There’s more to new year than the date

Published 3:36 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

Editor’s Note: Former Post-Searchlight owner and publisher Sam Griffin published this column in 1989. After 30 years, we believe replacing “1989” with “2019” still yields a thought-provoking column.


Even with good luck, it will be at least a week before most of us are able to write “1989” with any consistency. And it’ll be longer than that before it begins to feel right.

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But writing 1989 is not the problem.

Thinking 1989 is the problem—thinking new ideas, new plans, new methods, new approaches, new results to make 1989 a Johnny Mercer year—one which “ac-centuates the positive” and “e-liminates the negative.”

It does not take a close relative of Solomon’s to realize that midnight, Dec. 31, means more than the change of one digit in the date.

There is a certain urgency in the occasion: The arrival of a new year necessarily marks the expenditure of yet another unit of our allotted time. Whatever we intend to do, to accomplish, we’d better be about it.

The late Cason Callaway, in an essay on management, advised his readers to learn to tell the difference between that which is important and that which is merely urgent.

There is, of course, a great difference. For a new year’s exercise, put last year’s activities to that test and see how many passed.

Such revelations lead to practical and pragmatic new year’s resolutions—such as:

• To do the important, not just the urgent;

• To stop frequently to see which way the ship is headed and correct course accordingly;

• Not to be schnookered into wasting time doing thing important only to other people’s agendas;

• To have less tolerance for fools than last year;

• To have absolutely no tolerance for connivers;

• To remember that while the just may sleep the undisturbed sleep of the pure at heart, the rascals of the world are working overtime;

• To recall that as the world changes, the same old methods will bring the same results;

• To realize that the goodness of human nature is not sufficient protection against lions, tigers, the ambitious and members of that mammoth fraternity, Sigma Omicron Beta.

Such resolve is not intended as a vote for cynicism, rather merely a realistic reminder for prudence’s sake. No need to labor diligently in the vineyards without giving some care to protecting the crop for varmints.

A little cynicism, judiciously and moderately applied, is a healthy thing. It helps keep everyone honest.

Let’s make this a positive year—one of carefully selected and clearly defined ovjectives and of constant attention to course.

We just don’t have time or resources for boogeralities*, intentional or accidental.

Here’s to a productive 1989.

(*With credit to Bo McLeod for use of word.)