As 2010 comes to close, we all have that one thing looming over us. No, it’s not getting that end-of-year tax deductible charitable contribution in before the 31st. It’s that darn New Year’s resolution. Everybody expects you to come up with one, and even though it’s a good way to stop and reassess your life, it’s just one more thing you have to add to your to-do list during one of the busiest times of the year.

I don’t like making resolutions. I know I’ll just break them even before the first bud of spring emerges (I’m lucky to last that long). The stress of knowing the inevitable is coming, but not knowing when, is like buying a new car and then waiting anxiously for the first dent to happen. You know some wing nut is out there, driving 70 mph down the freeway, texting his lawyer about his last car accident, just waiting for the right moment to slide into your pristine Subaru wagon.

So this year, to avoid all that nasty suspense, I’m just going to take a hammer to the bumper right off the bat. My resolution is that I’m not going to make a resolution. However, now I will break that resolution by saying my real resolution is that I’m not going to let the jerks I encounter in public get me down. There. Since I’ve already made and broken my primary New Year’s resolution, any that follow after that are not binding (at least in my quirky universe).

With that out of the way, I can now lay out my plan for how I will not let the jerks of 2011 get in my way. Feel free to adopt some of this sage advice for your own rules to live by (or just read on and have a good chuckle).

At the Office

Dealing with jerks in the office is tricky because quite often the biggest jerk you encounter is the person you work for. In this case, it’s counterproductive to use your snappy wit to make your boss look like the goon he/she is. Since I’m a freelancer I’m my own boss, and yes as such I have to admit sometimes I can be a bit of an ass, however, for the most part I’m pretty easy to work with, if I do say so myself.

If, however, I have to deal with work-related jerks in 2011 (boss or otherwise) I vow to just sit back and let the jerk do all the talking with no interruption from me. Nothing reveals a person’s lack of character and integrity more than a heaping helping of self-serving BS dished up for all to hear. ‘Nuff said.

In the Car

We’ve all been there. The Mercedes that won’t let you merge; The Hummer that tailgates you on an icy road; The Honda that slips into the parking spot you’ve been patiently waiting for. These are the jerks you encounter in your car. Nothing sparks a good dose of road rage like being flipped off by some nimrod who illegally passes you on the right in an attempt to beat the yellow light before it turns red.

For these sad accidents waiting to happen I vow in 2011 to just pull over and let them go first. And if one of them gives me the one-fingered peace sign, then I will look at them and politely and mouth “Have a nice day,” with the biggest, sappiest grin I can muster up. I might even wave when we pull up next to each other at the next red light. (You really got so much further ahead by angrily zooming past me, didn’t you?)

In Line at Department Store

This happens to me all the time. I wait in line to pay for something. Finally, it’s my turn. Then the phone rings and the person behind the counter answers the phone instead of helping me next. It’s like the person on the phone just cut in front of me and nobody seems to care.

So the next time this happens I vow to pull out my cell phone, call the store, ask for the department counter at which I’m standing and then when the salesperson puts the current caller on hold to take my call I will politely ask her to take my credit card over the phone so I can pay for my purchase and get the heck out of there, possibly to never return—at least until after I blog and tweet about it.

On the Phone

For me, the only phone jerks I have to deal with are telemarketers and the customer service reps in Bali who can’t pronounce my last name if their lives depended on it. These people aren’t jerks, really, I’m sure at home they’re very nice people. It’s just that they have very annoying jobs.

So in 2011, instead of being ill-tempered to these poor rubes (who are just trying to earn a living), I vow to use the opportunity to try out new material on them. As a writer and comedian I’m always coming up with new ideas, jokes and even routines. If I happen to get stuck on the phone with one of these people (and in the case of customer service, not getting anywhere) then I will try out new jokes to the point at which they hang up on me. I guarantee they’ll put me on their Do-Not-Call list faster than Wells Fargo accumulates interest.

Ah yes, now that I’ve made a New Year’s resolution, broken it, then committed to one that doesn’t really count, I feel like the stress of a resolution has been lifted. Plus, I’ve got some good new rules to live by. And if I decide those little tidbits of altruistic wisdom are just too limiting, well, um…I guess there’s always next year.

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