Time to ring some revolutions, and no, that's not a typo. "Resolution" sounds wimpy, as does resolve. It's like, what, you couldn't handle a change the first time, so you'll flail weakly at that wall again? You've re-read an Agatha Christie to remember whodunnit? You'll limp towards bleached, bland, beige understanding?
Revolutions, though, that's raw power. That's impact. That's change for at least a solid minute, until the revolutionaries discover that while they know everything about upturning carts and upsetting hearts, such skill comes packaged with absolutely zero knowledge of how to run things properly.
So Revolution No. 1 for 2019 will be get rich. Possibly one has to buy lottery tickets to win lotteries, so let's get on that.
Revolution No. 2 will be to stand as a sterling example of the lost art of noblesse oblige, become the kind of rich guy we're supposed to be creating in this country, instead of the other kind who get their jollies shooting endangered animals, buying multiple houses because the old one's full of stuff, and golfing.
Let's dust off the French phrase noblesse oblige. Basically, it's "Nobility obliges," or in other words: Being powerful comes with a social bond. No one gets rich and powerful solely on their own, not even the ones who inherited it all from a criminal daddy, so decency, a tender heart, requires that anyone with means gives back to his or her community, and in 2019 our community is the world and possibly Mars, should NASA's funding ever increase, or Elon Musk become slightly more successful at spaceflight while also hopefully slightly less jerky, because dude.
Noblesse oblige as a concept dates at least back to Homer's "Iliad," and I know we've all been revisiting that page-turner lately, so no need to re-tread well-worn sod, but it's cousins with chivalry, another informal but once widely accepted code of behavior. Feels to me like both were originally wrist-slaps, because human nature in the powerful -- especially those who gained much via ego and aggression -- tends away from sharing. Knights needed to be told not to rape and pillage; rich and powerful folks need to be reminded there's a wide, wild world all around, just waiting for a cue to light up the torches, wave the pitchforks, and shout "Harrumph."
In T.H. White's "The Once and Future King," Merlin turns "might makes right" on its head for young Arthur. Just because you're powerful doesn't mean you're correct. Yet having power REQUIRES one to make the world better. Or else Merlin will zap you. Possibly swoop his owl Archimedes at your noggin. That's how Arthur became the legendary king, not just by being kick-butt with swords, but by utilizing Camelot's power for the good of all.
Basically the only one still regularly practicing noblesse oblige is Spider-Man, after Aunt May (aka possibly Stan Lee, or one of his minions) laid down this golden line: "With great power comes great responsibility."
So being a fine rich man, if I were a rich man, after of course taking care of family and loved ones, I would:
• Create a new Chukker. Not on the same spot, of course, as that's now pristine park, but something from the spirit, with art, music, games, and general goofball laid-back intelligensia derring-do.
• Buy out the Guitar Gallery, because we should all support local businesses, and because the formula for how many guitars a person needs is X+1, if you let X equal the amount of guitars you currently possess. After they re-stock, I'd buy 'em out again, only to distribute as gifts, because of all the magic music and musicians can create, making money isn't usually atop the list.
• Set up a new The Globe Restaurant, so Jeff Wilson can perform one of his many artforms where the public can again enjoy it. See Chukker idea, above.
• Learn glass armonica. Annoy, that is, SHARE with everyone with the results.
• Then learn bagpipes, tap, and cello, not necessarily in that order, and again spread public annoyance, er, enjoyment.
• Daily monkey-elephant parades. This should be self-explanatory. But I will add, of course, there will be no cruelty, and probably this may just become a series of 3-D animations I create with newly acquired film-making skills.
• Take film-making classes.
• Hot Wheels for all. Or the nostalgic toy of your choice, should your cockles not warm at the mere thought of Hot Wheels. Weirdo.
• Train a healthy, hirsute Ursus Americanus to not only ride around on a tiny bicycle until I get tired of looking at it -- once again, stressing no cruelty, and thanks to Seanbaby for the visual gag -- but, on signal, to chase me out of whatever situation we find ourselves in, so every leave-taking from now until the end of my days reads: "Exit, pursued by a bear."
Revolution No. 3, and the one most attainable without lottery means, is to face into this and all coming years like one of novelist Terry Pratchett's women. Susan Death, granddaughter of the Big Dark D -- there was adoption, and, um, magic -- steps up to take the flying white horse reins in Pratchett's seasonal "Hogfather" (Picture Santa from a more primeval time, when boar-slaughtering and fire-gathering wafted sympathetic waves to the Great Unknown to bring back that ball of flame in the sky). Susan notes that the phrase "Someone ought to do something" is not particularly useful, in that "People who used it never added the rider 'and that someone is me.' But someone ought to do something, and right now the whole pool of someones consisted of her, and no one else."
Esmerelda "Granny" Weatherwax embodies all the flexibility of months-old truck-stop beef jerky, layered over a heart vast enough to take on all the world's hardest jobs and hurts, just so no one else has to suffer them. She scares folks, with good reasons, centered on a will you could bend iron around, but when the whip comes down, when you're up against the wall, when it's 44 to something in the fourth quarter, when you're surrounded by wretched scum and villainy on all sides, with Esme at your back? You'll cry "No prisoners!" and let slip the witch of war.
In "Wyrd Sisters," basically Pratchett's "Macbeth" with bits of "Hamlet" and "King Lear" thrown in, told from the point of view of a trio of decidedly odd and recalcitrant witches -- who are not led by Granny, because covens don't have leaders, though Granny is definitely the leader they do not have -- this is how to approach life: "She walked quickly through the darkness with the frank stride of someone who was at least certain that the forest, on this damp and windy night, contained strange and terrible things, and she was it."
Be someone. Be it. Happy new life.
Reach Tusk Editor Mark Hughes Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0201.