Duncan Legrange to Fans, December 1986

I basically did all of these, except the first 10 or so

Hello Fans!

I hope this letter finds you well. I just wanted to share with you all the wonderful story of how I, a humble accountant from Bristol, became the first ever man to successfully achieve his New Year’s Resolution. It wasn’t easy, this past year, as I struggled and fought every day to make myself a better person. And maybe some of you common people, after reading this story, will be inspired in the coming year to do something like I did. This is the story of how I, Duncan Legrange, went to the gym one or a couple of times per week, except when I was on vacation or skipped it.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy. When I sat down to make my New Year’s Resolutions this time last year, I was faced with a number of difficult decisions. Should I eat less fatty foods, except for chips and french fries, and also fast food when I’m traveling? Should I be nicer to my wife, except when she’s being really annoying? Should I spend more time with my kids, except when there’s a game on or I have an excuse? But no, I decided that this was the year to get in shape. So I resolved to go to the gym every day. On January 2nd, I woke up, got into my gym clothes, and read the paper over breakfast. Then time sort of got away from me and before I knew it, it was half past three. Who goes to the gym in the afternoon?

It was then I realized I needed to modify my resolution. I bravely and quickly reduced the number of days from a completely ridiculous 7 to a much more manageable 5. After this turned out to be harder than expected, I took action again, reducing the number of gym days to three per week. I was able to keep this schedule for many weeks, until March, when Sue and I went to Barbados. I forgot to pack my good shorts, so I obviously skipped that week. Upon return, I was obviously too jetlagged to go for a week or so. By April, I settled into a “one time per week” routine. Still, there was something missing. On a late night, it finally hit me: I needed skips. So I gave myself a few skips to use for weeks when it really just was not possible to go, like the week of Passover when I had to spend that night with Sue’s idiot brother Steve. I used four or five skips after that one.

But now, here I stand. I was able to mostly stick to that schedule from September to about Thanksgiving. After using my remaining 5 skips, here I am. And for my next resolution, I resolve to drink less, except at parties and on weekends, and also after I’ve had a bad day at work. I only hope this story inspires you the way I have been inspired to better myself.

Your hero,

Dunc

Analysis:Human beings have long resolved to better themselves in the coming year. Quickly, our ancestors learned that simple resolutions, like “Don’t get eaten by lions,” were always easier to achieve than difficult ones like “Finally finish that novel before getting eaten by a lion.” The Greeks were famous for making resolutions. Plato, famously, resolved to completely fix the Athenian government and solve the issues with Sparta in the coming year. When he failed miserably, he switched his resolution to the much more realistic “wear more comfortable sandals,” which he did achieve, except for one summer month when he went to the beach and lost his favorite pair.

Duncan Legrange, sadly for his legions of fans, was obviously not the first person to achieve a New Year’s resolution. Americans have a long tradition of achieving resolutions. Sam Adams famously resolved to drink less tea, and went to extremes to make sure he did it. Most famously, though, there is a man in Garden City, New Jersey who has successfully completed 61 resolutions in a row. He has resolved to not eat beets every year since 1941, and sure enough, he hasn’t had a single beet. He has also successfully resolved to give up lima beans, grits, licorice-flavored gum, and voting.

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