Well, hi there and thanks for settin’ with me a spell here on the liar’s bench. I don’t remember if I ever wished you a happy new year, but I do hope you have a good one even if it’s not so new anymore. As late as it is in the month, I imagine most of the resolutions that were made on the first day of it have been broken and long forgotten. Let’s see, what were some of them I heard around the table down at Sally’s Diner and Laundromat.

I suppose the first resolution to bite the dust was Rolly’s. He vowed he would cut down on all those beers he drinks in the rear of the city building behind the fire engine. I think he hurt his back the week before Christmas when he was hauling out the trash, and figured his load would be lighter if he didn’t have quite so many bottles. I think that resolution lasted until he was talking to big John down at the Junction Package Store just outside of town on the highway up to the county seat. Big John suggested that he wouldn’t have so much trouble if he bought his beer in aluminum cans, and that he could even help the environment by recycling them. Also, there was a sale on right then. Rolly allowed as how he would have to try that solution, so he bought a case. Just to try them, mind you.

And then do you remember the two ladies who were trying to take off pounds last year using the New Testament Weight Loss Program? Well, they decided they would give it a try again this year. The problem was that the plastic packets of food from the Holy Land had sat in the back of a pantry for a year and turned into packets of cement from the Holy Land. That alone mightn’t have stopped them from going on with it. They could have approximated the food, being such good cooks, but something strange happened when they began to try their exercise program.

It seems a favorite niece had borrowed the video tape of the Christian Aerobics exercises because she thought her thighs were looking a little large, and her husband, who was quite a practical joker, had decided to tape over the original with some dancing he had picked up at a party over in Elm. So, when these fine Christian Ladies began to put on their exercise clothes and tennis shoes in the basement of the Community Church and cued up the tape, they were surprised. This didn’t look at all like what they remembered from last year. Instead of smiling and slim young Christian women exercising to some of their favorite hymns played to a semi-rock beat, there was Bam-Bam LaRoux removing articles of clothing from an already revealing outfit and to the savage beat of very hard rock music. They leaped to turn off the TV so that no one would see what had happened, and they just sat there for a few minutes, stunned, trying to figure out what had just happened.

I think they only told their closest friends, Margaret Parker and Viola Crump, the details of the experience. I think it was later that day when they were having fresh baked oatmeal cookies at Margaret’s house that the story came out. Well, how could you expect those fine ladies to keep up a program when they were exposed to such unseemly experiences.

Clint Parker has had the longest lasting resolution so far. It seems that he developed a rash about Christmas time. It got so bad that he had to go up to the county seat to a skin doctor who said it probably was caused by one of the new after shave lotions he had received for Christmas from the kids. The doc allowed that probably it would be O.K. if he would refrain from shaving for a while. Doc Satterfield snorted when he heard about it: You paid good money to have a specialist tell you that? I could have told you that, and I wouldn’t have charged you half what he did.

Anyway, Clint decided that he would make a resolution to grow a beard. He’s getting away with something just because of what a doctor said, and he knows it. He’s always wanted to grow a beard, and Margaret has always said he would sleep in the spare bedroom if he did. But now he has an excuse. Boy is Margaret steamed. She’d just like to get a hold of that doctor for a few minutes. But because she loves Clint so much and hates to see him in pain, she is going along with it.

About now, the hairy growth makes Clint look just like what you see on TV when you see pictures of skid row bums. And it appears that he waited a bit too long to try his luck, because about a fourth of the hair is reddish in color, and another fourth is blonde, while the rest is just plain white. But he has hopes that after a couple of months of grooming he will look distinguished and sophisticated. He stood in front of the mirror for fifteen solid minutes trying to get all of it to grow out in the same direction. Then he tried to trim the edges so that people could tell that this was a real beard and not the result of sloth.

In the meantime, every time he kisses Margaret she makes a face. It’s just like having the dog kiss you, she complains. But then she hugs him real hard because she really does love him. And she’s pretty sure she can get some non-allergy shaving lotion from the drug store as soon as he gets tired of all that hair.

And that’s about as much resolve as we can handle settin’ here on the liar’s bench, where the truth is stranger than fiction, and fiction is strangely true.

Tom Miles
The Liar’s Bench
New Year’s 1991

People: Tom Miles Categories: Literature, Stories
Tom Miles 
I suppose the first resolution to bite the dust was Rolly’s. He vowed he would cut down on all tho…
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