Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
One of my most annoying traits is that I loudly refuse to make resolutions at New Year's. Me making promises to and about my future self?! Unacceptable. I have no idea what that guy is going to do. He's nuts. If I confidently declare that the person I'm going to be in, like, April is going to go to the gym every day or something, you need to lock me in Arkham Asylum with The Joker and Poison Ivy because my bat cave is empty. My resolutions for 2023? The same as every year: to consider being hot for my age.
Why you gotta be new year, new you all the time? Why can't we be like our washing machines--same old, fine. Does the washing machine work as well as it used to? Of course not. Does it get the job done? Most of the time. Case closed!
2023: the year of functioning!
There's a Lucille Clifton poem that begins "i am running into the new year / and the old years blow back / like wind" and I think that is very lovely and a breathtaking image and I read it every year. But let me tell you that is not me at present! I am not running into the new year, darling! With these ankles?! No, no! I am dragging myself across the new year's line. I am drifting into the new year on a door that I am using as a life raft like Rose from Titanic. I am sitting on the side of the road waiting for AAA to tow me into the new year.
But I am here. Here I am. And that's what matters!
I say this with no shade whatsoever: I really love when people summarize their years by posting stuff like "this year was all about growth for me!" or "This year was a time for listening and spreading my wings!" Fascinating to me! But I can't help but wonder where are they finding this information out? Did I miss a Zoom? I have no idea what 2022 was about! Couldn't tell you! Won't attempt!
If I were to make a resolution (which I won't!) it would be to figure out what the heck everyone is talking about all the time.
What was 2022 about? It was about taking my little Prilosec every morning so I don't get murdered by my own esophagus. No, that can't be right. Let's see... 20222 was a year of... beginnings, middles, and ends. Mm. Wise. 2022 was about... 365 days. Possibly 366. I don't remember if last year was a leap year and I couldn't possibly look that information up. It had leap year energy, I'll tell you that. Suspicious, extra, untrustworthy. Leap years have a lot of nerve. They show up telling you "here's 24 more hours you need to deal with." Okay, well first of all, who are you talking to? Am I getting overtime for this?
Anyway, I am very excited to be here with you, in the present. I have no idea what's going to happen this year. It's thrilling! And I make no resolutions about it. But! I've figured out a way to hack the resolutions system. I will make resolutions that are retroactive! Today I make resolutions about 2022, which I will have completed already in the past. Future me is a wild card. Past me is the only dude I trust.
My New 2022 Resolutions (dated 1/1/23)
In the year 2022, I will drive more! I started the year going back and forth between Philly and Baltimore multiple times a week because I had two plays in rehearsal (Backing Track and The Folks at Home), then we moved to Philly but I had a play in rehearsal in Baltimore (Crying on Television), so I was doing the reverse back-and-forth. Then in the fall, David, his mother, her cat, and I drove from Portland, Oregon to Philadelphia. So much driving! Not bad for a person who did not have a license until 5 years ago! Beep, beep, toot toot! RESOLVED.
In the year 2022, I will do joke bits that I then get really committed to. One of my all-time fondest memories of the year was being at a gay piano bar called Tavern on Camac on Wednesday with my dear friend Chris Newcomer. Chris is a phenomenal singer and he's been very encouraging of my nascent desire to become better at singing, or at least to take myself more seriously as a singer because singing brings me joy even though I'm no Ashanti. On this particular Wednesday, there were about 7 people in the bar and I decided, apropos of nothing, that I needed to serenade them with "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." It started off a very odd moment of guerrilla comedy but then I got really into it and now I think my new thing is singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" all the time. Invite me to your Pride Parade. RESOLVED.
In the year 2022, I am going respond to more emails with "I do not understand." Again, what was anyone talking about?! Pivoting to ignorance. RESOLVED.
In the year 2022, I am going to once again not make it on to Barack Obama's year-end list! I have had just about enough of President Obama not reading my books. Like, my dude, they are at the library! Go check it out! RESOLVED.
In the year 2022, I'm going start to believe conspiracy theories I'm making up. Like, I think the sun is getting closer to the Earth and no one is telling us about it. It's been so bright in Philly lately. You have to squint. Suspicious. Why so bright? Take a look at this:
I took that a few weeks ago. Rings some alarm bells, wouldn't you say? Now, you may tell me that the Sun doesn't move but I would reply "that's what they want you to believe." I've read science. I get it. But I need to go up to "space" and take a look around for myself. RESOLVED.
Well, that's done!
Thanks to everyone who came to a play last year or streamed a performance online, who bought Kings of B'more (or Here for It!), who messaged me about my episodes of Better Things, who wrote in a letter to Dear Prudence while I was substitute advice-giver, and who read these newsletters. Here's to more of the same! Let us live our washing machine truth!
Beep, beep, toot toot!,