After the beginning of each new year, we hear a lot of comments that encourage us to make resolutions that will improve our individual way of life and then resolve to keep them throughout the year. I’m not into personal resolutions but, over the past year, I have observed some things happening around me that should be worthy of new resolutions for some other people. I’m going to put them into my personal “Top Nine Countdown” that I would like to see other people resolve.

Resolution # 9 – Don’t throw trash out of car windows along the road! We live in a very scenic part of the country with nice green grasses and wildflowers growing along our roads. Then, fast food containers, bottles and cans, and other discarded stuff spoil that appearance. It’s easy to find a little bag, even one from the grocery or dollar store, to carry in the car for garbage and then deposit the whole thing in the garbage can on trash-pickup night, or even recycle some parts of it.

Resolution # 8 – Keep the perforations complete on toilet paper and place the roll in the dispenser properly! It’s frustrating for a “neat freak” like me when trying to tear off a piece of toilet paper, to find that there’s no line of tiny holes so the paper rips off with a jagged edge. Some of the double-thick paper ends up looking like a bird has been pulling off bits and pieces to build a nest. Add to that, having the roll mounted so that it comes off under the back instead of over the top, another nuisance. Sometimes in public restrooms, I’ve felt duty-bound to correct this problem and have turned the roll over so that the paper does roll off the top.

Resolution # 7 – Don’t tailgate when on the road, and don’t be a “peek-a-boo” driver. Have you ever driven along the highway and glanced in your left-side mirror to find a car following closely behind, out in the middle of the road straddle to the white line, looking for an opportunity to pass? When another car comes along, they duck back in line and, the next moment, they’re back out peeking again. Sometimes they almost get clipped by an on-coming vehicle that is right on top of them. It’s not illegal, but it’s surely nerve-wracking to know somebody’s doing that, and following too close.

Resolution # 6 – Don’t abandon shopping carts in the parking lot! If you’ve ever waited in a parking lot while a passenger is doing in-store shopping, you will see what happens. Occasionally, somebody will come out with a cart-full of stuff, unload into their vehicle, look around guiltily to see if anyone’s watching, and then just give the cart a little push away, jump into their car and drive off. That leaves the cart waiting there for someone else to “tic” into it when parking – or maybe bump it off to tic somebody else’s car in the lot. If a person can’t take the cart all the way back to the store then, at least, park near one of those cart corrals and leave it in there away from traffic.

Resolution # 5 – Be courteous in the use of cell phones! We have cell phones and they are a marvelous convenience when used properly. I know the risks involved with cellular calls while driving and I try to avoid that situation whenever possible. I see a lot of people driving around and talking, probably visiting, on their phones. It gets annoying when they walk the aisles of the grocery store while visiting loudly with a friend, sometimes even continuing the conversation while trying to check out and pay their bill. It’s not nice to abuse such a valuable tool.

Resolution # 4 – Devise a different method to put advertisements into magazines! To me, the most offensive ads are the ones bound into the magazines on stiff paper. Every time, I relax my grip on the magazine, it pops open to that page and I must remember where I had been reading before all this happened. Then there are all those pages with almost endless disclaimers about safe use of the product, pages that the advertiser feels will protect their company from lawsuits. The real nuisance to the reader also comes in terms of lost space. I’d rather talk with my friendly neighborhood druggist about the risks of taking that medication if it’s been prescribed for me.

Resolution # 3 – Go back to the old method of sealing food packages! Every time I open a new box of my favorite cereal, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, I run into a problem with the seal. I used to be able to pull gently on the two sides of the waxed paper and it would open right up so my delicious flakes of corn could slide out. Now the company has become so concerned that some foreigner might drop a foreign object into the package, that they’ve sealed it up so tight that I can hardly get into it myself. The same problem occurs with packages of my favorite Saltine crackers. The cereal and cracker people need to have a talk with the people who created the stick’em for Post-It Notes. Sometimes, I have resorted to clipping my food packages with scissors. Do we need to put a pair of scissors out beside the spoon on the breakfast table?

Resolution # 2 – Follow the rules for doing a video! When Penn State Television made plans to do “Our Town, Brockway” for public television, they held a training session for those who were interested in getting involved. The first rule, we were told, was to set the camera in place and leave it there. Zoom in and zoom out but don’t swing the camera because most people do it too quickly for viewers to follow. When the sports segment is shown on the TV news, some videographers certainly don’t follow this rule – especially with basketball. My eyeballs go into a spin when they zoom in close and then try to follow the action. Back off, I say, and get the whole picture from a little farther back.

Resolution # 1 – Eliminate the laugh track on TV sit-coms. With almost every comment made, there is a ripple of canned laughter that follows, often with no audible reason that seems funny to me. Even small snickers are heard on my favorite TV show presented as a British comedy on Saturday evenings on PBS, “Last of the Summer Wine.” I really don’t need to be primed to laugh at the antics being shown. Also, almost everybody in TV families these days, do have a snappy put-down for almost everything someone else says or does. Our schools are encouraging kids to support each other and to support their own siblings, parents, and friends. I’d prefer family shows where the characters show respect for each other, and what is right wins out in the end. It applies to news commentators as well.

That’s it. I used to have 10 resolutions, but one has already been resolved. So, in my opinion, following these other nine resolutions would make the world a better place for all of us. And they are all easy enough to keep that even I can do it. Can you? Give it a try!

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