link.  This offer is only good through December 25th, though, so act now. Since it’s free, we won’t offer any return policy, although we will offer “0% APR financing.” If you have any problems, shoot me an email through my contact page.