New Year’s Resolutions

For as long as I can remember, I have only had one New Year’s resolution: become a better speller. After re-reading most of my columns this last year, I think I am going to expand this resolution to improve my grammar, punctuation and style.

This has probably been the busiest and most productive year since selling The Woodshed. I was able to finally dedicate enough time to house projects ranging from re-doing the sprinklers, planting a bunch of perennials, having a garden that grew monster zucchinis and for the first time ever, harvested hops. We cleaned out the garage, went to San Diego, Zion National Park and hiked the Wasatch Front. Throw in a couple Red Butte concerts, Motley Crue, Kenny Chesney and Bon Jovi and I think we saw some pretty good shows this year.

I even found time to write the column and see a dozen Jazz games.

The hardest part of the year was trying to be more present at both work and the house. I know I only work four days a week but pouring drinks with a sense of gusto requires that I really amp up before every shift. Because of that I was pretty much like an extra in The Walking Dead for most of the year. Something they don’t tell you in Bartending 101 is that you will become a vampire with your sleeping habits. Getting off of work at 3am doesn’t make it easy to hit the rack immediately and get up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8:30am. I am already well aware that I am missing out on a lot of opportunities with friends by working the hours that I do but I’ve worked hard to be as “normal” as possible. And by normal, I mean a cross between a zombie and Count Dracula.

I guess since the Mayan calendar means the world ends on the 21st of December I don’t have to worry about doing too much self-improvement in 2012. Nonetheless, I am going to try and get back to boxing a little more frequent, drink a little bit less and maybe try adding vegetables to my diet. I am going to try and develop better sleeping routines. I could probably put in some better work if I put down the bottle a little bit more and caught a couple more hours of sleep.

I guess 2011 was the year that I learned that I was becoming an old man.

Maybe the key to this upcoming year is to try and continue doing new things. I recently bought a fishing pole and have committed myself to trying to pull out as many lake trouts from all of the reservoirs in Northern Utah. I thought about taking up tennis. I definitely want to buy a kayak and put myself in harm’s way paddling around the state. I should try and read more books and see more movies that don’t have an explosion in the opening credits. More than anything, I would like to spend more time writing the column.

Nothing this last year has given me more pleasure or anxiety than writing Raskin’s Rhetoric. I worried that I was becoming a broken record complaining about the people who give me money for kayaks and zucchini seeds. Fortunately, I know my audience and the people that drive me up a wall while I am behind the bar neither tip or read. I moved the title from Behind The Bar to Raskin’s Rhetoric because I didn’t want to be pigeonholed with only talking about Utah’s bar life. There’s a lot more to being a bartender in Utah then pouring drinks for knuckleheads.

I am moments away from hopping into the shower and getting ready to head down to Keys On Main. I’ll shave and put on my best dress shirt and spend the next eleven hours hoping for the night to be over. New Year’s is beast. I think a lot of people try and find a way of salvaging the previous ear at the bar drinking super-cheap champagne. For me, all I try and do is get home safely in one piece. As much as I like a cocktail after work, New Year’s Eve is one of my “dry” days. I don’t crack the bourbon until my front door is locked.

Through all of 2011, I was encouraged and supported by a lot of people regarding the column. To those that took time to read, make a comment or give me some helpful advice, I say thank you. To those that said I needed an editor, I say you are absolutely right but you’re not getting the job.

My favorite columns to write are the ones that I “bring the funny.” Sorry, this is not one of those. Maybe if I did have a resolution for 2012 it would be to focus more on the funny and stay away from the state of the union pieces. Problem is that there are times I just want to tell people where I am and give them a sense of where I am going. Nonetheless, get ready for 2012. Three columns per week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’ll try my best to make it worth your time to read.

A final note: I wish everyone a very Happy New Year’s. Be safe and don’t make too much of an ass of yourself. Don’t drink and drive. The streets will be crawling with PD. If the Mayans are right, this will be the last New Year’s we’ll ever have. I hope it’s not.

Ben Raskin bartends at Keys On Main Wednesdays through Saturdays. Follow him on Twitter @BennyRaskin. He’ll be the guy behind the bar tonight telling you that you’ve had enough bubbly wine.

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