I picked up the phone yesterday and it was my friend Arnold, calling to wish me a Happy New Year. 

     “Thanks, Arnold, and the same to you.  Did you have an enjoyable holiday season?” I asked.  

     “Yes,” he said with a chuckle, “we even got a Christmas tree,”

     “Your first one?” I replied

     “Second one.  We started last year.”

     “But I thought you didn’t believe all that stuff about Christmas.”  

     “I really don’t, but Irma thinks it’s a nice thing to have a tree and decorate it and put presents underneath it.  She even got a CD with Christmas carols on it – you know, a medley of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and someone else singing about Rudolf, the Red-nosed Reindeer.” 

     “So you like all that about Christmas?”

     “I didn’t mind,” he said.  “Those songs at least got us in a present-opening mood.  But I’m really calling you to wish you a happy 2018, and see if you made any New Year’s resolutions.”

     “Well thanks, Arnold.  Very thoughtful of you.  Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?

     “Yeah,” he said.  “I’m going to forget the tofu and get back to the veal chops.”

     “So you’re giving up on last year’s resolutions?”

     “Yeah, they didn’t work.  Last year I resolved to lose twenty pounds and now I have only thirty to go.”

     I laughed.  “Did you get onto a serious diet?”  

     “At first yes I did.  No-carb, no sugar, small portions, easy on the booze.  It worked for a while, but then St. Patrick’s Day came around, and we celebrated with friends at McGee’s Pub with all that corned beef and cabbage – and green beer.  Then Memorial Day started all those rounds of barbeques throughout the summer with all those pork ribs and hot dogs and more beer.  Then Thanksgiving came with the usual turkey with all the trimmings – including pumpkin pie -- that lasted for a good ten days – leftover turkey sandwiches, turkey stew, turkey everything for ten days.  Then came the Christmas season, with invitations to parties complete with cream cheese dips and cookies and cakes and laced egg nog, and a delicious Christmas ham that Irma always makes at home.  You know, all these Christian holidays make me fat.”

     “There you go – blaming everything on us Christians again.”

     “It is convenient, I have to say.”

     “So any new resolutions for 2018?

     “Yes, I started taking golf lessons, at least to get some exercise in.”

     “Good idea.  Are you enjoying the game?”

     “Not really, especially after what the pro told me.”

     “What was that?”

     “He told me I had to lose weight.”