CTRL-A: Making resolutions? Save some space for a little junk

by David Holub

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always a weird one, a hazy time where life seems simultaneously about the past and the future, pulling us to reflect on the year that was while turning us in the direction of the year to come.

I got thinking about 2015 and my day-to-day actions, which to keep, which to discard and how they made me feel. I’ll save you the laundry list, but there were a few items that were especially perplexing, behaviors of mine not so easily classified as productive or counterproductive. I could only think of such activities as guilty pleasures.

Some guilty pleasures are relatively harmless, like eating a whole bag of Kettle chips in one sitting, or shopping at Walmart, or my love of the song “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, or “The Next Time I Fall” by Peter Cetera and Amy Grant, or “Tell Him” by Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand (wow, I guess I have a closeted love for cheesy, girly duets). But here I’m talking about more behavior-based guilty pleasures. I’ve narrowed it down to the three most pressing:


I don’t watch a ton of TV (and by TV, I mean Netflix on my laptop), and I’ve seldom got sucked into binge-watching. But when I do, whoa man, look out. I can’t describe the pleasure I got over Christmas weekend from watching 10 hourlong episodes of the engrossing Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer” other than to say that being swaddled on the couch for three hours at a time filled me with warm jelly. It was the first time in years where I was fully engaged in discussion with other humans who I was crazy interested in and whose words were rather fascinating, and simultaneously unable to stop thinking about my murder show and, oh my God, what was going to happen next and when could I return to my couch and blanket?

Donald Trump

This is my dirty secret du jour. I can’t stop reading about anything he says or anything anyone says about him. I devote at least an hour every day in the predawn hours to scouring various publications, online magazines and news aggregators to see who he last called a loser, who he has diagnosed as “low energy,” to see which group of brown people he’d like to keep out of the country today, to see just how many more folks support a greedy, narcissistic blowhard.


Seldom do I devote four hours to an activity that is not work (aside from 10-part murder shows). But, for some reason, I have zero problem burning such hours for the sheer entertainment of watching something that has no bearing on anything in the world, much less my life. To make it worse, no one in my social circles is into football and merely alluding to the possibility of watching a sports game of any kind seems to draw scorn and ridicule. And, yet, I will discreetly plan weekends around me getting to eat unhealthy food, drinking specially-purchased Coors original (it’s a long story) and watching the Broncos by myself, shades drawn, hoping no one requests a Sunday afternoon alibi.

A lot of my guilty pleasures seem to have to do with a perceived misappropriation of time, where I feel like I could be spending my hours more productively. My guilty pleasures are mindless, most of them. They don’t take much critical thinking. But don’t we all need that? Don’t we need to turn off at times, to slow down, to let our minds wander as we put some wear and tear on that couch?

If we’re productive (and what a relative term that is) in other areas of our lives, I think we owe it to ourselves to indulge every once in a while, to relax our standards. So yes, reflect on 2015 and look ahead to 2016; make positive and meaningful changes. But be sure to save some space for a little junk.


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